May 2004 Archives

Something to watch out for...

While perusing my news feed this morning I came across an announcement from Penn State Live regarding Penn State University Leaves of Absence 2004-05.

Among the numerous leaves listed was one:

Richard R. Young, associate professor of business administration, to conduct research and develop further the concept of the application of knowledge management to the functioning of supply chains; to develop a manuscript for publication in an academic journal; and to compile research necessary for the publication of a book, Knowledge Management for Effective Supply Chains.

Best of luck Richard... (-:=

[judith meskill's knowledge notes...]

What is Workflow Learning?

In this article that appeared today in eLearn Magazine, I attempt to explain the concept of workflow learning. What is Workflow Learning? By Jay Cross, Managing Director, Workflow Institute A buff venture capitalist in a designer suit steps into my elevator. Soon she asks, “Workflow...

[Internet Time Blog]

What is a Collaborative Workspace?

Ernest Svenson over at Ernie The Attorney asked recently What the hell is a 'collaborative workspace'?. Good question ... since this is what I do for a living, here's my answer.

The term 'collaborative workspace' refers to a software product that exhibits the following key characteristics:

  • The right to view a page or set of pages of text or pictures is shared across multiple people.
  • The right to contribute a page or set of pages of text or pictures is shared (or at least sharable) across multiple people. Different collaborative workspace products implement this shared contribution model in different ways. For example:

    • Discrete Pages: The unit of contribution right is a single discrete page of text or pictures. Eg, a comment on a Weblog, a post in a discussion database.
    • Continuous Pages: The unit of contribution right is a fragment of text on a continuous page that other people can contribute to as well. Eg, a Wiki, SubEthaEdit.

  • An organized collection of communication and collaboration tools to provide for real-time and any-time interaction between people. For example:

    • Instant Messaging and Presence: People that are visiting the collaborative workspace can see via an onscreen list who else is currently visiting the collaborative workspace, and can engage in on-screen text messaging with that person, or a group of people.
    • Shared File Folder: People can deposit a file (a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet, a photograph, a PowerPoint presentation, etc) into a file folder that other people can also access to read or perhaps to change.
    • Screen Sharing: People can share their desktop screen with other people in the collaborative workspace. This means that someone else can see what applications the first person is running, and can view what the other person is typing or doing. When combined with a VoIP or telephone call, this provides multiple simultaneous ways for people to work jointly ("What do you think of this paragraph?" "It looks fine to me, except for line 2", etc).

  • A method of controlling which people have which rights in the collaborative workspace. Some people will have top-level rights to edit any element of content, whereas others will have lower rights to edit only certain pieces of content, and others still will only be able to read content. For example, in a Weblog, the owner has the top-level right to edit/write new blog entries and comments, whereas everyone else can post a comment if they want, but cannot edit what the owner has written.
  • It may offer a variety of collaboration-enablement/ tracking/reminding tools. For example, people can use a shared calendar for booking meetings, a shared to-do list for tracking who has agreed to complete specific items of next action, alerts for when new content has been posted to the collaborative workspace, and workflow tools for routing items to another person when a specific trigger point is reached, eg, one member of the collaborative workspace finishes a task.

In addition to the above key characteristics, there are a number of optional features of such products. It is this list that provides key fodder for selecting an appropriate collaborative workspace tool for a business:

  • Integration with existing enterprise systems. Eg, the shared calendar tool may integrate with the calendaring system on Notes/Domino or Microsoft Exchange.
  • Rich client software or Web-only access. Eg, Groove Workspace from Groove Networks is rich client software (a 30MB or so download that must be installed on a user's computer), vs. SocialText Enterprise which is accessed from any Web browser.
  • Online-only or online and offline access. Do the people have to be connected to a network to access the collaborative workspace, or can they use a replicated version of it on their laptop? Web-only access tools are usually online-only, whereas the benefit of a rich client is disconnected usage and subsequent change synchronization.
  • Single platform support or cross-platform support. Does the product only support Windows (eg, Groove), Windows and Mac (eg, Notes), Windows/Mac/Linux/other (eg, via Web browser access).

If you want assistance with scoping, selecting and implementing a collaborative workspace solution for your business, contact me at mi chael.sampson@shared-spac

[ Results For: microsoft voip]

MIT provides a great service for those of use that can not get out to see the speakers who are brought in frequently to speak to students. For example, there is a great video of Padmasree Warrior, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Motorola Incorporated called Seamless Transitions.


In a time when the boundaries between home, work, car, and plane are blurring, Motorola is exploring ways to enable people to have seamless transitions from one venue to another. These include applications like being able to continue to hear the news story that you began listening to in your car, and picking it up immediately upon entering your house (your house is "smart" enough to know what you want to hear) to more complex ways to enable your work environment and your personal media to be with you even while attending a conference.

Warrior describes how thousands of Motorola engineers are trying to create a transparent network so that individuals can take their music, video, pictures ---virtually any kind of data with them -- wherever they go. �Mobile devices have become the remote control for life. Let us do things we have not thought about before,�� says Warrior. For 75 years, Motorola has specialized in what Warrior describes as �preemptive innovation.�� This means not just enabling new ways to communicate (for example, creating the two-way radio and cell phone), but giving customers new reasons to communicate. Within technological view are cars that can download information about a driver��s preferences, from seat height to mirror settings, and homes that can broadcast a favorite radio show from room to room, so the listener misses nothing

I have been struggling with controlled vocabulary and information architecture issues for the past week or two. I always find that taxonomy issues are the most difficult problems to solve in organizations where groups have very strong attachments to the way that they describe their activities, products, or processes.

This long post by Christian Ricci is a good intorduction to the problems associated with creating and governing a taxonomy and applying it correctly to content.

I am always inspired by Howard Rheingold. I find his enthusiasm infectious. This latest post about a new literacy for cooperation is intreguing. It describes how companies, rather than competeing should employ cooperative strategies. As Ross Mayfield said "We are just at the beginning of developing language and models for cooperation...Howard is really on to something by moving us past zero-sum thinking."

We achieved our first milestone on the beginning of a long road with the Cooperation Project I have embarked upon withThe Institute for the Future. We used the Socialtext wiki, and Ross Mayfield, who was there, blogged the event.

[Smart Mobs]

Yahoo Picks! posted links to a UN site which I felt it was imperative to highlight. The page is called "10 Stories the World Should Hear More About". The site says:

To shine a spotlight on some of the important international issues and developments that often do not get sufficient media attention, the United Nations Department of Public Information presents a new initiative - "Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About."

This list includes a number of humanitarian emergencies, as well as conflict or post-conflict situations and spans other matters of concern to the United Nations, although it is far from embracing all of the many issues before the Organization.

(click to read)

Uganda: Child soldiers at centre of mounting humanitarian crisis
Central African Republic: a silent crisis crying out for help
AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa: a looming threat to future generations
The peacekeeping paradox: as peace spreads, surge in demand strains UN resources
Tajikistan: rising from the ashes of civil war
Women as peacemakers: from victims to re-builders of society
Persons with disabilities: a treaty seeks to break new ground in ensuring equality
Bakassi Peninsula: Recourse to the law to prevent conflict
Overfishing: a threat to marine biodiversity
Indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation

You own your profle

Yesterday I posted about who owns the profile that you create as you interact electronically with the internet and devices that record your transactions. Today, I found an another mention of electronic profiles posted at EEK Speaks on December 31, 2003:

Wed, Dec 31, 2003

Knowledge Management as Information Brokering #
DavidGilmour, CEO of TacitKnowledgeSystems, wrote an excellent (and short) essay in the October issue of HarvardBusinessReview entitled, "How to Fix Knowledge Management." The gist of the article: (P3)

The problem is that most organized corporate information sharing is based on a failed paradigm: publishing. In the publishing model, someone collects information from employees, organizes it, advertises its availability, and sits back to see what happens. But because employees quickly create vast amounts of information, attempts to fully capture it are frustrated every time. Even the most organized efforts collect just a fraction of what people know, and by the time this limited knowledge is published, it's often obsolete. The expensive process is time consuming, and it doesn't scale well. (16) (P4)

Gilmour's solution: (P5)

Instead of squelching people's natural desire to control information, companies should exploit it. They should stop trying to extract knowledge from employees; they should instead leave knowledge where it is and create opportunities for sharing by making knowledge easy for others to find. This requires a shift away from knowledge management based on a publishing model, and a focus on collaboration management based on a brokering model. (17) (P6)

TacitKnowledgeSystems's system does this by scanning all of the email and other documents on a corporate network, and building profiles of individuals based on these behaviors. The system can then alert people to other individuals with similar interests, brokering an introduction between them. If you think there are potential privacy problems here, you're not alone. JoshTyler's SHOCK works in a similar way, but distributes control of the profile to the individual; see his paper, "SHOCK: Communicating with Computational Messages and Automatic Private Profiles."

Excellent resource that I want to explore and perhaps implement.
Posting your email address on a website is a sure-fire way to get an Inbox full of unsolicited email advertisements. The Enkoder protects email addresses by converting them into encrypted JavaScript code, hiding them from email-harvesting robots while revealing them...

[Robin Good's Latest News]

Digital trail

I clipped this post from SmartMobs because it resonated with me. You should take a look at the original post and the replies, especially Arnaud Leene's discussion about personal profiles. I agree that my profile is mine and we should do everything we can to empower ourselves with the information that accretes around us during our day. Then we can make available to others what we wish!

Interesting comment of Blue Arnaud on John Battelle's widespread posting on the trail we leave on the internet.

In Arnaud's perception privacy is a lost case. It is impossible to keep your data private. A user should make his profile explicit. It is all about the ownership of this (private) trail information. Be in control over your own profile, Blue Arnaud suggests. This profile can be the basis for the social networking services.

[Smart Mobs]

Darknet: An experiment in group editing is a bold venture. J.D. Lasica, the author of Darknet: Remixing the Future of Movies, Music and Television has published a wiki where he is inviting readers to participate in writing and editing his book. He even promises a mention in the book if you contribute a lot.

I have been following the progress of Dan Gillmor's book writing project, Making the News, but this takes the process up a notch.

Both Column Two and elearingspace have pointed out this set of documents and I have written about the culture document. The European Commision for Standardization has put out an excellent set of frameworks, implementation guides and measures.

Steve Garfield points out a great article in the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. It is an interview with Jack Driscoll who is the editor-in Residence at the MIT Media Lab. Mr Driscoll has many great insights into how people can micropublish.
MIT Media Lab Offers a Simple Recipe for Publishing Homegrown News. Veteran journalist Jack Driscoll's research group has teamed up with senior centers and schools around the world to teach would-be journalists how to write and publish community news. The program gives participants simple online publishing tools -- and a few key lessons in how to be reporters and editors. I followed a link to the Silver Stringers site that had a neat page on how to be a journalist. Somone asked that question of a reporter in one of the BloggerCon II sessions, but it couldn't be answered in a few sentences.

Recent Entries

Why learn to program
In the post “Why learning to code makes my brain hurt”, Mamie Rheingold explains why it is essential for all…
A focus on transaction cost explains a lot about the economics of the Internet
How a 1930's theory explains the economics of the internet: Ronald Coase discovered “transaction costs” in the 1930s and it…
Importance of Context in Metadata
Listen to this podcast on the importance of metadata in big data.   We need to be able to use metadata…
View Ralph Poole's profile on LinkedIn