March 2009 Archives

Semantic, Structured Authoring


Semantic, Structured Authoring is an important concept in writing content for the web.

Semantic authoring has been defined as "to compose information content semantically structured according to some ontology". (If you've never encountered the word ontology before, the dictionary defines it as "the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of being".) A much better explanation of semantic authoring is "knowledge markup". Simple tags such as <policy> aren't the only way in which knowledge is categorised, indexed and labelled within XML. Tags can contain attributes (such as the id attribute in <section id="upg11">), and metadata can be stored in tags separate from the content itself (such as <author><firstname>Tony</firstname><surname>Self</surname></author>).

The most common semantic markup languages for documentation are DocBook and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). DITA specifies a number of topic types, such as Task, Concept and Reference.

Within DITA, a Task topic is intended for a procedure describing how to accomplish a task; lists a series of steps that users follow to produce a specified outcome; identifies who does what, when, where and how . A Reference topic is for topics that describe command syntax, programming instructions, other reference material; usually detailed, factual material .

In Coherence Group��s business, writing structured content is important because we combine knoweldge, learning and software development in to performance support tools so that knowledge workers can avoid the integrative effort of putting this content together themselves.

Jeff Bezos worked in Amazon's distribution center in  Kentucky for a week recently.  This was not a press stunt; he actually worked with the hourly employees.  Bezos is reportedly a micro-manager and the company culture is fast lean and frugal.  But, he is able to achieve good results by paying attention to details.  I am sure he was find new opportunities for improvement which is especially important in a recession.


The Sunday Herald - Scotland's award-winning independent newspaper reports in a recent article entitled, How the US forgot to make Trident missiles, that the �US National Nuclear Security Administration lost knowledge of how to make a very hazardous material named Fogbank.  As a result, the warhead refurbishment programme was put back by at least a year, and racked up an extras $69 million.��

.����vital information on how Fogbank was actually made had somehow been mislaid. "NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s, and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency," the report said.��

This is a clear and very compelling case for knowledge management.  The NNSA says it will strengthen its �management procedures�� but knowledge is an extraordinarily costly commodity as this fiasco demonstrates.

ROI for Web 2.0


Anthony Satyadas (Chief Competitive Marketing Officer IBM Software Group- Lotus) posted a set of KPIs for calculating  Web 2.0 ROI.  The KPIs include:

1. Reduce cost of sale? faster sales cycle; increase yield
2. Reduce cost of lead generation? Less expensive marketing mix...
3. Reduce marketing collateral development costs and time?
4. Get answers faster
5. Reduce reinventions ... use the combo of bookmarks and search
6. Reduce errors
7. Speed up discovery process
8. improved quality of role-role interaction
9. Make faster decisions
10. transparent policy making lead to improved efficiencies
11. cost savings from shutting down low yielding projects

I would add several others:

increased win rate.
increasing customer retention
increasing number of non-competitive sales opportunities
increasing reuse of solutions
increasing utilization of subject matter specialists
greater job satisfaction
increasing customer satisfaction
increasing number of new service offerings
faster time to market


The White House - Blog Post - Weekly Address: Toward a Better Day: Barack Obama continues the good practice of talking to American��s about the economic crisis and his plans to stimulate the economy.  Even if all his plans do not work, he his moving quickly to solve problems.


Today I published a new blog post in a blog called:  Not Otherwise Categorized..., a blog by Seth Earley of Earley & Associates.   I have been doing a lot of work in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, so I posted MOSS 2007 Requirements Gathering: Fast and Focused to discuss the process  we've use for requirements gathering and analysis.  The post notes our reliance on Agile and Lean software development methods to accelerate MOSS development and implementation and to increase the accuracy of requirements analysis.  Of course, the key is user involvement and enough user feedback to avoid rework caused my misunderstandings.

Great Crash of 2008-2009

The stock market is falling faster and farther than the market did in 1929.   As of today the Dow is down ��56%.



from Clusterstock

Marwan Tarek, has provided an excellent compilation of SharePoint Performance Optimization tips in a recent blog post:

SharePoint Performance Optimizations

Guide to SharePoint Performance Optimizations

Both articles provide links to excellent resources.


SharePoint ��How we did it�� articles « Footprint of IT provides of list of �how to articles�� that have been posted on the SharePoint Team Blog.  Many of these articles have to do with plugging in other applications to MOSS 2007.  For example the articles list here offer advice on the blueWiki SharePoint Connector, the Confluence connector and connecting Contectbeam Spotlight.

SharePoint is a platform that is well suited to extensions with other packages, so these articles are extremely helpful.

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