Monday Nov 02, 2009

Ten Requirements for Achieving Collaboration #6:Data Accessibility for People and Computers

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The data contained within information artifacts must be accessible by people and machines. We will cover 3 main advantages that data accessibility for people and computers deliver. 1. High relevance leads to lean systems. 2. People want relevant information, not potentially relevant hits. 3. Context drives relevancy, delivery drives efficiency. We are in the midst of a series investigating collaboration. We previously wrote about the two types of collaboration - intentional and accidental. INTENTIONAL: where we get together to achieve a goal and ACCIDENTAL: where you interact with something of mine and I am never aware of your interaction While intentional collaboration is good it is not where the bulk of untapped collaborative potential lies. Accidental collaboration is. But the challenge is to intentionally facilitate accidental collaboration. For the full list of 10 requirements see the original post. Last time I wrote about requirement #5: why data must be referencable and portable. This time we will continue on that theme but discuss why the data we made portable and referencable last time must still be accessible to both people as well as computers. First remember that the data we're talking about is not nicely contained in a row or cell in a traditional relational database. The data we're interested in and that we have been talking about is the data that exists inside documents, web pages, images and other information artifacts. So in one way at least, the information is already human accessible. It is in a document or other information artifact after all. And those are typically created by people for people. Parsed and extracted data that is referencable is still accessible because we do not fundamentally alter the original container (i.e. the document). Any good enterprise information architecture must include a fully-fledged ECM (enterprise content management) system for this reason. There needs to be a place to store the original source documents, images, videos and web pages. Also, computers and systems should have no problem accessing the data that we derived from the artifacts in the previous posts. This is because after the data is parsed, extracted and marked up in the ways we've previously described, it gets stored in a computer referencable system like a database or an RDF store or a linked combination of similar stores and indexes. Computers and systems can access that data (of course assuming network connections are established and maintained). Indeed, many SOA and Service Bus integration layers have been doing similar things for some time. They are able to access transaction, web service and request data and attach it to the brokered request while bringing along original documents and other unstructured information files as payload.
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But did you notice what I just wrote there? The relevant data as well as the containing or supporting unstructured data files are attached to the request and passed around from system to transaction to data store to website. It is the equivalent of carrying around a file cabinet full of stock photos when all I really want is to sort catalog entries on blue shoes. "Blue" is important data that is only accessible by a human looking at a picture. Or, best case, by a computer system that can parse attached metadata assuming that "blue" was entered by a person somewhere further up the line (and not "teal", "aqua", or "navy"). But if a similar SOA request had access to the full complement of parsed and extracted data then it could carry with it only that data that was actually needed rather than the over-full payload it is today. [Read More]

Monday Sep 21, 2009

Ten Requirements for Achieving Collaboration #5: Data Portability & Referencing

We are in the midst of a series investigating collaboration. We previously wrote about the two types of collaboration - intentional and accidental. INTENTIONAL: where we get together to achieve a goal and ACCIDENTAL: where you interact with something of mine and I am never aware of your interaction While intentional collaboration is good it is not where the bulk of untapped collaborative potential lies. Accidental collaboration is. But the challenge is to intentionally facilitate accidental collaboration. For the full list of 10 requirements see the original post. Last time I wrote about requirement #4: why we must be sure to enable the humans. While it is great if humans are empowered to consume, we must keep it easy for them to do so. Therefore enter requirement #5: the importance of data portability and ability to be referenced. After all, if we go to all that work to identify and extract data from content containers then it is a simple next step to ensure that the data is located where we want it when we need it. Well here we are. If you have followed along, we have identified data residing inside of documents, we have exploded content items, we have jail-breaked data-and-relationship assertions and made it easy for people to add their own experiences and expertise to those growing data sets. That is all well and good if and only if there is a consistent way to move that data around, to relate it to other data that may be and usually is in a different schema, and finally to address and obtain that data. This is practically taken for granted with traditional relational databases and on the web. After all, the primary key uniquely identifies a record, the URL uniquely identifies a document on the web. We can get it, move it and relate it to other bits of information.
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But isn't it curious that we reference items differently depending on where they're located. We need to know the structure of data first before we can even think about trying to reach it. Web pages have URLs, DB Records have primary keys, filing cabinet files have a physical location, you and I have a postal address. That makes it awfully hard to combine data sets, perform meaningful comparisons or combine expertise with the confidence that we're not leaving out the most important information available simply because it is addressed differently.[Read More]

Friday Aug 21, 2009

Signposts on the road to my thinking...

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Friday Aug 14, 2009

Ten Requirements for Achieving Collaboration #2: Automatic Aggregation

companion cube
We are in the midst of a series investigating collaboration. I previously wrote about the two types of collaboration - intentional and accidental. INTENTIONAL: where we get together to achieve a goal and ACCIDENTAL: where you interact with something of mine and I am never aware of your interaction While intentional collaboration is good it is not where the bulk of untapped collaborative potential lies. Accidental collaboration is. But the challenge is to *intentionally* facilitate accidental collaboration. For the full list of 10 requirements see the original post. Last week I wrote about requirement #1: how Human oriented information AND machine oriented information must be *able to be* seamlessly combined.[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 05, 2009

Ten Requirements for Achieving Collaboration #1: Seamlessly combine human oriented and machine oriented information.

You will recall that I previously wrote about the two types of collaboration - INTENTIONAL: where we get together to achieve a goal and ACCIDENTAL: where you interact with something of mine and I am never aware of your interaction. While intentional collaboration is good it is not where the bulk of untapped collaborative potential lies. Accidental collaboration is. But the challenge is to *intentionally* facilitate accidental collaboration. For the full list of 10 requirements see the previous post. Requirement #1 is that Human oriented information (e.g. documents, images) AND machine oriented information (e.g. indexes, transactions) must be *able to be* seamlessly combined.[Read More]

Monday Jul 27, 2009

2 Types of Collaboration & 10 Requirements for Achieving Them

photoMosaic1_sm.png Collaboration comes in two flavors: Accidental and Intentional. Enterprise 2.0 technologies have become very good at facilitating intentional collaboration. They are meeting us where we are at and linking people across distances, across political spectra, and across expertise domains. Examples include the social network sites (I friend you, you friend me), Twitter (I follow you and read your stuff - you follow me and read my stuff) and blogs (I write, you read and comment, I answer and write again). In each case the decision to friend, follow and read are intentional. These technologies mimic human interactions that are as old as humanity - making introductions, updating friends followers fans and disciples and public declamation. [Read More]

Thursday Aug 14, 2008

E2.0 ROI Calculation & Predictions: True then, Changing Now...

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