Mobile everything

This article provides an overview on recent developments in mobile computing. It begins by outlining current mobile usage trends in Australia and the range of mobile technologies currently on the market. It then discusses different options for information presentation via mobile devices, responsive web design and emerging user behaviours. The final section examines enterprise applications of mobile devices and ends with the key takeaways for information professionals wanting to use mobile devices as part of an information management strategy.

Download here.

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Big data for information managers

This article explores the elements of Big Data such as the
increasing production of machine readable data, tools for its
storage and techniques for its analysis. The implications of Big
Data for different sectors are discussed. The implications for
information managers are approached from two angles: first,
the emergence of new roles such as data librarian; secondly, the
applications of Big Data capabilities to information management
issues. It ends with six recommendations for readers.

Download now.

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Content Management Interoperability Services

Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) is an emerging standard that allows compliant Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems to share documents. This article discusses the reasons for the emergence of CMIS and outlines some of the key elements of the standard. It outlines the response by one vendor (Nuxeo) and the use of the CMIS by Dutch local government. The article concludes with some comments on the future direction of CMIS.

Download the article here

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Semantic Web – Slight Return

The people at The Indexer were so taken with an article I had written on the semantic web that they wanted to reprint it. So after much wrangling with the original publisher, an agreement was brokered and republished it was. You can still read the original article here.

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Do We Do About Email? Part 2

Email is a common organisational communications and collaboration tool but its ubiquity is being called into question. The email reduction efforts of French IT services company Atos, Australian Bureau of Statistics, smaller companies like Klick and Notebook and individuals such as Luis Suarez are discussed. The email charter is outlined. The article concludes by advising that email reduction is the happy by-product of an effective focus on productivity rather than an end in itself.

Download article here

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

What do we do about email? Part 1: User research

No one still uses email do they? It’s soooo last century. Isn’t everyone on Facebook or Twitter or whatever the new new thing is? Well, no. Email is still important. At a global scale its proliferation is astounding.

Download the article.

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment

We Need To Talk About Email

About nine months ago, I did a short bit of consulting work around information management that made me revisit my thoughts on email. Previous to this, I had firmly believed that email could be replaced with other collaboration tools. This was an organisation with a smallish number of people that had chronic email behavioural problems. As part of this work, I decided to see which organisations had gone the whole hog and got rid of email from their organisations completely. And the answer was: pretty much no one*.

Which chimed with another element of my experience over the last few years. In working with groups around their collaboration tool strategy**, we often went through a whole bunch of options (a wiki, no, Facebook, no, Ning, no, LinkedIn, no Twitter, no…) but ended up with an email list. Email is simple, reliable and good enough. It is the AK47 of collaboration technologies (compared to the finicky M16 of most other collaboration tools).

Email is here to stay (even if it may be replaced or augmented by other tools in certain contexts). So I went off read all the academic research on email that I could find. And then wrote the first of a series of articles on email use and its future. At the time, I reckoned such content would be considered hopelessly passé (allegedly, we are living in a post-peak email world). So I wasn’t that bothered when the publication dates for the articles got pushed back.

So imagine my mixture of self-satisfaction and annoyance at the subsequent public debate about Atos CEO Thierry Breton banning email in his organisation. It seems that email is still a live topic . BTW My armchair quarterback response to the 4 contributions in the NYT “Room for Debate“:

  • I think that Luis Suarez has the most nuanced points to make – given that he has spent the last 3 years walking the walk, not just talking the talk;
  • Peggy Duncan has some nice tips but blows it with the last sentence*** (yes, meetings are bad but that might mean better meetings rather than just fewer meetings – just like with email);
  • William Powers also seems reasonable position but again blows it with the last sentence*** – most of people the I work with are not in the same building as I am. F2F is lovely but often simply not practical.
  • Nicholas Carr has an interesting point but it’s not really his. Linking to other people’s stuff is good, Nick***.

Will Thierry Breton will succeed in his mission? My suspicion is that executive pressure will lead to greater use of non-email-based collaboration tools. However people will simply find email-like ways to use these tools – and projects that involve Atos clients or partners as well as internal staff will continue to use email. M. Breton may get less than he bargained for.

The question about email is whether its more like the phone or the fax. The phone has its limitations but it offers some unique advantages so it will be around in one form or another for the foreseeable future. I made several phone calls today (including some non-prank ones). Whereas the functions of the fax machine can be wholly subsumed by more advanced technologies (cheap scanners and, gulp, email). I cannot remember the last time I sent a fax – but I would have had considerably more hair and less flab. My take is that email falls into the “phone” category – its unique advantages mean that it’ll be around for  a while.

Now that doesn’t mean we can’t use email more productively (or just plain less) and use our new-fangle collaboration tools more. It just means that I think the “Death to Email” cries that occasionally emanate from the Social Business world are way premature.

*Cue lots of emails from organisations that have done so.
**Sadly for my bank balance, these groups had no money.
***This may be down to subbing.

Posted in Notes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Folksonomies & Taxonomies @ ANZSI 2011

This presentation is a bit of a mixed bag and falls roughly into thirds:

  1. The first third looks at folksonomies. It steals liberally from Thomas Vander Wal and the work of others (see previous articles). It is my impression that folksonomies were hot from about 2006 to 2009 and have not delivered the benefits that many thought that they would. That doesn’t mean that user generated metadata has gone away, just that delicious may not be the model. In preparing for this talk, I emailed Mr Wal and he sent me back a wonderfully detailed and thorough answer. Rather than me reprinting that, I am hoping that he will publish a version of it on his blog (hint, hint). Also, Many thanks to Jordan Cassel, Glenda Brown, Lee Romero and Gary Carlson for their contributions on Taxocop.
  2. The next bit talks about the semantic web / linked data and an Australian start-up called ReadCloud. I think that ReadCloud should be of particular interest to book indexers.
  3. The final section deals with the Australian Taxonomy survey.

I was tag-teaming the taxonomy topic with Anna Gifford (who gave an excellent presentation about ontologies, education and drugs among other things). However we were in competition with a session on quilts.

Posted in Presentations & Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Metadata 2011 – Australian Taxonomy Survey

This is part of presentation given at Metadata 2011 back in May. It is mostly based on this article. The rest of the presentation drew on this article and video but with more references to Star Trek*.

*Such as the Spock/Bones distinction in taxonomy work.

Posted in Presentations & Events | Tagged | Leave a comment

Successfully managing corporate information environments

I have worked with corporate information for over a decade and yet there is one thing that never ceases to amaze me. As an employee or a consultant, I will first enter the building that houses the company, government department or charity. The building is generally shiny and impressive, it may even be a tower that dominates the skyline. I am greeted by one or more neatly attired receptionists. I may be offered water or coffee while I wait for my security pass. Then I move into the offices. There may be some papers on desks but I have yet to be confronted with the stench of road kill or piles of rubbish in the aisles. Finally, I sit at a desk, turn on a computer and enter their information systems.

At this point, it is as though I have entered a virtual recreation of a stoned teenager’s bedroom…

Download the article

Posted in Articles & Papers | Tagged | Leave a comment