Sunday, April 13, 2003

Topics, Metadata, and Tools

It was great to see the publication of Easy News Topics it adds a new set of Metadata to address the tools issue brought up by Marc Canter. Like all good specifications it is simple and designed by only a few people and fits into other work (i.e. RSS).

The major area to address though is how to create enough clouds we all agree on and how to suggest automatically topics to be added to stories. Having worked in content management (and been an user of many systems) it is to easy to just blow by the content categorization screen.

Having publicly available clouds of taxonomies makes the first step possible - we all have a common framework and hierarchy of concepts. The second need is to map these to published articles - sounds a great service for someone to launch Ross? or Matt and Paolo ?.

Public clouds are a key step to making this work as trying to get anyone set of people to agree on an ontology is the second hardest problem in knowledge management - the hardest problem is getting them to actually using the ontology when creating content. Interesting enough I would presume that bloggers would be more likely to perform these manual tasks. Bloggers are trying to share information and create "clouds" of understanding and shared context. Therefore they have the necessary motivation and reward.

When this is extended to the general workplace we have deadlines and are usually only concerned (motivated) with communicating to a primary audience. The objective of KM is usually to serve the secondary and tertiary audience and hence develop information reuse. At this point the need for shared clouds and automated tools becomes key.

Easy News Topics is a great step forward the next few steps are going to be creating the shared clouds of topic maps and the tools to summarize content. Once we have these basics a new set of KM applications will arise - cannot wait ;-).