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January 19, 2011

Table of Contents

KM past and future—Fixing the pain points
ProQuest Acquires ebrary
EBSCO Publishing Enhancing Search Functionality
Open source enterprise search
Twitter Takes on Fluther Team
Connected TVs to Account for 21% of Global TV Shipments in 2010, According to DisplaySearch
Enhancing self-service and KM
Scintillating SharePoint support unveils
Toward semantic WCM

KM past and future—Fixing the pain points

The future of knowledge management in the coming year will include progress on some of the most challenging issues facing enterprises, including making sense of social media content, dealing effectively with video and managing e-discovery.

Many of the more straightforward knowledge management tasks have been addressed and if not conquered, at least organizations can see a clear path ahead. Last year’s “KM Past and Future” article, for example, focused on closing the loop on knowledge sharing through better integration of applications and by modifying underlying processes. Those improvements continue incrementally, building on enterprise content management (ECM), business process management (BPM) and business intelligence (BI). Information access is being enhanced by integrating search technology with applications to provide context-relevant results.

Social media in the mix

The emergence of vast quantities of social content, much of it outside those formal enterprise systems, poses problems for organizations that want to tap into the value that its candid and spontaneous nature offers. The task of finding, analyzing and interpreting the information is more difficult because of the diverse locations in which it is found and the broad spectrum of subject matter.

Provo Craft and Novelty manufactures precision equipment for use in the craft, hobby and education markets. The company has a devoted following of customers who share information in a variety of social media settings, including a community forum provided by Provo Craft. However, using that information productively was an elusive goal until Provo Craft deployed ForSight, a social media analysis solution from Crimson Hexagon.

ForSight was developed at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences a text analytics tool, and Crimson Hexagon was spun off to commercialize the solution, which is offered as a service. Its primary use is to make sense of the burgeoning volume of content emanating from social media.

One of Provo Craft’s most popular products is Cricut, a paper-cutting device that uses cartridges to cut designs, letters and phrases without requiring connection to a computer. By analyzing customer comments in the Cricut forum (which has more than 1 million posts), Provo Craft learned that customers were using the product in unanticipated ways, and was able to further determine what percent of customers were doing so. As a result, Provo Craft developed new cartridges to facilitate use of Cricut.

Confident that it has an understanding of its online communities, Provo Craft is now using social media effectively for purposes such as introducing new products, as it did on Twitter with its Gypsy cartridge carrier. Users also share their projects in other social media environments such as Facebook.

An individual Tweet may carry information to its recipient, but aggregating Tweets in real time provides insight about patterns. Cable news broadcaster CNN uses ForSight to analyze Tweets during elections, for example, to show how voters are reacting in exit polls. When integrated with geographical information, the social media content shows patterns within states and across the country.

Analysis of blogs and forums provides more extensive information. “We wanted to move beyond sentiment analysis into looking at explanations for the reactions of individuals,” says Scott Centurino, CEO of Crimson Hexagon, “so we analyze content in detail.” Through its text analytics, ForSight helps determine whether customers think a product is impressive compared to those of competitors, whether they think it is good but too expensive and whether they plan to buy it.”

ForSight categorizes information based on its natural language processing of the content of comments in social media channels. Initial categories are developed by humans after reviewing posts in a certain domain. ForSight then finds statistical patterns in the data and places the additional content into the established categories. “We combine the best of human intervention with the ability to deal with volume through computer analysis,” Centurino says.

Video made easy

Creation and management of video information is an area that offers a lot of potential, but like social media, is no easy task. The use of video is increasing rapidly, with broad application expected in education, marketing and many other fields.

According to Cisco, use of video will increase sixfold  from 2009 to 2014; two-thirds of Internet users watch video now. Video is increasingly being used to record nuggets of know-how from individuals who are about to retire or to present brief instructional modules. Yet the process of capturing and delivering video is still expensive and time-consuming. More importantly from a knowledge management perspective, finding information within a video is time-consuming and tedious from a user perspective.

Panopto has developed an end-to-end solution called Panopto Focus for video capture and presentation, which is efficient and more economical than many alternatives. It can use a webcam, digital camera, high-end video or audio alone, and synchronizes on screen activity with the video or audio. Used mainly in the higher education market now, it is also suitable for many other settings to capture video and other simultaneous input such as a PowerPoint presentation. The video shows up in one window and the presentation in the other, so the camera does not have to pan back and forth.

College apps

At the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, Panopto Focus is being used for several different purposes. In one case, student presentations are captured as part of a class on presentation skills, and the instructor then evaluates the student.

“Previously, we had to set up a video camera, microphone and then upload the resulting presentation separately,” says Eva Bradshaw, director of educational technologies at Fisher. “Now, with one push of the button we can start the capture process and have it automatically upload the presentation for the instructor’s review.”

Although Fisher is not recording all lectures, it is using Panopto Focus to capture some of them. “During a summer course, an instructor had to be away at a conference for one class,” Bradshaw says, “so he recorded the presentation for that day. Students did not have to miss out on material because there was a scheduling conflict. We archived it and the lecture was available for that week.” Similarly, when orientation was held for incoming MBA students and some could not attend, they were able to watch a video version of each talk.

Fisher is also using Panopto Focus for tutorials on SharePoint and other IT applications. “In this case, we use an audio narration as Panopto captures the screen that the instructor is discussing,” Bradshaw explains. “As the instructor moves from screen to screen, the narration is synchronized because it’s all captured together.”

Searchability is key

Panopto is the product of research at Carnegie Mellon University, which attempted to bring a digital library-style approach to distance learning video. The core use case for Panopto is to provide high-quality presentation capture capabilities to anyone with a computer, regardless of technical sophistication. Because anyone can now record, publish, edit and search those multimedia presentations, the product is often used to quickly and inexpensively capture daily lectures or, for users in knowledge-intensive industries, information that might otherwise be lost.

“A senior IT architect discussing the architecture of a component for new engineering hires is a good example,” says Eric Burns, CTO of Panopto. “Searchability is the key to useful content, so we also offer an inexpensive transcription service to make the video easily searchable by someone who wants to find a particular segment.” Viewers of Panopto content also have the option of taking notes in a chat-like window, and those notes are also searchable. “Our vision for the product is focused on making sure that everything you record with Panopto is easy to find and easy to navigate,” Burns adds.

The lack of metadata associated with rich media, compared to that available in text documents, makes discovery difficult. It also poses problems for integrating video content information into knowledge management solutions. A software service from RAMP automatically generates text transcriptions and metadata from audio and video content so that it can be integrated into existing ECM systems and located using their search engines. RAMP can also host search that is able to integrate the processed rich media with all other content types into a single search experience.

“Video has become a critical communication tool in the enterprise,” says Nathan Treloar, VP of technology for strategic markets at RAMP, “but users need to be able to find the information they want using familiar tools. This is generally difficult to do with video and audio content.” RAMP’s solution addresses that by tagging keywords and phrases correlated with specific events in the video timeline. The tags are created by automated analysis of the transcriptions and can be edited using a Web-based console. In addition, they can be placed along the timeline as cue points. RAMP’s solution allows users to search for segments within the video, jump directly to the points where tags are found, and find video and other content related to specific segments.

E-discovery hot spots

E-discovery remains another pain point and one that will come as an unpleasant surprise to companies that are not prepared. Two major issues combine to form the nexus of this particular challenge. The first is the difficulty of knowing where all the relevant material is and what it covers. “Organizations put themselves at risk because they don’t know what’s out there or where it is,” says Colby Dyess, director of product management at Digital Reef. “You may lose content that is critical to the defense, or miss out on information that the opposing counsel becomes aware of before your company does.”

Of particular concern is the “unmanaged” content that is not under control of an ECM or records management system. Blogs, wikis and the sometimes thousands of SharePoint collaboration sites used in an organization are all fair game. The Digital Reef Virtual Governance Warehouse is a platform for e-discovery and information governance that indexes, organizes and manages unstructured data across SharePoint resources to provide access to otherwise unmanaged information assets. It also provides visibility into data in repositories from leading systems from EMC, IBM and Oracle.

The second major e-discovery challenge arises during the review process, which requires significant human intervention by attorneys and paralegals. Organizations are interested in strategies for reducing the time for that step because professional time is expensive. Content Analyst Analytical Technology (CAAT) from Content Analyst provides concept search, dynamic clustering and document categorization; it can be used in many situations, including e-discovery.

Altep, a litigation support company, integrated CAAT into its Inspicio litigation review product so that documents can be grouped into conceptual categories prior to review. “The review process is more efficient when attorneys don’t have to shift gears from one document to the next,” says Trevor Morgan, manager of product strategy at Altep. “This process of reviewing documents of similar conceptual content is called ‘focused review.’ Keyword searches, which we used previously, did not provide the same cost efficiencies and precision as a focused review strategy enabled by concept analytics.”

Enterprise content can also be analyzed ahead of time, which makes a company more prepared for e-discovery. “Each company should think about what it does and what the most likely topics of litigation might be,” says Susan Ethridge, manager for marketing at Altep. “A technology company, for example, might face litigation related to patent infringement, while a commercial builder might have to deal with workplace safety or real estate contracts.” Anticipating problem areas can help companies focus their information management efforts, a useful strategy when resources are limited. “Categories should be re-evaluated periodically,” Ethridge adds, “because areas of concern can change over time.”

At first glance, social networking analysis, video management and e-discovery seem to have little in common, but they all pose some challenges when it comes to knowledge management. At the same time, they offer opportunities for organizations (both vendors and users) that decide to tackle them.  

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ProQuest Acquires ebrary

ProQuest has acquired ebrary. The agreement will combine the companies' technologies and add a quarter of a million ebooks to ProQuest's content offerings. The combined collection will enable users to search across multiple formats, including books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, and video.

ProQuest plans to focus on ebrary's products and services for the academic, corporate, and public library markets including Academic Complete, the company's flagship product. Academic Complete provides multiuser access to more than 52,000 titles. ProQuest will also expand ebrary's selection of research tools and its ability to support new ebook devices; it also plans to broaden language coverage to include Chinese and Arabic. It plans to index ebrary content to offer the ability to search materials along with its own research content.

ebrary founders Christopher Warnock and Kevin Sayar will continue to lead the business in its Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.


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EBSCO Publishing Enhancing Search Functionality

EBSCO Publishing is enabling public libraries to use EBSCOhost as the front end of their online catalogs. Loading catalog records on EBSCOhost allows public libraries to provide patrons with the use of the features and functionality of EBSCOhost.

OCLC's report, "Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want," indicates that end users expect their library catalogs to function like the websites and search engines they use everyday. OCLC asked end users to choose the information that is most essential in catalog searches. Respondents indicated that the ability to see which materials are immediately available, authors' names, and links to online content are some of the items they find important.


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Open source enterprise search

Lucid Imagination has unveiled LucidWorks Enterprise, a new search solution development platform built transparently on Solr/Lucene by the company. It includes a full and openly accessible current version of Apache Solr, although developers need not be Solr to use it, says Lucid Imagination.

The software enables better Solr-based search applications more quickly and easily, says Lucid Imagination. It builds atop Solr with an Admin UI and a REST API to streamline search app development, plus the new Click Scoring Relevancy Framework, Alerts, smart defaults, built-in data/document acquisition, multiple collections, document and role-level security, and more.

Further, with full transparent access to Solr designed in, developers get faceted navigation, auto-suggest, spellcheck, SolrCloud and one of Solr's latest innovations: field collapsing. Nearly 90 different open source tools and modules (such as Aperture, Zookeeper and Tika) are in the product, all integrated and tested to work together within the LucidWorks Enterprise platform.

Optional subscription support for development starts at $36,000; for production deployment, a support subscription is required.

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Twitter Takes on Fluther Team

Twitter announced that it was acquiring the team that developed Fluther, a social question and answer website. The company is bringing aboard four engineers and a designer from the popular site, including Fluther's founders. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Fluther, the Q&A site will continue to operate as a separate project, although it added additional details would be revealed later. The company will retain its current community manager and site maintainer, as well.


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Connected TVs to Account for 21% of Global TV Shipments in 2010, According to DisplaySearch

According to the DisplaySearch Q4'10 Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, internet-connected televisions are forecast to grow to over 122 million in 2014. The report goes on to detail that the growth was fueled by the Japanese market during 2010, and notes that emerging markets such as Eastern Europe will continue driving growth between now and 2014.

The report also provided information concerning a potential split between the market for internet-connected TVs and "smart TVs," which also feature applications and other more advanced functionality. The report defined smart TVs as those which are capable of upgrades and customization by the user, the ability to receive content from the open internet, and which feature a search engine, among other criteria.

The DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report is a quarterly update of the state of feature development in TV sets.


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Enhancing self-service and KM

IT outsourcing specialist CompuCom Systems is using a knowledge management solution to enhance customer support. CompuCom has chosen RightAnswers’ Unified Knowledge Suite (UKS) to improve client access to helpful information and self-resolution.

With the UKS for Customer Service, CompuCom can create a range of knowledgebases that customers and call center personnel can use to find answers to questions or information. Content that is authored and maintained in the solution can be accessed easily by a variety of customer service and self-help operations. They include a customized self-service portal, search engines, automated e-mail knowledge response and web snippets, according to RightAnswers.

Mike Keogh, VP and general manager of integrated shared services for CompuCom, says, "The solution is a key component in our service desk and helps us deliver the highest level of support to our clients. With it, our clients can achieve better efficiencies, which, in turn, allows them to better serve their customers."

In the past, CompuCom had used other knowledge management products, but because of its expanding service desk and the work force’s desire for increased self-service, it made the switch to RightAnswers.

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Scintillating SharePoint support

AvePoint, which defines itself as the world’s largest provider of infrastructure management software solutions for Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies, has announced the latest release of its flagship solution, DocAve Software Platform V. 5.6, which provides enhanced support and flexibility for SharePoint Server 2010-specific features, including Managed Metadata, as well as Windows PowerShell and the Remote BLOB Storage (RBS) API.

The latest DocAve release also offers complete data awareness across its entire suite, consisting of more than 25 independently deployable modules piloted via a unified, browser-based interface, as well as a DocAve Command Line Interface (CLI) accessible via PowerShell for greater control of DocAve and SharePoint platforms.

Back to Contents... unveils has launched, which is described as the world's first enterprise database built for the cloud. is built from the ground up to power new enterprise applications that are cloud-based, mobile and social. is open for use with any language, platform and device, and has been designed to enable developers to focus on building applications instead of tuning, maintaining and scaling databases. is proven and secure. More than 87,000 customers have been using it for more than 11 years to store their most sensitive data. benefits from the security of’s global service delivery infrastructure, offering SSL, single sign-on, identity confirmation and anti-phishing tools. It also provides secure access, including user and role-based security and sharing rules and row-level data security. has also received some of the most stringent security certifications in the industry, including ISO 27001, SAS 70 Type II and SysTrust. powers’s service and is one of the world's largest enterprise databases, containing more than 20 billion records and delivering more than 25 billion transactions per fiscal quarter at an average response time of less than 300 milliseconds. boasts that combines the best features of enterprise databases, such as user management, row-level security, triggers, stored procedures, authentication and powerful APIs, with the benefits of cloud computing: no hardware or software to manage, automatic scalability, upgrades, backups and disaster recovery. It also includes a new social data model, new developer console and more.

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Toward semantic WCM

Open source Web content management developer Drupal has announced the general availability of Version 7 of its namesake platform. A significant element of Drupal 7 is deployment of RDFa for adoption of semantic Web concepts and emerging technologies. Drupal 7 embeds semantic metadata that makes machine-to-machine (M2M) search native for a Drupal 7 Web site.

Drupal says RDFa can add value by giving search engines detail not visible to humans, such as the latitude and longitude of a venue for display on a map; or providing the ISO date format for localization and proper display in the search results for different countries. The Drupal 7 development program used a combination of contracted professional guidance and community-sourced feedback.

The Drupal Association highlights:

  • user experience enhancements designed to make tasks easier and more intelligent/intuitive for content creators and to simplify administration;
  • out-of-the-box image handling (resizing, cropping, etc.);
  • a built-in, automated test environment claimed to provide a continuous integration test suite running against every patch for long-term stability of the project;
  • version upgrade manager and migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7;
  • performance and scalability improvements engineered to serve Web visitors faster via advanced caching, content delivery networks (CDN) and master-slave replication;
  • custom fields in core, native data item fields for any content type or user, taxonomy and/or other entities, as well as translation support; and
  • a robust database abstraction layer, enabling the use of many databases, such as Maria, DB, Microsoft SQL Server, MongoDB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite.

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