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Faceted v hierarchical taxonomies - why all the fuss?

You might think that there need be no war over creating a taxonomy. When should you use a hierarchical classification, and when a set of facets? You might think it hardly worth bothering over. Yet some thesaurus experts fight to defend hierarchical taxonomies; you feel that if there were a pecking order of taxonomies (a nice idea, that), then hierarchical taxonomies would be ranked highest. If you don't believe me, try reading a recent post from Access Innovations, Down the Rabbit Hole.

Newspapers and magazines: beyond digital subscriptions

When newspapers started to become available on the Web, the first decision - and one that has never been completely resolved - was whether the content should be free to view or available only by paid access.

 

The paid model that emerged initially was a paywall, with regular annual or monthly payments, enabling the whole newspaper to be read. For some newspapers that method has worked well, but this method doesn’t take into account the many other opportunities provided by online access.

The Lean Startup, or how the best entrepreneurs don’t listen to customers

 

"We really did have customers in those early days— true visionary early adopters— and we often talked to them and asked for their feedback. But we emphatically did not do what they said." This startling admission appears in the first page of The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses, by Eric Ries (2011). Should we congratulate him on his fresh approach, or laugh at him for missing the only true guidance that product development can trust, that is, the customer? The truth is somewhere between the two. Ries has written a book that some have labelled a key management text of the 21st century, while to a more jaundiced eye it reads like so many business books that come from America, combining evangelical fervour with rather dubious and questionable statements that have not been tested.

Wiley's Big Bang

Big Bang is certainly the way to describe it:  At the Mark Logic London User Group, Freddie Quek of Wiley described how Wiley achieved their “big bang”, the project to redevelop what had been known as Wiley InterScience and created the Wiley Online Library. It was a thrilling tale, delivered with all the excitement of an explorer discovering the source of the Nile, or a pioneer crossing North America.

Classic computing titles: The Inmates are running the Asylum

Whatever they teach you on a computing degree, it doesn’t seem to be sufficient to create an effective web site. One of the paradoxes of the modern world is that we are surrounded by IT, and yet those who have studied IT formally seem often incapable of creating software that genuinely meets our needs – a glance at a few developer-led websites is often sufficient to demonstrate that. Alan Cooper’s book, The Inmates are Running the Asylum, although published some fifteen years ago, provides an idea why that might be. The author himself has a highly respectable track record as a developer – he was responsible for Visual Basic, so he can claim some understanding of the programming process, and of the programming mentality. So if he says that programming alone is not sufficient, then you are right to take notice. Everyone with an involvement in IT, whether as a user, or as an information professional as a sponsor and influencer could benefit from his assessment of how programmers think.

 

From eBooks to communities

The curiously named “Beyond eBooks” (University College, London, April 2014) was the latest in a series of annual conferences devoted to ebooks. The title was curious, since ebooks were hardly mentioned in several of the presentations. A better title might have been “epublishing in 2014, including ebooks”. I don’t remember the keynote presentation referring to ebooks at all. Nobody seemed to mind too much that the conference was so broad, although anyone seeking details of how to implement EPUB3 would have gone away none the wiser.

The future of enterprise search is Trip Advisor

So said Roovn Pakiri, co-presenter of the keynote address at this year’s Enterprise Search Europe (London, April). His presentation represented the curious way in which a logical argument can go from a simple, sensible statement to something that is decidedly questionable within a few sentences. There was some justice in the premise, but a sharp intake of breath at the event when this conclusion was stated. How did the argument lead to this point?

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