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Wishing all Inmagic customers, partners and friends a happy holiday season and prosperous New Year!

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What a year it’s been for Inmagic and our faithful customers, partners and friends!  Following the excitement of our acquisition, we generated a whole new level of transformation with the successful launch of Lucidea, the parent brand for all products in our brand portfolio, last June.   As change can often be uncomfortable and confusing, we would like to thank all of you who have taken part in this journey and contributed to the our collective success in 2013!  Now that 2013 is coming to an end, we are excited about new opportunities in 2014 and look forward to sharing success in the new year.

And now that the holidays are upon us,  please take a moment to enjoy time with friends and family.  Balance is important and appreciating the blessings of family and friends is as, if not more important, than focusing only on business success.

Thank you for again for your support in 2013 and we wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and happiness and a prosperous New Year.

Your Lucidea Inmagic Family



Content in Context – Social Software and Knowledge Exchange

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Guest post by Sarah L. Nichols, Director of KM at the ClimateWorks Foundation

Enterprise social software platforms such as Inmagic Presto, ThoughtFarmer, and Socialtext facilitate knowledge exchange through staff/subject specialist blogs, Twitter-like functionality and wikis that offer content-in-context. This means that documents, multimedia files and links to both internal and external information exist alongside collaboration spaces built around projects, events or working groups.  Delivering content in this way both implies and applies a structure, using a framework that makes sense to end users engaged with these projects or groups.

I believe that next generation knowledge management is knowledge exchange, which I define as “the collaborative creation and dissemination of information and insights critical to the achievement of organizational imperatives.”  Enterprise social software is a perfect tool for this collaboration.  It offers not only the many advantages of structure, but fosters peer to peer learning, and allows for the “serendipity factor” that lets us find information we didn’t even know we needed, and which can be tremendously valuable.

Social software also allows us to deliver highly relevant content within the context of projects.  When you work in wiki spaces and use signaling or instant messaging among working group members, it’s no longer necessary to know exactly what you want before you can find it…targeted content is right there.  You don’t have to guess which data repositories may contain the information you need, because structure based on projects, events or groups guides you to it.

Clearly much of the information that can be served through social software like Inmagic Presto is housed in data repositories and either catalogued or organized using metadata, tagging and various other forms of classification.  It’s also searchable via the powerful engines offered by and ILS or knowledge management application. The content-in-context framework certainly doesn’t replace that, but such granularity and sophisticated search algorithms aren’t always necessary within what is essentially a small community – a project, event or group.  When I was a child, my family lived in the village of Hitcham in England.  Our house was built in 1502 by a retired ship’s captain, and it had no street address.  It was simply known as Friday Lane Cottage and everyone knew where it was – no other data, or even a map, required.

If the idea of knowledge exchange intrigues you, then you might want to look into enterprise social software as an adjunct to your existing ILS or portal application.  It enables collaboration that delivers results, making the small communities that exist within any organization collectively smarter while allowing individual contributions to shine, all based on the ability to serve up content-in-context.


Sarah L. Nichols is the Director of Knowledge Management at the ClimateWorks Foundation, and the founder of English Channel Editing  slnichols@englishchannelediting.com

Knowledge workers and Nelson Mandela

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

I was saddened to hear the news of Nelson Mandela’s death.  Inmagic has a long history with our South African customers and the changes that their government has under gone over the last 30 years.  I thought I would share some of that history.

Inmagic in the 1980’s made a decision to suspend sales to South Africa.  This was done in the context of the international divestment movement and the call for economic sanctions against the government of South Africa.  However, with the release of Mandela, in 1990, Inmagic revisited our earlier decision and we resumed sales to South Africa. With the resumption of sales we started a program to work toward constructive change, donating 5% of gross revenue from sales to South African-based educational charities.  This program stayed active until Mandela was elected President of South Africa.  On a more personal note, I visited Cape Town many years ago witnessing apartheid first hand and more recently toured Robin Island, where Mandela was jailed for many years.

In many ways Mandela’s journey and that of a knowledge worker are very similar.  Knowledge workers often have preconceived notions of the where they want to go and or what path they are on.  But when they seek additional knowledge to improve on their current situation or process, sometimes they find information that challenges their current thinking.  If the knowledge worker keeps an open mind, seeks additional confirmations, and ultimately engages with the community, they often find much better ways to move forward.  As well as a helpful community with which to engage in, they may find themselves producing outcomes almost inconceivable when they started their knowledge quest.

In think Mandela was amazing human being and an exceptional knowledge worker.  He tried many different paths to a goal, and after each step he analyzed his next step, constantly taking in new information and constantly changing directions, but keeping his eye on, and ultimately achieving his goal. We are all lucky to have been here during his time on earth.

Winning with KM Despite a Worst-Case Scenario

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By Ron Aspe, Lucidea CEO

Lack of participation is the biggest challenge when introducing a knowledge sharing program. So what can you do?

The Perfect Storm
What do you do as head of a knowledge management initiative if: there is no knowledge sharing culture,
management doesn’t set an example, and employees don’t see the benefit of contributing content?

We hope you never face all three of these problems at once, but even if you do, there are ways to prevail in a worst-case scenario.

Priming the Knowledge Sharing Pump
To get people using knowledge sharing tools, you must provide easy access to information they want without requiring them to contribute. Google wouldn’t have taken hold if people had to post their own content. Whether you like it or not, getting the benefit without the effort is the baseline expectation of your end users.

With respect to leadership, one of my favorite quotes is, “There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader,” from Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rolling. Most leaders are actually fast followers. If staff use the knowledge management tools you provide, your leaders will eventually take up the cause. Of course it won’t hurt your mission if your KM system provides senior management with information that saves time and makes them look good.

How does the average person benefit from content? By using it. Millions of people use Wikipedia without contributing content (let alone funding) and without looking at banner ads. That said, many do contribute.

Wikipedia reports that 71% of editors participate because they like sharing knowledge, 69% believe that information should be freely available, 63% think contributing is fun, and 7% contribute for professional reasons. If you want people to post content -- without being required to do so as a condition of employment -- you must find a way to tap into what motivates them.

Exploit Existing Information Repositories

Internal Silos
Every organization has information silos. Find these and publish the content to your knowledge sharing site. Everything has value, from the most mundane directional information (e.g., “Who actually has a copy of that document anyway?”) to the most edifying research report.

External Resources
Everyone in your organization uses external information resources. Connecting your KM site with these will strengthen its position as a rich and readily available repository in your users’ minds. Look for ways to add value such as, a) allowing users to skip the login process or, b) managing their passwords when they access outside content through your platform. 

It’s all about convenience
Don’t worry if your knowledge sharing platform isn’t yet the definitive, authoritative resource you wish it to be. Convenience is a key driver of consumer behavior and your users are consumers. The immediate priority is to make your knowledge sharing resource the first place people look.

Water pumps need to be filled with water before they can start pumping water. Similarly, knowledge management systems have to contain knowledge before they facilitate knowledge sharing. Bottom line, pre-loading highly relevant content is a great way to kick-start your knowledge program.

* This article was originally posted on our partner brand's, SydneyPLUS, blog. See original here.

Choosing a Balaclava

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By Erika Halloran

Here in New England, ski and snowboard season is upon us. Social media sites are swarming with photos of the first dustings of the season, radio stations are promoting the next great “Ski and Snowboard Expo” (spoken in my best radio announcer voice), and today’s morning commute featured plenty of traffic because one driver saw one flake and subsequently hit the brakes.

I fully admit that I’ve caught the fever. Last night, I spent time online clicking on goggles, wool socks, and balaclavas (the newest word in my personal vocabulary). There are more choices than ever before, and apparently, “the technology for these products changes every year.” I’m not completely convinced that this is true, but since most of my own gear is well over 10 years old, I’m willing to accept that it’s time for an upgrade.

So…searching “balaclava” on Amazon gave me 7,142 results! 
Scary? Not at all. Let’s narrow it down. 

Department? Skiing. 1,543 results.
Price? $25-50. 337 results. 
Amazon Prime Eligible? Yes, please. 46 results.
We’re in business! 46 is a number I can handle.

At this moment, when I was down to 46 balaclavas and I was trying to decide among micro-fleece, nylon, and merino wool, I found myself thinking… “This is just like Presto!” You heard me right. I was searching for new winter gear, and I was equating it to Presto.

Presto v4.2 (released in August 2013) brings users the ability to do exactly what I just did – refine their search results based on metadata. This might just be my favorite new Presto feature!

With Presto’s new guided navigation, a user can search for a general term that returns thousands of results, and then quickly and easily narrow it down by selecting a category. Presto will immediately refine those search results. You only want eBooks? No problem…narrow it down again by specifying a format. Voila! A results set of a manageable size. No complicated search syntax, no long search screen with “AND/OR” selectors, and no need to train your users. If they’ve shopped online for a balaclava (or anything else), they already know how to do this!

So, which balaclava did I select? You’ll have to hit the New England slopes this winter to find out.

This customer just made my day

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

It’s been over six months since we released Presto for DB/TextWorks, and we now have a growing and enthusiastic user community for this product.

I’ve been watching the implementations performed by our services group and many are stunning. But I was unbelievably happy to see how fast the Center for Transportation Research (at the University of Texas at Austin) progressed with their implementation. I asked the services team why this one was moving along so quickly, and they said “well the client is doing it almost all herself!” I was so excited to hear this.

I was even more excited when I saw the customer talking about the upgrade to Presto on their website. (See it here).  And they are now in beta so you can see the site here.

What I love about this specific implementation is twofold. First, they are embracing Presto and its ability to accomplish advanced web publishing without the need for outside programmers. The Center for Transportation Research is taking advantage of Federated Search, Faceted Search, the InfoCart and Alerts / RSS feeds. These are standard features in Presto that can be implemented with a few clicks of the mouse and in the case of Federated Search – a basic understanding of HTML. Do-it-yourself has always been a strong tenet in how Inmagic products are designed. I love the fact that advanced web-publishing features can still be fully controlled and implemented by a curious and driven librarian.

Secondly, I love the fact that they are taking the upgrade as an opportunity to review what they want the website to be and what it can accomplish. By leveraging the new capabilities (such as a robust home page, Google like search, browsable taxonomies, and more) the Center for Transportation Research is not simply adding new features to an existing structure, but taking a fresh look at what their users want and how they can meet these needs. Job well done!

I have always said the best part about my job is seeing what our customers do with our software. The Center for Transportation Research has just made my day.






Collective Smarts

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

We love this post by Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, on "how social business, data analytics and cognitive computing will transform organizations once again," posted on the Building a Smarter Planet Blog.
http://asmarterplanet.com/blog/2013/06/mits-thomas-malone-on-collective-intelligence.html

It touches on the same themes that we hear from customers every day. How do I make my organization more intelligent so that we make better decisions? What role does knowledge management play in helping us become more nimble and adapt to a changing marketplace more quickly? As Malone explains, this can be achieved through the combination of humans and IT.   

When Inmagic Presto introduced the idea of social knowledge management back in 2009, the idea was to encourage communication between people that might not normally communicate and enable that communication to take place in a knowledge- and content-centric environment. Malone articulates the benefits of this communication well.

"As information technology reduces the cost of communication, it becomes much easier for lots more people to know lots more things and in many cases they’re able to be well enough informed to make more decisions for themselves instead of just following orders from somebody above them in a hierarchy." 

This is absolutely right – we want informed decisions being made by as many people as possible, not just robots following orders.

Please take a read and let us know what you think.

RDA: it’s not that scary

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

We’ve had a lot of questions recently about RDA compliance, RDA readiness, the future of RDA, and even, "what is RDA?" We’ve decided to dive deep into the mystique surrounding RDA and lay it bare for all to see.
First things first. What is RDA? At its core, RDA (Resource Description and Access) is the third revision of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, which have been adapted for today’s world (e.g., Web-based) and not just for printed materials and in a library. RDA is simply a way to take the most recent cataloging standard and move it out of the library-centric, back-office world and make it work in today's Web-centric, Google world.

Some of the key principles are:
  • Elimination of Latin abbreviations; rules may remove all abbreviations unless used in the resource
  • Serve as a new content standard for description and access
  • Function best as an interactive, online tool
  • Improve cataloging instructions for non-print resources
  • Separate rules for recording and presentation of data elements
  • Eliminate redundancy
  • Incorporate rules for authority control
Because RDA is about making cataloging fit in today's Web-enabled world, we believe it’s a good thing. We need to move to standards that enable and encourage "findability" (if we may be so bold as to make up words under the watch of librarians) via the methods and standards of today, e.g., Google, Bing, etc. The fact is, people do not go to the library and ask the research desk for help as much as they used to…they now open their iPad and Google a topic to find what they’re looking for. If librarians want resources that they catalog to be part of this modern scenario, we need to move to standards like RDA.

The good news is that Lucidea software (Inmagic Genie, SydneyPLUS ILS, DB/TextWorks, Information Manager, Presto, CuadraSTAR) already supports RDA because we provide the flexibility to add fields as needed to meet RDA requirements, and the ability to adapt to an RDA-compliant cataloging process. Our customers are armed and ready for the modern, Internet-enabled world of information management.

Here are some interesting links to provide more background.

http://ephemeraextremus.blogspot.com/2009/11/bibliographic-control-alphabet-soup.html

http://bcc.musiclibraryassoc.org/Descriptive/RDA_Evolution.pdf
http://tinyurl.com/a2bxfy6  (this is a previous post on RDA by our partner SydneyPLUS)

 

 
 

The Lasting Legacy of the Librarian

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In an article titled “Uncovering the History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire,” published in Smithsonian magazine, author David von Drehle details his journey through the data wells of New York, where he was trying to uncover details for a book about the factory fire that killed 146 workers in 1911. Though the tragedy spurred policy reforms that are the underpinnings of building design and worker safety laws today, finding actual records that fleshed out the full picture of that period in time was a herculean undertaking. What von Drehle discovers in his ordeal, and in the subsequent publishing of the records he finally locates, speaks volumes about the past, current and future state of information.

The first thing that was striking is that valuable data illuminating an important part of our history was all but lost but for luck and perseverance of the author. Tagging, cataloging and preserving information is critically important so that we can learn from our past through as accurate and thorough a view as possible.

The second was that the Internet and social channels now make it possible for anyone and everyone to access data that’s been preserved. What had almost vanished from the world is now available to -- and being used by -- anyone who wants to see it. The website which publishes the data that von Drehle discovered receives six million visitors every year! Preserving and cataloging our data and giving people access to it gives us such a richer, more nuanced picture of our history and connects the dots between policies and mores that are now in place, and the events of the past that caused them to be.

But perhaps most poignant of all is that von Drehle met dead end after dead end in his search until the day that an elderly librarian recalled a volume of information that was not catalogued, but became the basis for von Drehle’s book. Technology is a powerful and empowering addition to the world of information management, but the importance of a great librarian cannot be underestimated. 

 Read David von Drehle’s account of his search and discovery of the last records of the triangle shirtwaist fire.

 

Going Further, Together

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By Jason Buggy, Lucidea senior account executive


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.” I’m pretty sure the saying is an old African proverb. I’ve been thinking a lot about this proverb lately. It’s thrown around so much now that I’ve grown tired of the saying, but, the reality is, it’s true. It’s perfect from beginning to end -- simple, elegant and the difference between “almost” and “most certainly.” 

[Side note: If I know our customer base like I think I do, within the day I won’t be pretty sure about the origin, I’ll be 100% sure. An email will arrive from one of the many brilliant librarians we serve, containing attached references to articles, famous artists and dignitaries that have used the saying, and information about the tribe from which the saying originated. Our customers are the epitome of that proverb. If you have the good fortune to work for an organization that employs an information ninja, you will never have to go it alone when it comes to a project, big or small.]

Where am I going with all this? Well, the marketing folks have come a knockin’ on my door asking for an inspired and insightful blog entry. And I’m writing one because, you see, they make my job easier by providing collateral, case studies and support at trade shows. Quid pro quo!  Here is the challenge though: writing blog posts looks easy…looks, not is. I enjoy it when I’m done, but starting out is a CHORE (much like exercise I suppose). Their blog idea brainstorming session suddenly results in, “hey, why don’t you write a blog about your Tough Mudder experience?” Not your typical information management blog topic and more personal than what you’d normally see on the Inmagic blog, so hang in there with me. Here we go…

A little back story. I turned 40 last September and it scared the daylights out of me. Some of the long-term customers know that I’m married and that my wife and I have a little girl and a little boy, ages four and five. I am also, well -- I was -- very much overweight.  Like, north-of-295-lbs. overweight! If you have children, then you know quite well that once they hit the age of four, they become more agile and coordinated and may join sports teams. I had the ability to chase my kids for a good six seconds before I had to sit down and take a break. And yet, I suddenly found myself coaching the U6 (under six) soccer team. Let the record show, nobody wants to perform CPR on a heaving, huffing, drenched-in-sweat soccer coach/Dad. Fortunately, it never came to that. But, something needed to be done if I wanted to:

A) Have the ability to enjoy physical activities with my kids,
B) Become a better role model for those physical activities, and
C) Too gloomy to put in a work blog…but yes, I thought a lot about longevity, too.

I’ve always been the Monday guy: “I’ll start my diet Monday!” or “I’ll start hitting the gym this Monday!” But I knew I needed to do something drastic if I was really going to get healthy. I needed to sign my name on the dotted line and commit to something, and it had to be more than joining the gym. Again.

So, I did something drastic. In hindsight, crazy might be a more apt description, but it definitely provided an opportunity for me to be the Dad I wanted to be with my family and may have added a few years to the back nine. I signed up for the June 1, 2013 Tough Mudder. For those who don’t know what a Tough Mudder is, I’ll spare you the full details but it involves jumping into a 25-yard dumpster filled with 60 tons of ice and water, running/jogging/walking/crawling up and down 11+ miles of Gunstock Mountain and sprinting through 10,000 volts of electric wires…and 20+ other obstacles. (To learn more, this is a good video to watch.)

Now, signing up was one thing, but training was quite another. Also, who cares if I blow off running or “hitting the gym” for a day or two…unless….unless…I’m part of a group. Yes, I recruited poor unsuspecting friends to join me in the madness, which necessitated signing A DEATH WAIVER. (…Catastrophic injuries are rare; however, we feel that our participants should be aware of the possibility. These injuries can include permanent disabilities, spinal injuries and paralysis, stroke, heart attack, and even death.) Needless to say, we named our team “OVER THE HILL.”

The Tough Mudder taught me a little something about teamwork. It starts out as an obligation and slowly, over time, it becomes dedication. Truth be told, it has been nothing short of a pleasure to be involved in something bigger than just me.

At this point, you might be asking, how does this possibly tie into Lucidea? 

Well, there were components of my training for Tough Mudder that mimicked the new Lucidea work environment (well, kind of). What was known and comfortable as life at Inmagic was changing into the integrated, multi-product Lucidea environment. As much as that’s a good thing, it was different and uncomfortable, but had to be done…I knew I’d get used to it after a while and forget that I had ever lived life a different way.

The different training routines that prepared us for each obstacle started to become a group effort. Reality hit us hard as it became clear that, unless you are an elite athlete, you aren’t getting over that 12-foot wall by yourself (much less Mount Everest). After each training session, we all agreed that we were more demanding of ourselves together than we would have ever been on our own.

The same could be said about Inmagic before combining forces with our fellow brands as Lucidea. We were successful, but we were never going to be able to evolve and grow like we envisioned on our own. In the short term, it’s not easy going from more than 25 years as Inmagic to being part of something bigger. It’s sort of like jumping in a lake in New England in late February: very shocking but necessary to prepare for the real deal “Arctic Enema.” Imagine meeting for the first time the very people you had competed against for the past 25 years and now being on the same team?  It was a lot like an ice bath, minus the stinging. At our first trade show together (obligation), I was very nervous to meet everyone. Fast forward to SLA 2013 and I couldn’t wait to get together with the team in person. What was once an obligation had morphed into a pleasure. Today, I can’t imagine where we would be without the support of the Lucidea family.

Trying something new, whether training for a Tough Mudder or working with a new group of companies, forces you to get out of your comfort zone, until “outside your comfort zone” is your comfort zone!

I’ll leave you with this: It’s Sunday, 5:15 a.m., in the dead of the worst winter I can remember, and my teammates are waiting in a dark parking lot, outside a state reservation, all because I had convinced them it would be a good idea to run up and down a mountain for 12 miles while being tortured with death waiver obstacles. There is no blowing off training now. It is my obligation to be there. After a few months, it quickly transforms from obligation, to dedication, to joy. You go because you want to participate with the group, not because you have to participate. The end result is going a lot farther than you could ever have gone on your own. The same can be said for the old Inmagic and the new Lucidea: we were all really good companies on our own, but I foresee greatness in the coming years together.

It’s funny how the old proverbs are still relevant today. We’ve got our eyes set on a marathon and yes, members of OVER THE HILL will be training for that event as a team.

SOME STATS:
  • Weight loss since signing up for Tough Mudder in November 2012: 53 lbs.
  • Straight run distance in October 2012: less than a quarter mile.
  • July 2013 average weekly miles run: 20

The Limitations of SharePoint as a Knowledge Management System

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By Phillip Green, Lucidea COO

SharePoint seems to be everywhere these days. Many customers have been told by their IT departments that their knowledge management repositories should or will be converted to SharePoint by IT. Many customers are resisting this request, but often find it difficult to make IT understand that SharePoint is not capable of performing some of the functions that are important for managing and organizing content. 



This lack of understanding by IT is often due to their “forest”-level view.  They sometimes assume that because SharePoint is a text database with integrated search, conversion will be easy. But, as information professionals know, the devil is in the details.

So how should you respond? 



The following are examples of the kinds of items that SharePoint implementations often lack and cannot do. This is the “tree”-level view of managing content. The list is not all-inclusive, but covers just a few of the many items that SharePoint lacks and that IT will find very hard or impossible to provide when they “convert” your database out of its legacy home.


1.       SharePoint does not provide the alpha numeric sorting you need.


Correct alpha numeric sort

Incorrect SharePoint alpha numeric sort

HA.1

HA.1

HA.2

HA.21

HA.11

HA.100

HA.21

HA.1000

HA.100

HA.11

HA.1000

HA.2


2.       SharePoint will not properly sort items with leading articles.
 

Item

Location of correctly sorted item

Location of incorrectly sorted SharePoint item

The Personal MBA

Under P

Under T

A Scientific Method

Under S

Under A


3.       SharePoint does not know how to deal with “fuzzy dates.”

SharePoint is not able to properly sort or search for “fuzzy dates” such as:
  • June 2010
  • Spring 2011
  • 2012

SharePoint can handle dates in a DD-MM-YYYY format, or “Spring 2011” as text. However, it cannot sort “Spring 2011” so it falls between January 2011 and June 2011.


4.       SharePoint’s multi-value fields (repeating fields) are very primitive.

In SharePoint, multi-value fields are a “single string, in which the values are separated by special characters.” The field is not sortable.

Information professionals need multi-value fields where:
  • The field can be sorted.
  • Each entry (value) is treated as if it was not in a repeating field. For example, if you have a book database with a multi-value author field, you need to be able to:

o      Create “see also” links for each individual author (e.g., find other books by each author).

o      Use “linked records” that allow each entry to function as a lookup within another database, so that users can see details about each author easily and quickly.
  • Each entry can be an individual filter within faceted search results.
  • The display of the entries can be carefully controlled. The field should not be treated as a “blob,” for example:

o   Mark, Twain
   Clemens, Samuel

OR:

o   Mark, Twain; Clemens, Samuel

 
5.       SharePoint does not support authority control (via a thesaurus) during data entry.

SharePoint is good at many things, but our clients want more precision out of their information management systems.  They want a system that understands that some periodicals come with the date of "Spring 2013" and books are often written by multiple authors. Sorting needs to be intelligent; otherwise, users will not find what they seek and the system you have built will not serve its intended purpose.

If you have any horror stories about your experience with SharePoint, please share them with me. I can be reached via e-mail at pgreen@lucidea.com.

Announcing Lucidea...We Help You to Think Clearly

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By Ron Aspe, CEO of Lucidea

Inmagic, along with its parent company SydneyPLUS, and its affiliate companies Cuadra, LawPort, LookUp Precision, Argus and ISS are now part of Lucidea, a newly created knowledge management software company focused on providing tools for sharing knowledge and inspiring action.
Our solutions empower people to navigate the ever-expanding universe of information, resulting in actionable knowledge.  We highlight our clients’ brightest people, clearest thinking and best ideas.
Please follow the links below to access more information about this exciting new development, and take a few moments to learn:
  • Why we think this is great news for our products, employees and customers.
  • How this latest evolution of our corporate structure will affect you.
  • What effect this will have on the products you are currently using.
Letter from the CEO
Mission statement
Press release
FAQ

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-229-8398.

Center for Creative Leadership Brings Library Online

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About the Center for Creative Leadership
For more than 40 years, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) has been providing executive leadership education and research to clients around the globe. CCL annually serves more than 20,000 individuals and 2,000 organizations – including more than 80 of the Fortune 100 companies – across the public, private, nonprofit and education sectors. In addition, they have provided information to nearly two million people through CCL publications.

The Problem
Over the course of 40+ years, CCL has amassed an impressive collection of leadership-related articles, instructional aids, videos, books and other information that is used primarily by its staff to create topic-specific, customized classes worldwide, as well as by the public and current/past clients. Though CCL has long managed its collection on Inmagic’s DB/TextWorks, there was no way to share or provide that information electronically to the 600 staff members and past/present clients spread out across 120 countries on six continents. Information was stored in different locations, or "rabbit holes" of knowledge, that had become increasingly difficult to keep track of. And information was only accessible to CCL users when staff members were available to access the library, find the information, and send it.

The Solution
In order to catalog and consolidate their institutional knowledge and intellectual assets, and make information easily accessible throughout the organization, CCL implemented a Presto for Social Libraries solution incorporating Inmagic Presto for search and retrieval and Inmagic Genie for administration of the CCL knowledge catalog and library infrastructure. 

The Results
Users are now able to access information stored anywhere, at any time, from any location across the globe, electronically. In addition, CCL was able to use Presto to tag each piece of information to form a collection of competencies. They now have more than 400 competencies within the collection, so that if a user wants information related to "self-awareness," for example, the user simply executes a single search using the term and all materials – books, movies, articles, etc. – related to that competency are located.

In addition, CCL’s catalog of more than 9,000 books and movies is now browsable and the materials are available for loan to clients and the public when they visit the CCL campuses. CCL is also planning to use Presto’s social functions to facilitate communication and collaboration within groups, as well as across functions.

"The reaction from our users has been overwhelmingly positive. One user said that the ease-of-use and accessibility almost brought tears to her eyes! Though we value our IT people, we’re happy to be able to service ourselves."
Marie Tretiakova, Knowledge Management Librarian

Congratulations, CCL! And special thanks to Inmagic partner Ann Stringfield of InfoCrofters for introducing Inmagic to CCL and facilitating the partnership.

Faceted search coming to a DB/TextWorks near you

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By Phil Green
Last week we had a meeting with a long-time DB/TextWorks customer. They wanted to learn more about Presto for DB/TextWorks and were impressed with the features and capabilities. Then they asked, “Okay this looks good, but what’s coming down the road?” 
At this point, we opened the next version of Presto (version 4.2) and gave them a sneak peek at the faceted search capabilities and the customer went from impressed to silent. Finally they said, “You just changed the decision from should we do this, to how soon can we do this!”

After that meeting, we realized that all DB/TextWorks clients should be in on the secret:  Psst, Presto for DB/TextWorks will include faceted search in the next release! Or, to put it in simpler terms – you can add faceted search to your DB/TextWorks OPAC by upgrading from WebPublisher PRO to Presto for DB/TextWorks.

If you'd like to see Presto for DB/TextWorks in action, please join us for our Product Roadmap Webinar on May 21st. You can register here. We’ll discuss the current and future states of Inmagic’s products and provide an in-depth look at Presto and Presto for DB/TextWorks (and that soon-to-be-released faceted search feature). Maybe faceted search will change you from an "if" to a "when." 

 

Faceted search makes librarians shine (Or, "Why you need a librarian to make your search engine really work.")

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By Phil Green, Lucidea COO

I have been working with an early version of the next Presto release. The feature that has me salivating is faceted search (also sometimes referred to as "guided navigation"). Wikipedia defines faceted search as "a technique for accessing information organized according to a
faceted classification system, allowing users to explore a collection of information by applying multiple filters." Basically, if you’ve used an ecommerce site lately, it’s the right- or left-hand navigational aids that help you narrow your search by brand, price, key feature, etc.

Faceted searching is very useful for helping users more easily and quickly find the information that they want – way more efficiently than with full text search alone. This is why almost all ecommerce sites have implemented it. For example, Amazon (King of Ecommerce!) has a particularly good implementation. Ecommerce sites are able to make excellent use of faceted searching because they have facets (or, in database terms, fielded information). For example, I recently purchased an external, USB 3.0, solid state hard drive on Amazon – and getting to the list of available products using faceted search was incredibly easy. I did a quick search, then used the faceted navigation to narrow my results. A few keystrokes later, I was looking at just the drive I wanted to buy!

So why doesn’t Google (King of Search!) use faceted searching? The simple answer is that they don’t have fielded data. They are operating at the level of Web pages and not with well-curated database records (like the ecommerce guys). Which brings me back to my sub-title, and the second reason I like faceted search. Because it makes the work of special librarians shine like no other feature I have ever used. To make faceted search work well, you need two things:

  • First, the database must be carefully constructed to have the fields (facets) that are critical to understanding and describing the items contained in the database. (For example, in ecommerce those would be brand, price, etc.)
  • Second, these fields (facets) must be filled with high-quality content so that guided navigation works well.
In talking to industry consultants, I’ve heard that the ecommerce guys hate guided navigation systems. Why? Because they are such a pain. Full text search is easy. Just feed your information into the search engine and you’re done. Full text search isn’t fussy. No structure to your data? No problem! Low quality inputs? No problem! But to make faceted search work, you have to carefully architect the system and then fill it will high-quality data.

In other words, you often need librarians to help you build a high-quality database.
 Well, guess what? This is what Inmagic clients do every day. When our customers build a knowledge repository, catalog, or archive, they carefully structure the database to have fields (facets) that will truly describe the item – then they use validation lists and controlled vocabulary to fill the database up with high-quality content.

This means that our customers’ databases already meet the requirements for an excellent faceted search experience, which means I can’t wait until our customers have access to the next version of Presto (or Presto for DB/TextWorks) because the results will be amazing. With faceted searching – finding is a lot easier, and the value of your librarian is on display with every search!

Please stay tuned for a follow-up post on the difference between faceted searching and on-the-fly content classifiers (which provide guided navigation, but not true faceted search).

 
 

 

“If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.” Lew Platt, CEO, Hewlett-Packard

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As part of our "One Team, One Company" effort, we'd like to introduce our loyal readers to another great blog that's recently come on the scene -- our parent company, Lucidea, is exploring all things knowledge management including products, innovation, and project, people and content management. Below is a recent post from CEO Ron Aspe about tapping into organizational knowledge.

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By Ron Aspe

A KM strategy may not actually achieve 3X productivity, but impact - whether it is measured in profits or even in lives saved - can be dramatic, with amazing results as shown by the examples below:
  • A mountain rescue organization proactively communicates warnings of adverse conditions to equipment retailers, guides, the media and individual subscribers. Four novice climbers decide to stay home rather than risk death.
  • A professional services firm repurposes prior work and increases their billings by 1% -- resulting in 10% increase in profitability.
  • A software company reuses existing intellectual property to enter a new market segment. The lowered development costs result in a triple digit ROI.

Lew Platt and hundreds of other CEOs all know that if only they could tap the skills and knowledge within their own staff, it would be transformative. Imagine the impact if anyone in an organization who undertakes an assignment could easily discover if it’s been done before, if so by whom, and exactly how.

The Eureka project at Xerox is a great example of knowledge management delivering a stunning ROI. 15,000 service technicians contribute to and search a system containing 50,000 tips and techniques not documented in service manuals. Use of this system resulted in 10% reductions in labor and parts costs. Assuming a 10% profit margin and flat revenue, a 10% reduction in costs would result in a 100% increase in the profitability of Xerox’s service business.

If you aren’t sure this will work in your smaller organization, consider the following: if you’ve found a great local automobile mechanic, you can bet s/he uses Q&A forums. Mechanics are often paid "book time." That means that if the estimating guide used by the services manager says it takes three hours to fix something, the mechanic will be paid for three hours. Even for those who aren’t paid in this manner, performance is often measured against book time.

Like all professional services people, mechanics know that time is money, and that someone, somewhere has already solved, or is trying to solve, the problem they’re working on. They need to be efficient, and access to Q&A forums is proven to improve productivity. The mechanics don’t know everything -- they simply know where to find the answer.

If you want to increase the impact of your organization, no matter how you measure it, knowledge management has paradigm shifting potential. And that takes us back to Lew Platt’s assertion. How would your organization benefit if only it knew what it already knows?

Click here to read more posts from Ron and SydneyPLUS.

What’s up with Inmagic’s products? We’ll tell you.

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Last month we held an Inmagic product roadmap update webinar where we went into detail about product enhancements, new releases and future plans for DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher PRO, Genie, Presto Social Library, Presto, and Presto for DB/Text. For those of you who couldn’t join us, here’s the highlight reel of the webinar, as well as a link to the archived webinar if you’re looking for the whole shebang.

View the archived webinar here.






DB/TextWorks (v14 preview)
  • Updated image and PDF viewing
  • Improved spell-check system
  • Ability to create and use multiple named profiles for import, export, and email
  • Ability to update records when the new entry is already present in list
  • Windows 8 compatibility

WebPublisher PRO (v14 preview)
  • Validation list editing on the Web
  • Additional flexibility for query logging (e.g., textbase-specific, and the ability to start a new file after various conditions)

Genie
  • Genie v3.5 was released in June of 2012
  • Genie v3.6 is in development, planned features include: editing and updating of validation lists, easier navigation during editing sessions, orders enhancements
  • Compatibility with Windows Server 2012 upcoming for maintenance clients

Presto Social Library v2.0
  • New Presto and Genie integration via Presto DB/TextWorks connector is now available
  • More robust integration
  • Changes made to Genie content via DB/TextWorks will synchronize in Presto
  • New ILS option for PSL via SydneyPLUS ILS

Presto v4.1
  • DB/Text Connector
  • Improved search speed
  • Advanced control of screen layout
  • PDF thumbnails
  • “Slide show” widget for homepage
  • Download as CSV

Presto for DB/TextWorks (see blog post for more details)
  • Advanced Web publishing for DB/TextWorks
  • Build and maintain your textbase in DB/TextWorks
  • Publish to the Web with Presto for DB/TextWorks
  • No need for WebPublisher PRO

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like more details on any of our product advancements or future plans.  sales@inmagic.com

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