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Live from Online Information London 2006

Thanks to all the ITI editors who contributed to this blog and to everyone who cooperated with us in providing this coverage of the 2006 Online Information conference in London. Dick Kaser ITI, V.P., Content 731081

Same Time Next Year?

Photo by Don Hawkins.


All Wired Up

I never cease to be impressed at all the behind the scenes things that are necessary to stage a major event like the London Online conference. As one example, here is the wiring necessary to run the audiovisual equipment in just one of the smaller meeting rooms. The people responsible are truly the unsung heroes of the event.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

London – Typically Tropical

A final word from Jim Ashling.

It’s great to see my US colleagues when they come to London for the Online show, but they see a drop of rain on their first day and wouldn’t you know it, the old London stereotype gets an airing. Of course, it’s always raining.

So here’s my chance to set the record straight with a view of Olympia Grand Hall taken on Wednesday. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky all day. And by the way guys, guess what the weather’s like back home in Philly today? Hint: take an umbrella.

Jim Ashling
International Columnist
Information Today

Tips For Successful Networking

Given some of the worries about social networking as expressed in my earlier post, here’s a few tips from Dave Pollard at Ernst & Young to assist the concerned.

Pollard’s four keys to success:

• Run several parallel experiments to find what works best for you.

• Select a few success stories to help convince top management or the doubters about the benefits to the company.

• Have a future vision. What would you really like to do for your company with a full suite of tools?

• Keep it simple and low cost with open source and widely used tools.

Some of these tips were illustrated when a questioner pointed out that when one’s work or ideas were going to be exposed in a corporate blog or wiki, people were likely to be at minimum circumspect about what they write and at worst would manipulate things to show themselves in the best possible light.

Pollard pointed out that this is why he suggests that you experiment first with a group of employees who already need to share documents and work collaboratively such as a geographically dispersed research project team. In which case you are already working with a group that buys in to a cooperative ethos. With luck that gives you a success story to build on and for others to learn from.

Put simply – just give it a go.

Jim Ashling
International Columnist
Information Today

Audience Fears with Answers From the Panels

Looking back over my notes from several conference sessions, I’ve pulled together a few fears that were expressed (usually in questions from the audience) about social networking and the corresponding responses given by panellists.

Fear: We risk exposing the brand: an image carefully crafted by the marketing department.
Response: Well rethink the brand then!

Fear: Blogs, wikis et al simply create more noise and overload.
Response: They’re not going away. Internally, look for the processes that can be replaced by new tools and externally, use RSS to be selective.

Fear: What about security – giving away our secrets or being sued for libel?
Response: Trust your employees, look to your employment contracts. After all, folks with evil intent don’t need a blog to do harm if they really want to.

Fear: Customers who publicly comment on our products or beta tests will expose our bad news.
Response: Wouldn’t you rather know about your product’s failings as early as possible?

Jim Ashling
International Columnist
Information Today

Chalking Up Another

As the conference neared its end this afternoon and the exhibition was about to wind down, I found VNU Exhibition’s Kat Allen (show organizer) on the balcony overlooking the show floor. Below her stretched the stands of exhibitors still going about their booth duties. But in another hour what had been built up just a few days before would all be undergoing tear down.

Dick Kaser
ITI V.P. Content


Exhibit attendee Will Simpson, Software Engineer, Semantic, holds up the T-shirt he just received from Ontopia. Ontopia uses topic maps to facilitate document and data discovery. The expression on the T-shirt is derived from a quote by English novelist E. M. Foster (1879-1970) . . . "Only connect! . . . Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted." Dick Kaser ITI V.P., Content 729093

Image Searching Coming Soon from CSA

Not a big smile from CSA’s Diane Hoffman as the shutter clicked, but a lot of excitement in her voice as she gave me a preview of CSA Illustrata, which is due to launch early in 2007.

Illustrata will provide researchers with the ability to do something they could never do before with scientific papers, namely, search the figures, illustrations, and pictures for information and data of interest.

Carol Tenopir (University of Tennessee) has published a paper (free for registration) on the initial beta test conducted among researchers. Based on that test, said Hoffman, the service has been redesigned and is now being tested by information professionals.

Illustrata will feature full search capabilities, retrieval of abstracts and index terms, and, thumbnail pictures of all the figures and photos. Click on a figure and it displays as a full image. Each image will be linked to the full text so that it can be considered in the proper context of the research article.

Diane called it "the first new innovation in indexing since ISI’s development of science citation indexing."

I was dazzled by the demo I saw. Watch for the public release of Illustrata in 1Q07 and see for yourself.

Dick Kaser
ITI V.P., Content


What’s in a Name?

Remember when we thought Google was a funny-sounding name? Well, try "tesuji," a 100-percent open-source content management and search engine that’s the official search engine for Project Gutenberg. Tesuji "means the best move one can make in a given situation," according to the rules of the antique board game called "Go," said Anna Tothfalusi, M.D., account manager. Tesuji’s product line features four solution tools: Anacleto digital library, Anacleto corporate, Anacleto portal search, and Anacleto document management.

"We have chosen to concentrate on a few products to provide the maximum customization possible," she said. The site’s graphics and press materials are some of the best around. Company offices are in Rome, Hungary, and the United Arab Emirates (

Barbara Brynko
Editor in Chief
Information Today

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