Archive for web

Why a joint publishing environment?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Lance Strzok

The urgency on this issue is because everyday that passes, another “collaboration site” gets created within our enterprise (government) which serves to divide collaborators that work specific topics.

This is bad because for fast, accurate, and rich content, we want the greatest number of collaborators to apply their considerable depth of knowledge to fewer products and knowledge bases which enable decision makers (political or tactical) to make the most informed decisions as quickly as possible.

Example situation:

Twenty people across the enterprise (DOD, IC, and other governmental bodies with access to the network) have expertise on a subject, but are not necessarily geographically located near one another.

From blog_pics

Twenty people (collaborators) across five companies or (agencies) that typically write on a given subject or topic. Four people at each of the five companies.

From blog_pics

Each of the five companies creates its own collaborative environment for its local employees with some limited ability to share with external collaborators. This could be a Mediawiki site, Sharepoint site, Lotus Notes, or any similar collaboration environment (Collaorative software list).

Each of the four members at each of the five companies use their companies collaborative environment to collaborate on their individual product on the same topic.

From blog_pics

Five “collaborative products” are created, with four primary contributors to each product.

A decision maker (political or tactical) may receive all five products on which to make a decision, and the burden of analysis is put on the decision maker (with less expertise on a topic) rather than on the community of practice where that expertise exists.

From blog_pics

What we want to do is put one product in front of a decision maker that represents the collaborative efforts of the community of practice on that topic (all twenty people), and allow them to make decisions based on that information. The richness and depth of knowledge applied to one document where the differences and facts are agreed upon (or highlighted when not) and available as a product and a living knowledge resource.

From blog_pics

Although there are several publishing and knowledge management products in use across the services and agencies, many of these systems are not shared, nor do they allow for collaboration outside of their component in an effective way. The data and products as well as those items in production are not discoverable by the other components and the costs to maintain each of these systems is considerable. Even if each component wanted to share their databases and information, it would be technically challenging based on the varied systems in use.

Intellipublia is authoring and knowledge management software that enables joint production of products and knowledge management on topics across the entire enterprise (where the enterprise contains all of the agencies, commands and DOD components). All of which can use Intellipublia to create component specific products, or collaborate on joint products. Additionally, members at any component can discover, and contribute or comment on any product that is in draft, or completed.

Intellipublia takes the worldwide scalability of Wikipedia (Mediawiki software) and has been modified to work as a production system that has many features of modern production expectations“.

Intellipublia is operational, as well as still accepting requirements for improvement.

The most notable features are:
* Web based and accessible from any computer on the network
* Scalable to millions of users
* Changes are tracked and attributable and commented
* Notification mechanisms for various aspects of user activities
* Produce validated XML for registration with the Library of National Intelligence IAW ICD 501
* Static html output for local server usage
* Searchable, linkable, taggable, extensible, and has RSS output

In conclusion, I wish to convey that within an enterprise as large as ours, where knowledge on any topic exists in more then one component, it is imperative that we drive collaborators to fewer collaborative spaces in order to maximize collaborative effects and achieve decision superiority while reducing duplication in both products and knowledge databases. This means making a joint decision on which environments we are going to use, followed with how we will integrate them, regardless of the environment or software tools that we settle on.

As always, thank you for reading, and I would appreciate your candid and constructive feedback.

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Modern Production Expectations

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Lance Strzok

So I recently missed two stops on the Metro as I began to refine the question into, “What should a modern day production system do?”

To lay out the general environment, let’s just say that there are many writers on many topics around the world that may want to contribute collaboratively to this system in an effort to make sure it is accurate and represents the collective knowledge on the subject at the time.

These are some things that I thought of:

* Web based
* Notify me when someone else is writing on a topic or interest of mine
* Show all new pages and/or trending topics
* Alert me when the product reaches milestones, is rejected, edited or approved
* Allow for comments by the person that rejected or approved the document as it went through the process
* I want to be able to define and change styles, fonts, headers, keywords, meta data, on single or groups of documents easily
* Low barrier to entry, edit and create documents or articles
* Flexible approval process that accommodates definable paths for approval if necessary
* Discoverable to all at all stages in the process
* Links to other tools and tells them when a product is started, completed or hit a milestone
* Delineate between significant and minor edits
* Be searchable in all stages of development
* Include what we knew and when we knew it in a record that can be traced
* Easy sourcing method embedded in the tool that links to actual sources or discussions of the source
* Include a feedback mechanism for completed products
* Easily moved, removed or replaced in its entirety (database)
* Easily backed up
* The ability to add keywords, categories or metadata at a later date to bulk groups of documents
* The ability to remove undesirable metadata
* Integrates with other tools and services easily
* For every non-minor change, prompt for a source, significance and classification
* For existing sources in the document, have them appear on a drop down for selection
* Notifications for all that subscribe by either email or real simple syndication (RSS)
* Links to contributing authors and a mechanism to view which authors created what material
* Link to other documents in the same or similar categories
* People that read this also read this…
* Accept, use or allow creation of templates for initial layout and article formats
* Images have their own link and can be shown or not shown as a user preference
* Be able to edit and watch edits being made in near real time color coded by author (etherpad like)
* Highlight text
* Color text
* Annotate during edit
* Easily export or transfer to xml, html, pdf, and opendocument formats
* Generate statistics on various aspects of the articles including which authors contributed and how much
* Generate a list of those people that are watching the product being made and those that read the article when it is completed
* Show where the document is in the review or approval process as it is defined
* Integrates with other new media tools
* Mouse roll over any text shows – classification, author, and source
* The ability to link to a section or paragraph by way of a URL
* Autobuild an outline or table of contents as the product is being made or within the template
* Search within an article
* Be searchable from other tools
* Automatic lat/long, location, and place name recognition for use with geographic selection of reporting
* Place for questions related to the document that can be watched by the contributors, and the other followers that may want answers to questions in the document
* Temporal recognition
* Easily embed graphics
* Text flows around graphics
* System finds and makes links to related documents based on metadata, and words within the document
* Selectable contributors (IC, Agency, COI, or specific Individuals)
* Single sign on, hooked into PKI and LDAP mechanisms
* Inexpensive
* Robust track changes
* Notification of changes
* Undo button
* Transparency of comments, and creation
* Discussion page for resolution of differences
* Classification roll up (Document classification is as high as any content within it)
* Dirty word check or links to a standard dirty word service that is updated by the community
* Spelling check and grammar check as you type

So tell me what else you would want your production system to do so that I can include them in future requirements.

Thanks for reading and commenting.