Features

If your cell phone knew what you were going to do at two o’clock, would that change how you planned your day? If your cell phone “predicted” correctly where you would be at a particular time of the week, how would you feel? No longer hypothetical situations, the Reality Mining experiment answers these questions.
By - October 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 28, 2005
After a decade of digital information overload—email, multimedia, and endless Web surfing—podcasting is starting to engage the enterprise because of its sheer simplicity. This is new technology that revives our appreciation of the oldest medium. Podcasting offers brief, regularly scheduled, and automated distribution of media that pokes through the digital noise with the most basic and compelling content delivery device of all, the human voice.
By - October 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 27, 2005
Cyberspace doesn’t give its travelers much room for reflection. Every day, millions of Web sites are updated, and older versions are erased from existence with the click of a button. Remember when Amazon.com sold only books? Or when WebCrawler ruled the search universe? The Wayback Machine does.
By - October 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 26, 2005
In July, RSS Investors, LP announced the creation of the first investment fund specializing in companies based on the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) family of standards and services. The fund, created by Jim Moore, John Palfrey, Richard Fishman, and Steve Smith and Tom Crowley (representing Ritchie Capital Management), will focus on supporting and nurturing the technologies and leaders who are championing RSS-related technologies, including news aggregation, blogs, and new classes of search engines.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 16, 2005
With the increasing globalization of business and the sharing of information among companies, customers, and suppliers in far-flung parts of the world, protecting confidential information, not only within an enterprise, but also once it leaves, has become paramount. Take a look at the DRM providers vying to protect enterprise content.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 16, 2005
Like most professions, the advent of digital content has affected the legal profession. It has changed the means and methods by which law firms, their clients, and the courts themselves must use, manage, and discover content.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 09, 2005
The April announcement of a planned Adobe/Macromedia merger left some content creators in a lather, fearing that it would, at worst, blunt competition and inflate price tags on vital publishing and Web development tools, or at best, result in the most successful product in each space being simply integrated by its former competitor.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 09, 2005
There are always myriad issues involved (from the technical to the philosophical) when it comes to moving content across disparate systems, but these problems come into glaring focus when the content includes confidential medical data.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 02, 2005
People buy luxury cars—at least in part—because they are aesthetically pleasing. The same motivation drives people to auto parts stores for spinners to go with essentials like new tires. 3B is attempting to capitalize on a similar premise with its new navigation tool. Currently free for download, the 3B.net browser is designed to mimic a shopping mall or town center in order to leverage one of the most fundamental human behaviors: window shopping.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Sep 01, 2005
New Yorkers might be in a perpetual rush, but for cardholders at the New York Public Library, reading on the go just got easier. In June, the NYPL launched its eAudio program, making more than 700 popular, educational, and literary titles available for download through the library’s Web site. With authors ranging from Jane Austen to Dr. Phil, the size and variety of the audio book offerings make the NYPL’s eAudio program one of the largest of its kind.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 31, 2005
While the market for business content remains strong, content providers are increasingly expanding their audience pool by offering wares in different packages and price points. Alacra’s announcement of its Alacra Store demonstrates an increasing trend of providing patrons with a variety of inroads to premium content.
By - September 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 25, 2005
Despite the steady move to econtent by publishers, printers, academia, and corporations, there are still plenty of people who want paper and turn to digital content only reluctantly, according to Jean Bedord, consultant and senior analyst with Shore Communications, Inc. The need for better tracking of print advertising finally has been infused with new possibility, courtesy of a digital content technology.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 15, 2005
Web Services and XML technologies are catching on in traditional and digital publishing as well as in a variety of other industries. Consultants and vendors agree that there’s no single event that’s led to the increased popularity of these technologies but say the applications are now more proven and are gaining critical mass among users.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 15, 2005
Back in 2000 when it looked as though the entire world’s content would soon be digitized, a myth developed that in the not-too-distant future, paper books would be supplanted by ebooks. While this hasn't come to pass, ebooks have wormed their way into the reference market and may have found a home.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 10, 2005
In mid-May, Audible, a provider of digital spoken audio content, and Pearson Education, an educational publisher, announced a partnership to develop and distribute audio-only study guides to college students as a supplement to Pearson’s textbook product line.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 08, 2005
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) may be really simple for publishers in terms of providing a quick alternate content delivery stream and it may be a relatively simple way to help avoid inbox info-glut, but it isn’t always so simple to integrate into an information-gathering routine. For the most part, RSS readers provide only the most basic functionality to do just that: read feeds. However, a few RSS readers out there are trying to do more—like help info-seekers find appropriate feeds, manage the incoming information for future use, and access it in different ways that suit a variety of needs. Pluck is one such feisty RSS reader.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Aug 01, 2005
Handheld devices are becoming increasingly useful at freeing business users from the constraints of the desktop to view documents. Unfortunately, mobile handheld devices share common limitations, not the least of which are small screens and slow network speeds. Here’s a look at some mobile document delivery hurdles, and the efforts being made to overcome them.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Jul 27, 2005
The BBC recently launched a trial program called BBC Backstage that allows developers to use some BBC content free of charge for non-commercial purposes. The BBC hopes the program encourages creativity and produces interesting ways to use its content in the same spirit in which Google and Amazon (and others) have opened up their application program interfaces (APIs) to developers.
By - July/August 2004 Issue, Posted Jul 25, 2005
We hear in the news about famine-stricken areas of Africa, but due to connectivity problems, much of Africa is also information-starved. And, like a shortage of food, a shortage of information can be a disaster. Founded in 2000 to mitigate the third world’s dire digital communications problems, the WiderNet Project is a largely volunteer, nonprofit organization based at the University of Iowa.
By - July/August 2005 Issue, Posted Jul 22, 2005
In the Old Economy, those who owned the exclusive rights to a product or service could become very wealthy. Today the tables have turned; it’s openness and the free availability of good ideas that drive value. The mindset of not only the content consumer is shifting, but also that of vendors and even content providers, which seek to find ways to profit from the new (digital) economy. peggy anne salz
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 15, 2005
The open access (OA) landscape is littered with misconceptions and misunderstandings. In fact, the very definition of open access is frequently disputed. There are those who assume that anything free is open access and others who confuse it with kindred spirit open source, but understanding the definition is only to begin to grasp the issues OA raises. Marydee ojala
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 14, 2005
People already create, distribute, and consume mobile information and entertainment in the forms of news, music, and games; now art has gone mobile too. Several organizations are harnessing mobile technology to bring art to the masses and to provide artists with new outlets and creative forms.
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 09, 2005
When Ourmedia.org launched this past March, it provided a free space for creators of all types of content—including video, audio, and the written word—to distribute their content. Perhaps more importantly, however, it stepped in to fill an emerging need for a forum in which to discuss the best ways to create, produce, and distribute content.
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 09, 2005
Citizen Journalism provides a place for people to celebrate the ordinary victories in their lives, a forum for discussing local political issues, coverage that specifically suits its local readership, and a way to connect people to one another—all things found wanting in a world dominated by big media monopolies. This budding phenomenon supports the community along with a new journalistic business model. Ron miller
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 07, 2005
New Yorkers always look like they know where they’re going, barreling down avenues, cell phone in hand. The secret is that they don’t, or rather they haven’t—until now. In fact, they may not actually be talking on those cell phones anymore, but instead using a relatively new service called HopStop, a MapQuest-like offering that uses mass transit and walking directions to get users from Point A to Point B in the five boroughs of New York.
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted Jun 02, 2005
German media giant Bertelsmann reportedly pumped $85 million into the beleaguered Napster between 2000 and 2002, before Napster finally declared bankruptcy and its remains were scooped up by Roxio. So what did Bertelsmann get for its $85 mil? The short answer is, nothing. However, Bertelsmann did get something from its dalliance with Napster: a profound respect for P2P technology and its potential for content distribution.
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted May 31, 2005
AvantGo, a service of the Sybase Inc. subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions, is moving fast in its efforts to push mobile content forward. The company beta launched the AvantGo Travel Tab at the end of May, with the specific intention of assisting its business traveler clientele. The project began last year when focus groups of business travelers around the world were asked how they use mobile technology and what they find important.
By - June 2005 Issue, Posted May 27, 2005
Thomson Gale, part of The Thomson Corporation, has announced the newest enhancement to Gale's Virtual Reference Library, the eBook Subcollection Manager. Thomson Gale has also announced new enhancements and additional entries to several of the company’s online databases including Thomson Gale’s Virtual Reference Library, Business & Company Resource Center, and Social Science Electronic Data Library.
Posted May 27, 2005
Local search technology, which has been growing in popularity, is all about bringing information about where you live into your search parameters. For example, you can find a doctor or a florist in your area, get their phone number, a map with directions, and in some cases, access reviews of the business.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 16, 2005
It was not that long ago when PC users were pleading for decent consumer desktop search tools—software that provides a way to search your hard drive the same way you do the Internet. But with the exception of a few companies, nobody seemed to be heeding the call, not even the big names in Internet search: Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. Then suddenly last summer, that all changed, starting with Copernic’s release of a free desktop search tool. By the end of last year in flurry of releases, the big three followed with branded offerings. Others, including AOL and Ask, released tools as well. Some developed their own, while others purchased a solution or licensed one from another vendor. But in the course of a few months, we went from a sparsely populated desktop search marketplace to one crowded with solutions.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 16, 2005
Recently there’s been an explosion of new developments related to finding and using visual and audio resources on the Web. Multimedia is definitely hot. While there have been some fee-based services that monitor and provide clips of television programming for corporations, such as ShadowTV and Critical TV, we’re seeing considerable activity in providing free access to multimedia content on the Web.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 13, 2005
“Search,” as Steve Cohen, EVP and VP of products at Basis Technology, explains, “is made up of two stages: indexing and retrieval.” Monolingual search is relatively straightforward, but things get much more complex when you start offering search options in more than one language. Given that the Web is increasingly multilingual, the need for robust search options in a wide variety of languages is growing. As such, major search engines Google, Yahoo!, and MSN Search all offer multilingual search, to varying degrees. Google is the polyglot of the group, supporting more than 100 languages. MSN Search offers the fewest, but this may be due to its relative newness to the search game.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 13, 2005
Podcasting has jumped onto the scene rather quickly, and its latest trick involves enabling subscribers to receive alerts when their favorite podcasters offer new files. Essentially, LiveMessage is “a broadcast application” for information alerts. “Alerts have been around for a long time,” says MessageCast CEO Royal Farros, “but the only mechanism for delivering alerts has been email.” And email, as Farros points out, is certainly not without problems, like its lack of authentication.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 12, 2005
The definition of content management continues to expand, while content often remains fragmented throughout organizations. For years, the market moved steadily in the direction of a broader and broader definition of content management, seeking to encompass everything from assets and data to knowledge and intelligence and adopting adjectives like Enterprise and Total. According to FileNet, the content management landscape is set for another tectonic shift.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 12, 2005
For more than a decade, European reliance on SmartCards—to secure financial transactions, authenticate cell phones, and more recently, to launch the ePassports initiative—has grown steadily. A SmartCard is essentially a little computer that, when put on a banking card, mobile phone, or other device, acts as a gatekeeper between the stored content and the outside world. Unlike the magnetic strips of credit cards that passively spit out data as they’re swiped, “the SmartCard chip plays a much more active part in the transaction,” says Chris Caruk, chief technologist and VP of marketing for Aspects Software. Today, as a result of work done by Aspects, SmartCards are poised to play a much bigger role in enabling the secure transfer of content in all its glorious forms.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 10, 2005
What is most interesting about the rising tide of enterprise rich media use is how quickly companies incorporate audio and video into everyday business processes. Users are re-imagining multimedia’s functionality once it becomes as common and effortless a business tool as photo copiers and staplers.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 10, 2005
The Health Record Network Foundation (HRN) has started a number of pilot programs to create a market for automated online health information. The goal is to create a voluntary online medical record system where patients can enter their medical history and allow access for their physicians or other medical providers. HRN’s first three pilot programs are with the Duke University School of Medicine (North Carolina), the state of Wyoming, and the Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Brian Baum, CEO of HRN, says, “This idea means the consumer can start the process. They can go online anywhere, anytime, and initiate the creation of a personal health record, storing things like a family health history, medication list, allergies, who their clinical care team is—just basic information that’s within their control.”
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 05, 2005
With Ovum—an independent UK-based technology and research consultancy—forecasting mobile phone connections will hit the 2 billion mark next year, it’s no wonder content owners are scrambling to repurpose content for mobile device delivery.
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 04, 2005
In Part I of this series, Byrne looked at CMS interfaces and found that users tend to come to CMS projects with diverse expectations, so vendors often struggle to match their product out of the box to a prospective customer’s particular scenarios. In Part II, he examines CMS usability through the lens of system functionality. tony byrne
By - May 2005 Issue, Posted May 04, 2005
Images of tattered notebooks and blunt-tipped pencils are what many associate with budding writers. In fact, would-be screenwriters have been portrayed as doing just about anything to get their scripts to anyone even remotely involved in the film industry. Well, now there’s a new way: the process of getting your screenplay noticed has gone digital, too.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 25, 2005
One of the advantages of living in the San Francisco Bay Area—a longtime hub of technological innovation—is the ability to attend events that add to one’s knowledge of the evolution of computer and Internet technology. Earlier this year, I was able to attend one of the Computer History Museum’s Speaker Series, which featured Steve Case, the founder and former CEO of America Online. The informal talk was led by Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal’s Personal Technology columnist.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 22, 2005
This article gives an overview of the various technologies through which end users can take advantage of the power of RSS feeds. It includes micro-reviews that highlight the pros and cons of a representative sample of RSS aggregation tools.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 22, 2005
An international forum aimed at standardizing digital media and copy protection technologies is set to achieve a major milestone in its drive toward creating interoperable Digital Rights Management. This month, the International Digital Media Project (DMP)—which brings together more than 25 member companies across the digital content and device industries including Panasonic, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Telecom Italia, and the BBC—is expected to release the industry’s first DRM technology specifications for Portable Audio and Video devices (PAVs).
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 20, 2005
At a time when anyone with a computer and a bit of Internet know-how can access an ever-expanding world of free content, you may wonder how fee-based content services survive. They are doing it through innovation and by finding ways to better aggregate, filter, and deliver content in ways that the free Internet does not offer.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 18, 2005
Frode Hegland, a researcher at University College London (UCLiC), gives hyper new meaning. The native Norwegian, whose thought processes take tantalizing tangents to exponential extremes, wants to return to the one of the Web's founding principles: interactive information that actually informs.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 14, 2005
Panels at the second annual New York McGraw–Hill Media Summit, held February 9 and 10, 2005, tackled topics ranging from mobile content to maintaining a loyal customer base to VC funding for entertainment and technology. One of the more lively panels faced the issue of DRM head-on, covering the changes in DRM over the past year, the state of DRM today, and an informed peek at the future of DRM.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 11, 2005
Purveyors of digital content continue to seek the best ways to market and sell their materials while ensuring that only authorized parties access content. The trick is to find an end-to-end solution that lets customers use content in the ways they feel they should be allowed and at the same time, protect the rights of content providers.
By - April 2005 Issue, Posted Apr 11, 2005
Despite displays getting smaller, brighter, and more energy-efficient, they pale in comparison to the portability, readability, and feel of paper—still the medium of choice for the printed word. The electronic version of old faithful, epaper, may promise a new chapter in content delivery. geoff daily
By - March 2005 Issue, Posted Mar 31, 2005
The potential combination of Time Warner and Sprint, which was still only in the discussion phase as of January, has caused a great deal of speculation about how it would change the mobile content marketplace. Undoubtedly, the merger would further promote the “any time, any place,” content model, but it would also continue to concentrate the media market. This powerhouse partnership, if it were to come to pass, would give Time Warner and Sprint a so-called “quadruple play,” which would allow the partnership to offer a bundled package of high-speed Internet, television, long-distance, and wireless telecommunication services.
By - March 2005 Issue, Posted Mar 30, 2005
Nearly a decade ago, Margaret Bodde, co-executive director of the Film Foundation, began having a discussion with Martin Scorsese about how best to teach film to a broader audience than simply those studying film in college. "We started to see that if kids aren't introduced or exposed to films from the past, they'd have no motivation to protect them for the future," explains Bodde, so the Film Foundation was established with the express purposes of preserving film and educating the public.
By - March 2005 Issue, Posted Mar 28, 2005
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