EC100 Introduction & Category Descriptions

Article ImageWelcome to the eighth annual EContent 100—our list of companies that matter most in the digital content industry.

Right after I joined this magazine, we built our first content management system. One of the most challenging parts was choosing the topics for our website’s research centers, which also serve as the subject matter classifications for our content. We were lucky enough to have a few information professionals on the team, but as the centers would be public facing, we didn’t want them to be overly esoteric or complex. Nor did we want there to be too many. The fact is, when one begins to consider the subjects that fall into the domain of "digital content industry," one is at great risk of offering too much of a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong, the breadth and depth of this space indicates how all-pervasive digital content is and reinforces how important it is for organizations of all kinds to maximize this most essential resource in order to succeed. Compiling this year’s list, I was again astonished at the number of companies hard at work to help make the most of digital content—from those offering classification solutions to those bringing people together online and helping their voices be heard.

To help the magazine better evaluate the vast range of products and services on the market, not to mention the ever-emerging novel approaches, our EContent 100 judging team has changed a bit this year. This incredible group gathered together in our Socialtext wiki for a month, reviewing previous list members and considering a slew of worthy new contenders. As ever, the process was daunting—yet incredibly rewarding.

We hope that you find the list as valuable as we did the process of creating it. As ever, we welcome your feedback and look forward to the continued innovation in the tools and the way they are applied in the year to come.

—Michelle Manafy
Editor-in-chief, EContent 

[Click Here to read about the EContent 100 Judging Team]
[Click Here to see the 2008-09 EContent 100 List]

2008 EContent 100 Categories

Classification & Taxonomy
Taxonomy is one of those words that just sound hard. Well, it is. But the good news is that it is simply a way of classifying things. When it comes to classifying content, tools range from autocategorization algorithms to prepackaged taxonomies, and they find themselves woven into many other content categories, from services to search. All to make it easier to find what you need exactly when you need it.

Everyone knows they should play well with others. But frankly, that’s tough enough for a lot of folks. When those others span the globe and never meet, things get a whole lot more complicated. Collaboration tools enable teamwork, web-style, which emphasizes shared knowledge and member contribution, regardless of proximity.

Content Commerce
Grease must be applied to the wheels of commerce lest they squeak—nay, grind—to a halt. When what is being bought and sold is measured in bits and bytes, solutions that enable the buying and selling of digital content are there to keep the transactions humming smoothly along.

Content Creation, Production, and Digital Publishing
Formerly the purview of the privileged few with access to a printing press, creating content is everyone’s business today. Luckily, tools keep cropping up that help us make it, convert it, use it, and—most importantly—reuse it in ways as varied as the people creating the content in the first place.

Content Delivery
The paperboy may never get the daily news onto your porch, but you can count on the digital delivery infrastructure and tools to help all the news that’s fit to, uh, print find its way to you: online, in your inbox, or in line at the grocery store.

Content Management
CM and its kin—ECM, WCM, DAM, MAM, TCM, and so on—are the darlings of technology acronyms. CM’s predecessors, document management and knowledge management, along with new buddies such as globalization and localization tools, nip at its heels as it leads the pack as the end-all and do-all for managing today’s amorphous information masses. Yet while content management purports to be all things to all people, its true power may actually lie in its flexibility to change shape to fit each new business problem set before it.

Content Security
Over and above the trafficking in entertainment, business, and academic content, our very identities are being transacted online. Thus, beyond digital rights management tools (which guard our content like bouncers at the backstage door), we must have tools that bring a more subtle approach to the nuances of corporate content, which is also in need of safekeeping.

Fee-Based Info Services
While many say, "Information wants to be free," or at least that most people want their content to bear that price tag, another old saying goes, "you get what you pay for." Gutenberg-era dinosaurs and social media whippersnappers alike vie for information-seeking dollars by flexing the power packed in the "e" of econtent.

Intranets & Portals
Infusing organizations with an internal knowledge and information hub might not be as hot as portals that purport to proffer every piece of content on a given subject. Yet intranets—despite their unsexy image—bear many similarities to their more outgoing cousins. So it follows that these unlikely kin share some powerful tools and technologies to suffuse content inside and outside the enterprise.

Mobile Content
These days, content gets around. See all those cell phones? Yep, people are doing a lot more than talking on them today: From stock tickers to subscriptions services and search, content has places to go and people who want to see it.

Search Engines & Technologies
There’s a lot more to searching than the G-word. Through algorithms, bots, spiders, metatext, and more, people are using more than single-keyword searches to find ever-more-targeted information on the web or behind the firewall.

Social Media
While many bemoan the erosion of human interaction in the wake of the internet age, still others extol the virtues of the extension of community to all corners of the globe—if only virtually. Yet, without a doubt, the web has opened up a world of opportunity for readers to become the writers, reviewers, and producers. Here we look at the tools that help proliferate the vox populi.

[Click Here to read about the EContent 100 Judging Team]
[Click Here see the 2008-09 EContent 100 List]
[Click Here to see all previous EContent 100 Lists]