I really enjoyed this webinar. It was a joint effort with Andreas Blumauer of PoolParty, and it felt like a proper conversation rather than the usual lecture style of webinars. Some good audience questions helped keep it interactive too.
Here’s the original blurb:
We tend to think of content as documents — web pages, Word files, PDFs and presentations. But the tools of structured content let us create and manipulate sub-document chunks: sections, paragraphs, and even phrases. This allows us to publish to any of our customers’ preferred media or channels from a single source, and gives our content some measure of durability.
Until we understand what the chunks are talking about, however, we have very little opportunity to tailor the information experience to individual readers. By using metadata to describe the “aboutness” of each piece of our content, we can filter information to suit each customer’s profile. With clever tagging, we can not only filter pages but surface helpful chunks of information as tips or suggestions, and relate them together to form dynamic paths for readers to explore. We may start these initiatives on a small scale, in an ad-hoc way, but by harnessing a standards-based taxonomy, our efforts become scalable and replicable across different teams in our organization.
The most advanced use of semantic technologies describes the meaning of our chunks of content, so that other groups across our organization and even external users can understand it too. Search engines from intranets to Google can surface the right content to information seekers in increasingly sophisticated formats. Any external platform that can consume our Linked Data can be used to build new tools; new experiences for readers using our content and that of others. For truly futureproof content, we need to write well, use structural markers, and associate our chunks of information with external data.
Creating content in this way sounds like a tough challenge for authors, but it’s made achievable and even enjoyable with good planning and system design.