Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Content is King

Recently the content team at my employer showed us a presentation about the whys, hows and challenges that they face in organizing content for our products (mainly graduate-level research applications, but some general-use software as well).

Their problems differ somewhat from what most people thing of as "content" in that they don't create the vast majority of what we publish.  Instead, the company purchases or licenses large chunks of information in various forms, and then transforms it into something that you can search and read through a web app. 

What struck me as most relevant were the challenges they face in becoming "agile".  This seems like an area ripe for a better process and cultural changes to accompany it.  It is also far more important than the software development process ("pretty" web apps may engage people up-front, but you have to have something authoritative and useful behind it if you want end-users to want to keep coming back.)

There doesn't seem to be much out there right now on the subject.  About all that I found was this PowerPoint converted to PDF that covers are few of the "whys" and "how's" at a high level.

The author seems to know the subject well, but there's only so much you can get out of a PowerPoint without a person driving it.  (I know nothing about him, but his contact information is at the bottom if you want to ask him yourself  - looks like he does consulting work.)