The Good, the Bad and the Funny

Does finding content in your organization often feel like this?

Starts off well, but quickly devolves into a cacophony of good and funny shtick. In the end, it's charming, but did you find your favorite holiday song in there? And enjoy it fully? When you search for info on your intranet or the internet, do you find lots of good things that overlap, take you off on tangents, or otherwise lead you down a path that doesn't deliver what you need?

Let's play along with the story SNC has created here for a moment. All these guys start of in sync - clear purpose, then as they work on a particularly long and formatted song ("12 Days of Christmas"), they start skipping around. Then a few decided they want to go somewhere else ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town"), and a few more think that's a good idea and go somewhere else ("Deck the Halls"), and the leaders try to herd the cats. They all recognize all of these newly introduced songs, but are amazed at their inability to finish the task they started. They end with a beautiful mashup (lyrics of "12 Days" and more to the tune of "Africa" by Toto) that clearly was not where they thought they would go. Reminds me a lot of trying to find something when searching a corporate intranet! When I begin a search, I know what need. Then I start skipping around - maybe this link down here would be useful? In the end I frequently end up mashing a slide from this presentation with a table from that spreadsheet to produce my own deliverable.

Is this serendipity a bad thing? Not necessarily. Is lack of focus while completing a task a bad thing - very possibly. Sometimes you need to be in Discovery mode, sometimes in Finding mode. Discovery allows you to be more fully aware of the reach of your subject interest. Faceted search helps you to cull the irrelevant from the appropriate. We provide these capabilities in many Dow Jones products. (See for yourself in my earlier post giving an overview of semantics at Dow Jones.) We achieve it through dedicated management of taxonomies and metadata. As Daniela mentioned in her last post, a CMS needs a taxonomy. So does faceted search, great visualizations and many mashups.

A capella? Maybe not. But I still love it, and have since college. I thank you for indulging me in this little holiday distraction; I hope you enjoyed it! Best wishes to all, through this and ALL holiday seasons year-round.

"12 Days of Christmas" by Straight No Chaser