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Using Data Structure Standards to Foster Efficiency and Opportunity
By Steve Hoenisch
Last updated on Feb. 16, 2005, in New York City
Copyright 1996-2005 www.Criticism.Com | View as a Slide Show
Table of Contents
2 Using XML for Data Structure Standards
2.1 Developing and Implementing a Standard
2.4 Existing Metadata Standards
3 Overview: Fostering Efficiency
3.1 Automated Processing
3.2 Streamlining Work Flow and Sharing Data
3.3 Reusing Content
3.4 Eliminating Redundancy
3.5 Storage, Search, Retrieval
3.6 Report Capabilities
3.7 Software Consolidation
4 Overview: Realizing New Business Opportunities
4.1 Syndication and Redistribution
4.2 Targeted Advertising
4.3 Personalized, Aggregated, and Segmented Content
4.4 Developing Niche Products
4.5 Tapping New Outlets and Launching New Products
4.6 Translating, Localizing, and Internationalizing Content
4.7 Single Sourcing
5 Thriving on the Business Web
6 About this Document
This presentation describes how organizations -- particularly businesses focused on creating and distributing content -- can use data structure standardization to realize operating efficiencies and new business opportunities.
XML is the language of choice for standardizing and enforcing data structures.
Its hierarchical and extensible nature makes it well suited for formally structuring data.
Its extensibility enables it to include rich sets of metadata -- an aspect of standardization that helps make businesses more efficient.
XML enables interoperability and expedites data exchange over the Internet -- as evident with the explosion of XML-based data exchange languages like FPML -- which is a key to realizing new business opportunities, especially in the era of the "business web."
A data structure standard can be implemented in XML with a Document Type Definition or a Schema.
Depending on its unique needs, a business can use an existing DTD or develop its own.
Using an existing standard, such as NewsML, may make it easier to distribute data to other businesses.
To develop a standard, an organization identifies and defines the structural and semantic elements and attributes of its data, and fuses the resulting definition with mechanisms for specifying metadata at multiple levels. The standard strives to separate content from presentation.
Content is validated against the DTD to ensure conformity with the standard.
As we will see, a standard that includes a rich set of metadata mechanisms increases the potential for efficiency and opportunity.
An organization has several options for extending its standard to capture metadata:
The approach depends on the current and future needs of the business and the characteristics of its data.
Future needs may be indeterminable: It may prove productive later to use multiple approaches now.
Businesses can use taxonomies to organize content into logical groupings that bring efficiencies in managing, navigating, and locating data.
XML is well suited to formulating hierarchical arrangements that structure information within a specific body of knowledge.
Here are a few of the existing metadata standards:
Data structure standards, including mechanisms for specifying metadata, enable organizations to foster efficiency by
Data structure standards enable businesses to automate the processing of content, making them more efficient while reducing the costs associated with manual work. The possibilities are virtually endless. For instance, publishers can do the following:
The automation that comes with standardization, along with a content management system, can make an organization's work flow more efficient:
On a general note, sharing knowledge within an organization requires cooperation. Standardization can, if executed with the appropriate metadata, provide a formal model for cooperative sharing.
Standards that separate content from presentation empower organizations to reuse and repurpose content:
With standardization, documents can include references to other documents or segments of them, making the business more efficient by enabling it to reuse existing resources.
Documents can be assembled automatically with existing content, in response to user requests.
Standardization can also radically increase efficiency by enabling an organization to publish the same content in multiple formats.
Standardization also enables organizations to automatically include related sidebar content.
All of which reduces the cost of creating information products.
Standardization helps eliminate redundancy and repetition of data:
Standardization can revolutionize the way organizations store data, bringing massive efficiencies in searching and retrieval.
Along with a content management system, standardization and metadata provide vehicles for
The resulting reports help organizations become more efficient by focusing on productive avenues of information usage and improving access to important streams.
Standardization eases software costs and yield efficiencies by consolidating the tools needed to create content. All authors, for instance, could use an XML-based tool like Epic Editor or XMetal.
The costs associated with training users in different software are reduced.
Data structure standards and the interoperability they yield bring new business opportunities by enabling organizations to
Because data with formally defined structures can be easily shared, standardization forges new business opportunities through the possibility exchanging data.
A well-defined data structure standard uses metadata to capture the meaning and relationships of content, opening up the possibility of
Standardization can help retain existing customers and attract new customers by enabling companies to
Standardization gives organizations the ability to develop niche products by helping to identify marketable subsets of content (through, for instance, tracking) or by combining content from various domains in new and unique ways.
Example: A publisher of business magazines may be able to recombine discrete pieces of content from multiple magazines into a new stream of unified content that has value to a specific set of consumers.
(Information from magazine on celebrity lifestyles + information from yachting magazine = business stream on selling yachts to celebrities.)
Standardization also gives organizations the prospect of developing new opportunities through
An organization can engineer its standard to use abstract structures for aspects of content tied to locale -- for example, currency -- to ease localization.
There are also standardization methods that improve the efficiency of translating or internationalizing content.
The result: An organization can introduce its offerings in new locales, cultures, and languages.
An XML-based standard that separates content from presentation provides the foundation for delivering content in multiple output formats.
This enables businesses to find new opportunities by distributing their content to new channels. (Formatting is done with stylesheets.)
We are at the cusp of the "business web" -- a worldwide network of interconnected business services.
Businesses well positioned to exploit it will thrive.
Making an organization's core data and services available through other companies can vastly increasing the market for those services and data.
Data structure standards that enable the rapid and innovative dessimination of business services and information -- including through other companies -- may well be one of the keys to integrating into and thriving within this environment.
This presentation was created using IBM's Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), a topic-oriented DTD, and a customized XSLT stylesheet.