Content Convergence & Integration 2008 Reviews

Overall Ratings
The Conference Overall: 5.0 stars after 5 ratings
The Sessions: 4.5 stars after 26 ratings
The Speakers: 3.0 stars after 7 ratings
The Content 5.0 stars after 5 ratings
The Networking 5.0 stars after 5 ratings
The Venue 5.0 stars after 5 ratings
The Schwag 3.0 stars after 5 ratings

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The Reviews

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By: Joe Gollner
on Mar 19 2008
at 02:24 AM GMT
5
Intimate and Engaging Event
A review of the conference overall

It would be fair to say that I have attended a lot of conferences in my day. In the particular case of Content Convergence & Integration, I participated in a number of capacities: scheduled speaker, last-minute-speaker, panelist, sponsor, exhibitor, attendee and corridor evangelist.

In each of these capacities I enjoyed myself and found the event productive. I had a number of people approach me, as a sponsor and exhibitor, with questions, several of which were challenging. When I was presenting my "vendor demo", some of the attendees from other vendors were good enough to laugh at my ill-timed jokes. As a speaker, I was energized by the volume and variety of questions that came my way - both while on the podium and while eating sushi in the evening.

All in all, the event radiated a positive spirit and an esprit de corps that is unusual in conferences and certainly always missing from larger gatherings.

As a specific aside, I found the venue to be outstanding. I have myself chaired a number of events in my day and I would have, on most of those occasions, done almost anything to find myself in a hotel with such superlatively helpful staff.

The conference Schwag was almost non-existent. But then again, I hate Schwag so I rate this as five stars too.

In line with the spirit that permeated the event, I wish all my co-attendees the very best and I look forward to crossing paths again - perhaps at CCI 2009...
By: Rahel Anne Bailie
on Mar 18 2008
at 04:56 AM GMT
5
The secret worlds of taxonomies
Lise did a great job of explaining the role of taxonomies in content findability. In fact, I wish that one of the Day 2 speakers had come to hear her talk. He seemed to think that matrixed navigation was trouble - he obviously hasn't worked at Amazon or Corbis, as has Lise.
It was interesting to understand the challenges in categorizing objects and concepts in English, let alone across languages and cultures. Kreps peppers her presentation with illustrations and anecdotes to cement the concepts, and makes it an enjoyable experience.
By: Rahel Anne Bailie
on Mar 18 2008
at 04:35 AM GMT
5
Important topic needs sexier title, maybe?
If you've ever walked into an organization that had the right idea, but you realized they're not likely to execute because they're drowning in chaos, you'll appreciate JL Schmidt's message about becoming a knowledge-based organization all the more. I wish more people had attended the session, but I suppose it's better to have a small, engaged audience than a larger one that isn't engaged.
Schmidt drove home the need for a technology firm to walk the talk, and made a strong case for using the very tools we promote to our clients within our own organizations. We can leverage the substantial knowledge we gain on projects, and put it to use toward future work, if that knowledge is captured and becomes available for future use.
By: Rahel Anne Bailie
on Mar 18 2008
at 04:22 AM GMT
5
Bakker definitely knows his stuff
A review of the session "Changing demands on content in tourism"

I was able to stay for a portion of the presentation before being called away to solve some conference crisis, so I didn't get the whole benefit of the session. But what I did sit through was engaging - William Bakker obviously has a good handle on his audiences and the technologies that could be used to serve them. Could be used is operative here because he is quite articulate about what works, what doesn't, and ow they've figured out where the sweet spots are.

Bakker doesn't pull any punches, and was up front about showing where other organizations left room for improvement. I think this is important, because we learn from cautionary tales, not from best practices. I hope to get an opportunity to hear his entire presentation another time, to get the full benefit of what he had to say.
By: Rahel Anne Bailie
on Mar 18 2008
at 04:16 AM GMT
5
Framework Age = Content 2.0
A review of the session "The Framework Age"

This session, originally to be delivered by Liz Danzico, was picked up by Joe Gollner on two days' notice. You'd never have known. He came at the topic from the opposite direction than Liz would have, but ended up at the same end point: content needs to exist within a framework that allows the content to be leveraged for the benefit of an organization.

I tried to take notes but Joe went fast, and crammed in so many concepts that it was impossible to do anything but listen and drink in the presentation. Obviously a knowledgeable, big-picture thinker, Gollner brings a complex, potentially dry-as-toast topic to life.
By: Shauna Stawicki
on Mar 17 2008
at 09:47 PM GMT
5
Can I have more Stars?
A review of the conference overall

I wanted to know and this conference delivered! What an exceptional job by the speakers, the Sheraton, and especially Rahel, Emma, and Emma.

As someone determined to push herself into this industry, I made an excellent decision to attend CCI 2008. The sessions ranged from theoretical applications to the gritty details of DITA and XML. The information was new, and everyone was enthusiastic about the future for content convergence.

Highlights:

The keynote speakers. Each morning began with a session that set the stage for an outstanding day. The speakers enthusiastically brought us from discussions around content, to the technologies that support the content, and finally to the results of improving quality and relationships with users and within industries.

The debates. Each speaker approached the topics from a different angle, and offered something new to consider.

The diversity. You could write a book on how attendants came into the industry, and where they are now.

The food. Delicious. I went away a little smarter and a little heavier!

Thank-you to all who put together such a memorable conference. Can’t wait for next year!

-Shauna Stawicki
By: Rahel Anne Bailie
on Mar 17 2008
at 09:01 PM GMT
5
Yes, I'm biased, but even so ... !
A review of the conference overall

Organizing a conference like this took me on a journey from thinking that "this is where my clients and potential clients need to be, so let's have an event and everyone will get educated" to the stage where I've been living and breathing content convergence for six months, and now it seems like I'm behind the times instead of ahead of the curve, and then it gets so close to the conference date that instead of thinking, it becomes a panic to get all the details produced on time.

So I set myself three measures of success:
(1) the conference program told a story - first comes the content, then the technology, and then the relationships
(2) delegates should find enough interesting sessions that they would be found standing in the hallway, agonizing over which session to attend, and
(3) by the time they left the conference, their brains hurt.

Well, for the record, during the last session slot of the last day, I caught Michael Priestley, DITA king and all around brainiac, sitting in the hallway. He spontaneously blurted, and I quote, "Sorry, but I had to play hookey; my brain hurts." Whoo whoo - success!

The Sheraton Wall Centre - facilities, staff, food - was all fabulous. Even Ann Rockley, whose food allergies are legendary, was able to enjoy the excellent fare. And there was no such thing as "it's not my job" from the service staff. I was delighted.

The up side of a more intimate conference - I had wanted 200 delegates - was that there was lots of opportunity to network and participate. There were some interesting conversations going on over lunch and coffee that probably never would have happened at a 300+ person conference.

We didn't have tons of schwag, but there was a decent book give-away, and Quark had created some door prize gifts. A couple of people mentioned they liked the half-size zip pouches as being unique from the usual portfolio covers that get left behind in the hotel room.

Were there glitches? Sure, yeah. But for the most part, we managed to keep them under control, and avoided them having an impact on the experience of the delegates, speakers, and sponsors.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 07:39 AM GMT
5
Exploring the Field of Content Management
A review of the conference overall

Content Convergence and Integration 2008 was my first foray into the world of content management. And what an experience it was--one that exceeded my expectations in every way.

The speakers brought their expertise and their passion. They informed, entertained, and even inspired. They gave me insight, not only into content management, but into my own field of information technology.

My fellow attendees were a great group. This is one conference where I wished for more time to just network. There were more interesting discussions to be had and not enough time to have them.

The hotel was great, the food delicious.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 07:07 AM GMT
4
Information Overload
Joe Gollner is a great speaker and he presented lots of great information, but this session put me into information overload.

One piece that I found very interesting had to do with metadata and the design pattern known as detachable metadata. Joe said that a lot of metadata can be found in the document itself. Metadata can also be in the process surrounding the document. All the diagrams showed the metadata as detached from the content.

Given that this was a workshop, my preference would have been to cover less material and have time to work on some exercises, even if they were very simple. Wrestling with an exercise would have deepened my understanding of content engineering.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 06:19 AM GMT
3
When Websites Meet Applications
For me, this session was all about the design challenges presented by a website that has the dual objectives of being both a vehicle for marketing and a vehicle for delivering a service. The service delivery is provided by a web application.

As with any application, there is a need to understand existing business processes, to define requirements, to create a prototype, and get client feedback. Iterative processes, agile development techniques, and the web application framework Ruby On Rails were used.

The session showed that the speaker has done excellent design work, but I felt that the material needed stronger organization and a more polished presentation. There were many good slides that I barely saw.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 05:45 AM GMT
5
Participatory Session on the Participatory Web
A review of the session "Ten Web 2.0 Ways to Work Smarter"

Earlier in the week, one of the speakers called Web 2.0 the "Participatory Web". How appropriate that Salim chose to use a participatory session to define the top 10 Web 2.0 apps we use to work smarter and have more fun.

Everyone in the room was fully engaged and I know we'll be out there trying the web apps that were new to us.

Our list, from 1 -> 10 is: Feedreaders, Blogs, Skype, Google blog search/alerts, LinkedIn/Zoominfo, Video/photo sharing, Google Maps/Mapquest, Salesforce/SugarCRM, Basecamp, Wikis.

Salim documented the list as we went. I hope the list with explanations and pros and cons will be available through SlideShare.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 05:29 AM GMT
5
Culture is Something We Do
After outstanding plenary sessions on both Day 1 and Day 2, I felt the Day 3 speaker had two tough acts to follow. Michael Fergusson was equal to the task and delivered an entertaining and thought-provoking talk supplemented by the most effective visual presentation I've seen in a while.

Michael described The Web as a way of distributing culture and a way of organizing people that bypasses conventional institutions--institutions of which we are increasingly skeptical.

In a Web 2.0 world, where each of us can broadcast on our own channel, it doesn't matter who's listening or indeed if ANYONE is listening. Michael's point is that it's all about us expressing ourselves. Culture isn't something we consume, it's something we do.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 04:28 AM GMT
3
Technology Roadmap Lost the Way
I found this session of limited value though a few good points were raised.

Panel members were in agreement that a company needs to know where it wants to go first. They also agreed that a roadmap cannot be cast in stone and must be revisited regularly.

Unfortunately I didn't come away with any clear ideas on where to look for a compass.

By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 03:45 AM GMT
4
Presentation in the Hallway
Perhaps I shouldn't rate this session because I didn't attend it--I was in a competing session. I did however, get the 5-minute version of the session, afterwards, in the hallway.

I approached Darren, expressed my interest in Wikis and regrets that I couldn't be in 2 places at once, and he was kind enough to give me the 5-minute version using his laptop.

My first impression was how far Wikis have come since I first used one in 2004, when we created hyperlinks by writing words in camel caps (e.g. ThisIsALink).

I liked Darren's advice to roll out a Wiki with some categories in place, to give writers a framework to start with. I have a client who's interested in implementing a Wiki. If we do, I'll be taking Darren's advice for sure.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 03:02 AM GMT
5
Clarity and Vision
A review of the session "The Future of XML Publishing"

This was an amazing presentation. Salim presented 2 graphics on the evolution of the Internet that were so clear they left me questioning "why didn't I see that?".

I can't begin to review all the insights I took away, but here are two:

1) The pattern of Internet information exchange we're now seeing is event based (notify me whenever "x" happens) rather than data based. Rather than going out and searching the river of information, we can use RSS feeds and aggregators to bring information we're interested in to us.

Events are important because businesses run on events, not on data. A new customer, a new price, a new order... these are events that drive business. [As an aside, one of the reasons why large ERP implementatations are problematic is because they are primarily data based.] Web 2.0 gives us a lightweight event management structure.

2) The more stucture information has, the more valuable it is. But the more structure it has, the harder it is to use.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 02:16 AM GMT
4
Refreshing Honest Look at a Real World CM Implementation
This was an enjoyable tale of a medium-sized company in a highly regulated field who implemented a content management system, overcame hurdles along the way, and ultimately succeeded.

Trevor was refreshingly honest about the process he and the company went through as they discovered time and again that there was more to it. First there was the matter of an XML editor. Then there was the process to get their manuals out--a process that involved XSL and several intermediate steps.

When Trevor held up one of the bound and tabbed safety manuals, I wanted to cheer.

Aside from some technical glitches with Powerpoint, this was a fun presentation.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 01:46 AM GMT
4
Bridging Worlds Divided
Amber Swope compared the pros and cons of documents and applications. Documents are persistent, portable, contextual, and ad hoc. But they are also static and disconnected. Applications are dynamic, interactive, and authoritative. But they have little context or persistence, are not portable, and are monolithic.

Amber used a mortgage document as an example of a dynamic document. It begins as a document, turns into a transation as data is added in (names, mortgage amount, payment terms, etc), and then becomes a document again--one that must persist.

There is a need to bridge the divided worlds of documents and applications and vendors are moving in this direction with products that deliver dynamic content. Amber presented a DITA Maturity Model. To get to the dynamic document level requires collaboration with IT.

This very good presentation was marred only by vendor-specific terminology on the slides.

By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 01:27 AM GMT
5
Don't Be Fooled by This Title, DITA is Alive and Well
A review of the session "Web 2.0 and the End of DITA"

Joe Gollner said that structured markup has grown up in a world where simplicity wins, leads to massive adoption, and then to massive growth.

The complex SGML has been simplified to XML. We've seen the first wave of massive adoption in IT, where XML messaging has enabled application integration. Now we're poised to see massive adoption of XML in content management via XML-enabled architectures such as DITA.

Joe's reference to the "end" of DITA is a reference to the "realization of final purpose". He suggests that the final purpose of DITA is for it to become so much a part of the infrastructure that it becomes invisible, with the meaning remaining in view. For the author, this means that the creation of high quality content will become as natural as chatting.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 12:47 AM GMT
3
More About Making It Than Managing It
Todd O'Neill did a strong presentation on how to make rich media.

The speaker introduced us to a few of the software apps (e.g., Videocue Pro) that can enhance the already powerful media tools on the average laptop. These tools, when combined with a flare for structuring content, give the individual access to media communications formerly available only to billion $ companies.

What was lacking in the talk was as in depth a look at how to manage the content. The speaker said, "You Kant Stop It!". What I wanted to know more about was how to manage it once it's out there.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 17 2008
at 12:21 AM GMT
5
Worth the Price of Admission
A review of the session "The Framework Age"

This presentation alone made the conference worth attending.

Joe Gollner launched the conference by grounding us in the terminology of content management (CM): "content is the physical form of human communication; content persists and can be shared over time and space" before taking us through a sweeping retrospective of the field.

Joe made it clear how the evolution from the complex (SGML) to the simple (HTML/XML) has set the stage for massive adoption of XML-enabled CM tools.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 16 2008
at 11:38 PM GMT
2
Did Anyone Know What This Was About?
This was by far the weakest session of any I attended. Within minutes of getting started I had the sense that no one on the panel knew what the session was about.

I expected a session that was about "good governance of our structures" which to me is about information architecture and schemas and the many decisions that need to be made when creating and maintaining them. Did I miss the point?

To her credit, Mary Laplante did her best to focus the panel members with questions that were interesting.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 16 2008
at 09:55 PM GMT
5
Elevating the Information Guy
This was an excellent workshop delivered by a true educator.

In answer to the question "What's the point of information?", Bob stressed the role of information to influence the actions of others. He then focussed the workshop on helping those who would be seen as the 'information guy' craft a strategy statement to influence their superiors... to lead with information.

This was a true workshop. We each rolled up our sleeves and worked through an exercise, creating a goals taxonomy for our organization and then using one of the goals to write a strategy statement in the form: By delivering <information> to <audience> we will be able to <goal> because <reason>.

Bob worked with two volunteers in the room, polishing their statements and demonstrating to the rest of us how to make our own strategy statements stronger.
By: Claudia Wunder
on Mar 16 2008
at 09:17 PM GMT
5
Breathing a Sigh of Relief
This presentation was an example of a master at work. Well organized and well presented.

Ann reviewed the issues and challenges companies face in dealing with their content.

Everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief to hear that it may not be realistic to aim for one organization-wide CMS. Multiples CMS's are OK as long as three things are in place: (1) one authoritative source, (2) autosharing, and (3) federated/integrated search.

Multiple authoring tools are also OK. It's preferable to allow people to use their favourite tool, as long as it's XML enabled.

Above all, Ann says "don't forget the people".
By: Joe Gollner
on Mar 15 2008
at 05:24 PM GMT
5
A Rare Learning Opportunity
This conference brought together many different perspectives on the questions surround what Rahel Bailie recently called "the age of content".

The two perspectives that Bob Boiko brought to the cognitive party were a) a deeply thought out understanding of the content management space and b) the superlative skills of a real educator. I would probably add that we could include a third perspective, that of the passionate advocate for those of us in the "business of content" to mobilize and make a better contribution to our organizations.

The sheer volume and substance of the material Bob shared with the attendees is difficult to describe. It spawned a series of evening discussions which is one of those intangible measures of value that count for a lot.

It should be noted that this short workshop shared many of these qualities with Bob's tome "the Content Management Bible" which stands as the only credible reference resource that practitioners have at this time. Especially notable with this book is the fact that underneath the surface one can sense that the author really understands the subject. This stands in stark contrast to most business and technology books, typically written by those of a more "journalistic turn", where a closer inspection usually turns up very little.

Five stars does not do Bob justice.
By: Ms Emma Hamer
on Mar 14 2008
at 08:32 PM GMT
5
Magic: The Gathering ... CCI 2008
A review of the conference overall

As one of the organizers, I am admittedly biased, but I have to say that the conference exceeded even my high expectations. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, the venue (and the food) were spectacular, and people say they can't wait until next year ...

The schwag will be better, next time around. I promise.
By: Theresa Putkey
on Mar 14 2008
at 08:13 PM GMT
3
Slideshare location
The presentation is on Slideshare under the title "Superheroes and a Leprechaun, with Flare: A case study in breaking down silos." It's tagged with cci2008, content management, theresa putkey, flare.

Theresa
By: Trevor Paterson
on Mar 13 2008
at 07:15 PM GMT
5
50 years of convergence compressed into an hour
A review of the session "The Framework Age"

I thoroughly enjoyed Joe Gollner's session that kicked off the Content Convergence Conference. His wide experience in helping organizations communicate better was clearly apparent. His personal knowledge of many of the architects of standards that we now take for granted gave his talk an air of authority and made intimidating concepts and acronyms seem more humane.

I appreciated getting four decades of the history of content convergence squeezed into one hour. I felt like I had read a 200 page book by the end of the session. Given Joe's long history in the field, I'm curious to see whether the trends that he has identified will evolve and bear fruit as he currently foresees them...
By: Theresa Putkey
on Mar 13 2008
at 04:38 PM GMT
4
Six steps and great examples
Darren's presentation reviewed enterprise wikis: what is an enterprise wiki, how is it different than a regular wiki, why is it useful to an organization, and how should it be implemented in an organization.

He had six steps to implementation, including this such as having a "Wiki Gardener" that can make sure the formatting is applied correctly, that a page is in the correct spot, etc. Other steps included having a test group, having a promotion and a launch.

One of the best points was the number of examples Darren gave for implementing wikis. Although these wikis were implemented with ThoughtFarmer, Openroad's software, Darren didn't focus on this software but more on the business case for having an enterprise wiki (of any brand) and the practical steps to implementation (for any brand). The companies included travel, law, engineering, and some others.

When one person asked how she could she sell this in a consulting company where time is money and if someone is working on the wiki, they're not making money. Darren asked "Is that person sending email?" When the woman said yes, Darren responded that email takes just as much time as using a wiki, plus the information in the email is only being shared with a limited number of people.

But what if the information should only being shared with a limited number, such as an a law firm or accounting firm? In an enterprise wiki, security can be applied and access defined.

All in all, I thought this was an informative presentation, vastly increased my understanding of large scale, private, company wikis. Plus, it was inspiring, even for a one-woman company.
By: Ms Emma Hamer
on Mar 13 2008
at 04:30 PM GMT
4
Yes! You can - and should - serve two masters.
The session addressed the challenge of creating content that people can find. No matter how good your content, if you can't get on the first 2 pages of Google, chances are no-one will ever read it. Rick suggested a series of measures that are simple (but not easy) to implement, and clarified the whole search-engine optimization blah-blah that is most often used to convince people that they can't do it. Not without the help of techies, that is. Well, the outcome of Rick's session: Yes, everyone can do it, and be good at it. As long as you understand that you're writing for two audiences: search-bots and spiders - and humans.
By: Ms Emma Hamer
on Mar 13 2008
at 04:23 PM GMT
5
Web 2.0? Nah - Just ... Web
Huge take-away for me ... and the result of the lively interaction with the audience. Linda Francis: "It's not Web 2.0, or 3.0, or any number; it's just Web. Duh." Which triggered someone in the audience to concur: "Exactly!, It's time we realized that 'The Web' is in perpetual beta."

Wow. Why hadn't I thought of that? It just makes such a difference when you think of the web as an ever-evolving, ever-changing platform for the exchange of ideas and information.

Excellent session.

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