Magazine article Information Today

All Things 2.0: The Fall 2008 ASIDIC Meeting

Magazine article Information Today

All Things 2.0: The Fall 2008 ASIDIC Meeting

Article excerpt

Tim O'Reilly actually coined the term "Web 2.0" several years ago as he described the new collaboration of social media technologies emerging at that time.

Since then, these systems have developed rapidly while impacting life for internet users in many areas. And the impact of the Web 2.0 systems on the information industry was the focus of the Fall 2008 ASIDIC meeting Sept. 14-16 in Salem, Mass. The meeting, following the theme of Business 2.0: From Theory to Practice, examined the effects of Web 2.0 in the information technology market while celebrating ASIDIC's 40th anniversary.

The two keynotes served as bookends to the conference. The opening keynote by Martin Wattenberg, manager of IBM's Visual Communication Laboratory, provided a view of an innovative information visualization technology called Many Eyes; the endnote by Terry Hulbert, director of business development at the American Institute of Physics (AIP), posed the question, "Why is Everyone Experimenting with Web 2.0?" In between, presentations and panels discussed business models, technology, services, and content, all from a 2.0 perspective.

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Exploring Visualization

Information visualization, which once required access to large mainframes, has now spread into many yet-untapped areas. Instead of scaling data, the audience can now be scaled. And new ways of representing data sets are now possible with tag clouds, word trees, and bubble charts to represent text and scatter plots or histograms as well as traditional graphs to represent numeric data. Wattenberg says it is no longer enough to provide users with just access to the data; their experience can be enhanced with advanced tools to see it visually. So tag clouds have been used to analyze bodies of text as diverse as political speeches or works of Shakespeare. Further examples of visualizations are available at www.many-eyes.com. You can even create your own visualizations using IBM's Many Eyes platform.

Business Models

Since Web 2.0 services have changed many business models, publishers need to experiment and become more flexible as new technologies appear. For many, experimentation provides a way to find the proper mix of content to satisfy their users and increase revenues.

According to Kent Anderson, executive director of international business for The New England Journal of Medicine, the market is approaching a saturation point. Content is everywhere, multimedia has gone mainstream, and publishers can no longer charge for access to their content. Consequently, profits will be slimmer, and publishers will become more like software companies that offer product variations for different markets with different ways of presenting content.

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So how can these changes that affect business models be managed? Kathy Greenler Sexton, chief marketing officer at Business & Legal Reports, Inc., noted that many people naturally resist change since many find it so difficult to adjust. She offered the following 10 suggestions for change agents:

* Assess the people, goals, resources, and politics of the organization.

* Make sure your visions are clear to your leadership.

* Know your goals.

* Leverage consultants to provide expertise you do not have.

* Leverage partnerships to add resources.

* Think evolutionary, but keep it simple.

* Be a coach to your team.

* "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," a quote from Chinese general Sun Tsu (circa-400 B. …

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