Magazine article Information Today

Dealing with Complexity

Magazine article Information Today

Dealing with Complexity

Article excerpt

The members of National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS) are no strangers to complexity. Speakers at this year's Annual Conference swapped stories about how to deal with whatever happens next.

Evan Sandhaus, director for search, archives, and semantics at The New York Times, said that for the past 8 years, he has been focused on the venerable newspaper's archive, comprising more than 15 million articles, most of which are in the form of scanned images with no text equivalents. The challenge, he said, is "how do you leverage history and heritage to bring value to your customers ... with as little friction as possible?" Past solutions have involved clip services from the newspaper's morgue, the creation of article indexes, microfilmed volumes for libraries, and online interactive services. Now there is an initiative to bring the collection to life using optical character recognition (OCR)-produced transcripts in the background and page images on top, giving users the ability to move scans around, zoom in, and read any article. "The newspaper has been wrestling with its archives for 163 years," he said. "It just keeps evolving."

Consultant John Blossom, president of Shore Communications, Inc., focused on disruptive influences, particularly the emergence of the "signal economy," which the program described as how "the arrival of trillions of Web-connected sensors in mobile phones, wearable computers, industrial sensors, all connected to vast cloud computing resources is creating . …

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