The morning sessions, delivered to a packed house at the Cira Center’s Hub Marketing and Event Center (on the mezzanine just up the escalator from the fantastic Jose Garces restaurant J.G. Domestic) have included a case study from Elsevier Health Science on “Managing Book and Journal Content with RSuite CMS to achieve an E-First Workflow”; a presentation from RSI’s metadata guru Lisa Bos titled “Search as the Center of the Customer Experience: How Metadata Management is the Key Component of Findability”; and a panel featuring SPi Global’s VP Solutions Architect John Prabhu, Merion Matters’ CIO Khader Mohammed and the American Institute of Physics’ CIO, Publishing, Evan Owens.
There’s plenty of great information here today. Here are a few takeaways:
In Lisa Bos’ talk on metadata, she used the example of Oxford University Press, whose Oxford Index provides customers tools to drill deep for the content they’re seeking. She noted that OUP captures “twenties of items of metadata for each product,” clarifying that by product she didn’t mean books, but chapters of books. The richer your metadata, the more opportunities there are for your customers to find your products.
To that end, Bos suggested that a CMS should enable a publisher's staff to search for content in the same ways that customers might, noting that lots of publishers' employees use their own websites — and not their CMS — to find their content. Empowering your employees with a CMS that they can search the way a customer would will help them think like a customer when enriching metadata.
On the issue of what publishers’ products are called in the digital age, Evan Owens of the American Institute of Physics said: “We’re an ‘article’ publisher; ‘issues’ are an artifact of the past. It’s article first.”
Discussing the benefits of implementing a strategic CMS, AIP’s Owens noted that implementing RSuite was “an opportunity to step back, clear the deck and think about what we want to achieve.” He noted that early adopters — AIP was online early — can get in a rut, and that like lots of early Internet adopters, “everything was in a file system and there wasn’t an infrastructure to manage things.” As with publishers using file systems, there was “no version control; anyone in the building could change a file at any time, and I couldn’t do anything about it.” Implementing a CMS allowed AIP to protect its most valuable asset.
Bos offered some practical advice, and practical inspiration, for publishers in the process of enhancing metadata processes. She noted that among the institutional obstacles, such as organizational and technical silos, another obstacle is the idea of perfection, that you have to get it all right, right away. “Pick something small to start,” she said. “Know that you don’t have to be perfect right away.”