The Use of Data in Election Cycles

Election Day has once again come and gone. Incumbents are ousted, bills are passed, and the political ads have finally stopped, so now the fallout begins. But regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, there’s one thing you can be sure of: lobbying groups and political campaigns have utilized Big Data to try to secure your vote and will place an increasing amount of importance on it. On a smaller level, data analysis has been happening in this realm for years, but really, it became huge during President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

During that campaign, Obama’s team assembled a huge staff of analysts to work with the terabytes of collected voter data. The results of their analytics included a number of strategies to target specific constituents and disseminate information and donation requests to them based on exactly the issues that matter most to them. For the voter, that not only reduces the noise in their emails, it personalizes the election and, as we’ve seen plenty of times through the years, people tend to vote for someone to whom they feel a personal connection.

People felt that connection to Obama in 2008 through his particular personality and brand of speaking; while none of that changed much over the following four years, 2012 saw him reach audiences through the use of data, as well.

As much as Big Data is being used by American politicians, they aren’t the leaders in it. In India’s elections earlier this year, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used their mountains of data to secure funds, advertise, and organize events directed toward, again, putting a personal face on the election. BJP leader Narendra Modi is now India’s prime minister and has reached out to the world using the same strategies. His six million Twitter followers would suggest that they work.

Then we have the BBC. We’ve already seen their innovative uses of Big Data and Linked Data for BBC Nature and the 2012 Olympics, but for the UK elections this past May, they devised a system by which they could aggregate their data and disseminate news and information in sophisticated, highly useful ways. In this case, it’s more about analysis to serve their own reporting, but the way richness with which they were able to deliver the news to their readers and viewers was nothing short of fantastic.

These are three strong examples of how Big Data, Linked Data, and semantic enrichment are changing the way election campaigns are conducted and covered for the better, but all three are top-down processes. By that, I mean that in all these cases, we are being directed to look at or think about particular subjects and issues. But in this increasingly interconnected online world, I’m not the only person who would rather direct myself, to tell myself what issues are important to me.

In their Olympics coverage, they proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Linked Data can be effectively used to make knowledge easy to access for the individual. You might recognize all the members of the gold-medal winning women’s gymnastic team; we couldn’t hear enough about them during the event. What about the Russian team that won the silver though? We don’t hear much about them, but going to the BBC website would not only tell you their names, but where they’re from, what other events they’ve competed in, and much, much more. Elections are far more important than the Olympics, so why not do the exact same thing with candidates?

We know what the ballot will look like well in advance. All that would have to happen to get this process started is to lay that out on a publicly accessible website. Each candidate would have a link attached that would take the viewer to a page for the individual. From there, we could see the voting history of candidate X, other candidates who voted alongside her, links to campaign speeches, writings, and news reports on the person, as well, most likely, as many things that I can’t think up right now.

We could do the same thing with ballot measures with little additional trouble. For these, we could look at a particular measure’s history, others like it voted on previously or in other regions, reporting on it, and all sorts of statistics.

All of this is in the service of information and knowledge, which helps us as voters make more reasoned, coherent decisions. We are being monitored constantly in service of directed advertising, whether it’s in the political spectrum or elsewhere. On a personal level, I don’t really care about that, but there’s no good reason why we couldn’t have access to candidate data in an easily digestible form. The information is out there, but it’s a lot of labor for individuals to take on by ourselves. I hope the day soon comes when I’ll be able to go to a single place and learn what I need so that I make the best possible decisions while in the voting booth.

Obviously, I’m hugely impressed with how the BBC has embraced this new philosophy about they way they deliver their content. They’ve made it easy for individuals to collect knowledge in all kinds of realms. Now, they don’t have what I’m looking for, either, but between the Olympic Data Service and Vote 2014, it’s clear they have both the mindset and capability to make it happen. When will media outlets on this side of the pond follow suit? Quickly, I hope.

Daryl Loomis
Access Innovations

The Dance of Change

November 4, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, metadata, News

Like most things in life, there are changes everywhere. Technology isn’t the exception; it is more likely the leader. As it evolves, with it come new challenges. Information architecture sees its own changing landscape with new content types, expanding/collapsing the taxonomy and modifying the metadata, as well as relationships between content types and associated business rules. How do you manage that kind of change? This interesting topic was found on KM Institute in their article, “Governing the Information Architecture – Model, Taxonomy, Metadata.”

It is important to promote the consistency of the information used across the platforms. By managing enterprise content, its metadata, and associated taxonomy, users will find the content they are looking for when and how they need it.

Proper indexing against a strong standards-based taxonomy increases the findability of data. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Webinar on Value

November 3, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, News, Taxonomy

Applying value to any portion of your work is important and often challenging. However, it is key to establishing a return on investment. For example, understanding the value that taxonomy projects bring to the organization can help you understand the costs involved and the bottom line benefit of the project.

An upcoming webinar from Earley & Associates, titled Business Value of Taxonomy, addresses this topic. The webinar is scheduled for November 12th at 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST. You can register here.

The speakers for this session are Seth Maislin and John Phillips. The topics will include theory, practice, and business benefits of taxonomy; best practices, drawn from real-world experience in a wide variety of industries; and the role of taxonomy in the context of an e-commerce environment.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.

The Value of Information Professionals

September 11, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, metadata, News

Information professionals are often the last people brought onto projects involving digital asset management teams and other project teams, where it would seem obvious to everyone that they are needed. They bring a perspective that connects everyone’s interest and investment in the final outcome. They can remove themselves from the territory problems and turf wars by asking the important and simple questions, like “What are you trying to do?” CMS Wire brought this news to our attention in their article, “Library Science, Not Library Silence.”

This article lifts up the “Top 5 DAM Benefits of an Information Professional.”

  • Taxonomy construction — Where does one start? What has worked for others? Which categorization methods lead to corners? Which are most scalable?
  • Metadata perspective — What are some best practices in use of structured metadata, including menus, controlled vocabularies, etc. When are free-form text fields better?
  • Policy authoring — What does DAM policy look like? What happens without it? How does one monitor and measure it?
  • User education — Until DAMs get to the point where they are more advanced and intuitive, some training will be involved. Good training curriculum flows as an extension of user experience design: What the UI can’t make obvious, the training covers. But who’s going to do that training or write those how-to guides?
  • Vendor advisories — Do vendors really know how controlled vocabularies should be used? Vendors listen to users, but users aren’t always experts. Don’t leave industry analysis to industry analysts. Write up some teaser reviews and send them to product managers. Show us vendors what we’re missing.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.

Partnering Only with the Best

September 10, 2014  
Posted in Autoindexing, Business strategy, News

Infolinx System Solutions is integrating Kofax Capture into their enterprise class Infolinx WEB application. This latest integration extends solution functionality by automating and accelerating business processes. The integration will available as an add-on to all Infolinx WEB editions. This interesting information came from PRWeb in their article, “Infolinx® and Kofax® Partner to Enhance Enterprise Records Management Solution.”

“We are thrilled to partner with a best-in-class provider like Kofax,” said Tim Butler, Infolinx Managing Director. “The integration of our technologies will provide our clients with yet one more tool for managing their ever growing repositories of information.”

Automated operations can reduce and even eliminate manual tasks and processes, and save money. Automated indexing is a comprehensive approach to making content findable. Access Innovations is one of a very small number of companies able to help its clients generate ANSI/ISO/W3C-compliant taxonomies with integrated indexing rule bases to make their information findable.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.

Looking at All Angles

June 6, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, News

It is important to plan your business from every perspective – employees, customers, market, etc. Information architecture is the next step to organizing information based on that analysis. Information must come together in a meaningful fashion, or there will be redundancy and waste. Information is your asset; protect it. Search Data Management brought this advice to our attention in their article, ‘Creating an information management strategy for high ROI, low TCO.”

Semantic technology provides a unique perspective to your information. Once applied to information management, this new technology can help organizations reconcile and normalize meaning across different sources of data and content. Combined with advanced analytics, data mining is accelerated to a point that could change the way organizations compete.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.

Information Architect Position Available

June 2, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, News

We are always excited to share news with our readers about career opportunities in the world of taxonomy, metadata, and semantic technology. Even if you aren’t in the market for a career move, it is good to stay on top of what is available and how the fields are changing.

One particular position is located in Edinburgh and yes, that is across the pond from where most of our readers are. This particular banking organization is looking for an information architect. They are currently expanding their information architecture team and are looking to recruit a senior information architect to provide information strategy and architecture for the domain which meets business and enterprise needs, and to deliver design blueprints/artifacts that enable that architecture to be built and operated, as well as appropriately validated roadmaps.

To learn more about this possibly life-changing position (at the very least, location changing), click here. If you are searching for a new position in your career, best of luck in your endeavors.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.

Monetizing Knowledge

The fields of information science and economics have been expanding and overlapping for some time now. With the ever-increasing recognition of the value of knowledge organization systems (KOS), especially in the context of improved technologies and practices for them, it is time to look at them from the perspective of economics. This information came from a feature in ASIS&T’s April/May 2014 Bulletin by our own Marjorie Hlava titled, “Introduction: Economics of Knowledge Organization Systems.”

Indicative of this change are entirely new ways in which individuals and information systems generate, provide access to, and link information. In line with this change is a growing need to better integrate and leverage knowledge organization systems (KOSs). How does one measure the true value of successful information organization, navigation, and retrieval?

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in taxonomies, metadata, and semantic enrichment to make your content findable.

Knowledge Organization Systems and Return on Investment (KOSs and ROI)

Let’s call him George. George was having a very bad day. He needed legal advice. So, over his lunch hour he scheduled an appointment. After George described his situation, the lawyer pulled a book from the shelf behind him. After briefly scanning it and checking precedent, he confidently told George with a smile, “Relax. This is a slam dunk.” On his way out of the office, George gazed at the consultation invoice and muttered to himself: “15 minutes! Only 15 minutes and he charged me $325.00!”

On his way back to the office, George’s car starting making some serious grinding noises whenever he turned to the right. He pulled into the local Fix-It-All Garage and described the noise to the technician. After turning over the keys, George looked through the large glass window as the mechanic pulled here and tugged there at his car up on the lift. After only a few keystrokes at his computer station, the technician began installing over the next ten minutes what looked to George like a $10.00 part. In the blink of an eye, George was standing at the counter with another invoice. He called his wife to grumble: “He pulled and tugged in two different spots and then charged me $325.00. I’m in the wrong line of work!”

Certain that his ulcer was acting up, George stopped at the clinic on his way home that day. The doctor, who agreed to fit him in right away, asked a few short questions, consulted his desk reference guide,  and started writing a prescription. Moments later, speechless George could only grimace as he faced yet another hefty bill. Poor George.

Besides a considerable amount of cash, what was George missing? Someone might say that George knew the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. Because George was able to successfully confront and overcome several perplexing and complex problems, someone else might say, “What a great quality of life George has!” It all looked so deceptively easy. However, to focus only on the “interface” is to fail to consider the years of training and experience behind each professional who knew just what questions to ask, just where to look and pull and tug, and just which resource to consult.

How does one measure the true value of successful information organization, navigation, and retrieval? Access Innovations Inc. offers superior customer service, ease of product use, and support, combined with years of experience in order to provide outstanding quality. Speak with the CEO of Access Innovations, Inc., Jay Van Eman, about the qualitative and quantitative criteria used to assess successful KOSs and the proper rationale for measuring ROI in your setting. Are you getting real value for the cost?

Check out these additional resources:

Why Knowledge Management Is Important To The Success Of Your Company

The Use of Return on Investment (ROI) in the Performance Measurement and Evaluation of Information Systems

ROI & Impact: Quantitative & Qualitative Measures for Taxonomies

Eric Ziecker, Information Consultant
Access Innovations, Inc.

Internal Strategy

March 27, 2014  
Posted in Business strategy, News, search

Organizational intranets are a major part of internal communications around the world. The responsibility for posting is housed in various locations, e.g., communications, information technology, human resources, and even the executive offices. There seems to be no standardization in technology or content management. What many do not realize is that internal communication is far more than controlling the rumor mill or sharing the latest human resources policy. It is about strategy.

Some organizations, such as The University of Pretoria, have undertaken an information strategy approach to managing content within the organization. This interesting topic was covered in Web Project Management’s article, “Corporate intranets – an information strategy approach: a case study at the University of Pretoria.”

The main objectives of the information strategy are to make information more accessible to all staff and students, provide security for sensitive information, and reduce the cost (both in dollars and staff hours) of managing the information, as well as to improve the quality.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.

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