October 10, 2013, 5:45 a.m. I am heading towards Munich central station in order to catch a train to Frankfurt. The trip will take me around three and a half hours. Today I am visiting the Frankfurt Book Fair and as usual the train is packed with people – mainly people from publishing houses reading newspapers, books, some of them have kindles and others try to sleep a bit. What will this day have in store for me?
What is the difference between heaven and hell? There are quite a few allegories out there, including the Lithuanian “Allegory of the long spoons”, which claim that the only difference is within the attitude of the people involved. In hell, there are people who are selfish and very limited in their way of thinking; and in heaven, there are cooperative people, who care about others and can therefore create a win-win situation for all – which takes me directly to the licensing dilemma we are currently facing in the Semantic Web community. Read further >
At first glance, research about education and commercial publishing for professionals might not appear to be industries with much in common, but there is plenty of overlap when it comes to basic research about how people learn. Although we usually use the term “learning” when describing students, it equally applies to a professional attempting to understand how a tax law or regulation functions to be able to assist a client. Professionals, unlike students, often need to apply what they have learned to a specific situation, but efficient and effective learning is important to the success of both groups. Read further >
… and jogging is significantly reducing intelligence …and information really helps our customers.
I just went through a speech, which Neil Postman held back in 1990, where he cited people from even 50 more years back in time. And I find it hard to refute his central claims, including: “Information is not part of the solution, but instead creates new sorts of problems”.
2013 is a critical year for Wolters Kluwer – critical in a positive sense; there will be many decision points all over the place where we as an organization can prove that we are ready for the next step. Decision points starting from economic implications from the financial crisis, the implementation of the new strategy life cycle announced by our CEO, via changes in the competitive landscape to finally substantial efforts in our local markets (e.g. Jurion or LOD2).
This year will not be a smooth year, but it will be a successful year when we will become a truly social Media company. As you can see, the “social” is not written in capital letters! I am not referring to a “Social Media” company, but to a social “Media company”. In order to be able to master the challenges ahead of us, we need to be even more proactive in socializing, networking, bundling our assets on a European, but also on a global level.
In his latest post, Tom Callaghan was looking back to the impressive progress the company made around UX design in 2012. Another good habit at the end of the year is to look forward and make some statements about the future – just in case 21st December 2012 will not be the end of the world!
The use of quantitative prediction continues to shake up numerous professional services industries by automating or semi-automating tasks previously performed by experts. Professor Daniel Katz (Michigan State University) has offered up an analysis of how quantitative prediction is already changing the legal services industry (Quantitative Legal Prediction – or – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Preparing for the Data Driven Future of the Legal Services Industry, 62 Emory Law Journal ___ (2013) (working draft)). Although Katz’s analysis focuses on legal services, the trends discussed can be applied to other professional service industries, including tax planning and accounting services. Quantitative prediction promises to automate or semi-automate many core questions asked by professionals and their clients: Do I have a case? What is our likely exposure? How much is this going to cost? Are these documents relevant? What will happen if we leave this particular provision out of this contract? How can we best staff this particular legal matter? Read further >
Companies continue to be excited about the possibilities of big data, including how data on their customers might reveal new patterns and insights. Although a lot of attention has focused on the benefits of big data, less attention has been paid to the new ethical complications big data presents. An upcoming book, Ethics of Big Data: Balancing Risk and Innovation (O’Reilly), will attempt to address these ethical issues. Howard Wen at O’Reilly Radar does a good job of highlighting some of the most prominent ethical issues which the book is expected to cover. The primary ethical issues involve the privacy expectations of those from whom the data is collected. Read further >
In a previous post I spoke about the enhancements Wolters Kluwer Italy integrated into BigSuite, a fiscal premium product, following the principles of the continuous improvement. One of the new functionality which is offered are the so-called ‘suggested searches’. Read further >
Last week, more than 300 experts and executives from German publishing houses met in Berlin near the famous Brandenburg Gate in order to talk about the current situation and the challenges within the publishing industry in Germany.
The conference widened the scope this year and invited quite a number of speakers from the US, Canada and the UK, which was very fruitful for the discussions going on.
I think that three different areas were in the center of the presentations and workshops:
- The general transformation process of publishing houses with regard to the rapidly changing user behavior and the user expectations (“Digital natives”)
- The transformation process from a (print) product centric view to a content centric view and the accompanying challenges around metadata and content enrichment, context and discoverability of content
- The rapid growth of mobile applications, mainly in the area of tablet PCs, but also around smartphones