C H A P T E R 1
Of course, she can do all this today, but there is no standardized and simple
way to link all the pieces together. How do you determine which e-mail talk to
trust about which stylist? There is no way to way to link annotations to objects
to get the opinions of others attached to the Web site.
Charles Rowland is lost in a foreign city. It s his first visit to the fascinating city
of Yokohama, but he must have gotten turned around on his way from the
gigantic Ferris wheel in the harbor to Izeyake Mall. In Japan, houses are num-
bered in the order that they are built, and there are no street names. Not much
help. Looking at the signs on the street, he still cannot figure out where he is,
because he cannot read a word of Japanese.
Luckily, he brought his PDA with a GSM receiver. Not only does it have a map
with a big red dot in the middle showing where he is when he switches it on; he
can also type in the name of the hotel, and the PDA shows him which direction
it is. As he walks toward the hotel, the PDA continuously searches for sites on
the Internet, compares their positional relevance with his position, and about
lunchtime points him to a very nice little restaurant.
If there had not been any such descriptions, he would have been lost. And of
course, he doesn t know that the map is generated from a description of the
city and presented to him as a vector graphic, which makes it easy to zoom in,
double-click on a famous place, and get a video clip.
Corporate Knowledge Representation
You have probably wondered who in your company is the great expert on a cer-
tain subject, or where on the intranet the configuration files for the video pro-
jector are. An intranet suffers from the same problems as the Internet: It is hard
to find information, and when you do, you do not know what is relevant. Since
business success is about getting an information advantage, finding informa-
tion fast is critical to getting ahead of your competitors. And not just finding
information, but finding the right information. Selecting the most relevant
pieces in the enormous cloud of information that enters your company every
day is critical to keeping it competitive.
On the other hand, in a company, this is easier to fix. There are no standard for-
mats for data on the Internet, but you can easily enforce them inside your fire-
wall. Or, as is likely to be more popular, you can enforce a specific metadata
structure for certain types of information. This will enable your company to
make sense of its own information faster, and relate it to external information
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