Don't Think Websites, think data

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The notion of allowing access to your website content and data via API's and other machine readable means is well embedded in geek circles.

This presentation aims to look at the non-technical reasons why these approaches are a good idea, arguing that it is time for Machine Readable Data (MRD) approaches to be better communicated to content owners, budget holders and other non-technical stakeholders.

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Don't Think Websites, think data

  1. don’t think websites: think data [ the surprising conclusions of someone who prefers content to technology ] www.slideshare.net/dmje
  2. actually, the real title is this: > ten reasons why you should pay attention to the geeks because actually they have something quite important to say which us non-geeky people should be listening to
  3. (you wouldn’t have come along if I’d said that before)
  4. first, the geek snigger test
  5. hardcore geek http://xkcd.com/327/
  6. amateur geek http://www.neologies.net/2007/03/html-tattoo.html
  7. (awake?) http://boingboing.net/2006/11/02/hilarious-piechartvi.html
  8. what will you come away from this talk with?
  9. I want to: 1. Convince you that good content is content that has been set free 2. Demonstrate 10 reasons why machine-readableness is a good thing 3. Give you 5 ideas about how do “do it” 4. Not be technical* * depending on the outcome of the geek snigger test
  10. ...simple, really.
  11. consider the value of locked-in content
  12. http://www.ucas.com/instit/i/h60.html locked in = single purpose single purpose = waste http://www.jisc.ac.uk/events.aspx http://unicorn.lib.ic.ac.uk/uhtbin/opac/webcentral http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/single.htm?ipg=8727
  13. why are we here? “..[to decide] the next steps that need to be taken to ensure the sustained integration of digitised content into research and education ”
  14. Catherine Grout, jdcc09: “content needs to be made available quickly, easily, and in a way that suits individual needs”
  15. and the answer is...?
  16. microformats API RDF OpenSearch RSS actually, it’s these: machine-readability RDFa REST JSON iCal
  17. (i.e. stuff that a computer can get at when it comes to your site)
  18. “machine readable” is a bit of a mouthful, so how about.. MRD: “machine readable data”
  19. purists might argue with this but we're going to ignore them
  20. browsers (therefore people) read html <tr> <td colspan="2"> <div class="mxb"> <h1>John Simpson: Secret voices of the new Iran</h1> <p>John Simpson reporting from Tehran before his visa ran out on Sunday... </div> </td> </tr>
  21. non-browsers read non-html <rss version="2.0"> <channel> <title> John Simpson: Secret voices of the new Iran </title> <link>http://bbc.co.uk/.../</link> <description> John Simpson reporting from Tehran before his visa ran out on Sunday...
  22. microformats API RDF OpenSearch RSS these things are the non-html bit RDFa REST JSON iCal
  23. geeks are signed up to MRD
  24. the importance of this isn’t immediately clear and certainly hasn’t been well communicated
  25. now is the time to convince the non-geeks that they should invest* in these approaches * attention, not necessarily money
  26. ten reasons to stop thinking websites ...and start thinking data
  27. 1: content is still king, and always will be
  28. MRD is a content concern, not a technical one
  29. 2: re-use is not just good, it's essential
  30. 3: life is easier when you (everyone) can get at your data "wouldn't it be great if..."
  31. archive? ...? run a report? make it pretty? re-purpose? make it more searchable? have a mobile version? run a kiosk? build a widget?
  32. 4: content development is cheaper
  33. launchball www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchball
  34. 5: things get more visual
  35. http://visibletweets.com/
  36. seattle public library: http://bit.ly/Bmc8N
  37. 6: taking content to users, not users to content
  38. your content on other sites
  39. 7: it doesn’t have to be very hard
  40. 8: you can't hide your content
  41. http://developer.yahoo.com/yql http://hoard.it
  42. Thanks to Tony Hirst: http://bit.ly/8zwEn
  43. 9: we really is bigger and better than me
  44. positive externality “ next up are the Network Effects. here’s a classic example: the more people who own telephones, the more useful they become. There is a *positive externality* - a user doesn’t intend for their phone to create value for others, but it does ” 46
  45. 10: traffic
  46. but how? 48
  47. if you love it, set it free (you lost control anyway)
  48. don’t ever stop thinking users
  49. microformats API RDF OpenSearch RSS start small RDFa REST JSON iCal
  50. always think: “what if...?” 52
  51. never, ever procure technology again without asking: “where is the [API]?”...
  52. the takeaway thought At some point in the future, you’ll want to do “something else” with your content. Right now, you have no idea whatsoever what that thing is. These techniques allow you to make a worthwhile investment in a future no-one can know.
  53. thanks for listening mike.ellis@eduserv.org.uk twitter.com/m1ke_ellis electronicmuseum.org.uk www.slideshare.net/dmje
  54. thanks to these people, too abstract http://www.flickr.com/photos/toxi/292509986/ empty room http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkmoose/2355080489/ answer http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrs_logic/3320303076/ components http://www.flickr.com/photos/storm-crypt/2078500698/ sea http://www.flickr.com/photos/ezioman/410307927/ destroy purists http://www.flickr.com/photos/apeology/2335392254/ print screen http://www.flickr.com/photos/p1r/1351558354/ bad communication http://www.flickr.com/photos/shelleygibb/3372412222/ pay attention http://www.flickr.com/photos/subliminal/511527000/ ten http://www.flickr.com/photos/spilt-milk/164145237/ content http://www.flickr.com/photos/p373/2537069802/ re-use http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcusq/3032678489/ just relax http://www.flickr.com/photos/victornuno/205239817/ cheap http://www.flickr.com/photos/project-404/142767581/ visual http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielaguilar/2967187605/ crowd http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalieye/3265551769/ simple http://www.flickr.com/photos/martynf65/3494532917/ hidden http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiggywinkle/54801422/ social network http://www.flickr.com/photos/gustavog/4557105/ traffic http://www.flickr.com/photos/djwudi/268382948/ free birds http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankloohuis/468320896/ freedom http://www.flickr.com/photos/josefgrunig/1732787905/ night fight http://www.flickr.com/photos/strocchi/295280599/

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