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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. …

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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  • 1. don’t think websites: think data [ the surprising conclusions of someone who prefers content to technology ]
  • 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
  • 6. amateur geek
  • 7. (awake?)
  • 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. locked in = single purpose single purpose = waste
  • 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></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
  • 34. 5: things get more visual
  • 35.
  • 36. seattle public library:
  • 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.
  • 42. Thanks to Tony Hirst:
  • 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
  • 54. thanks to these people, too abstract empty room answer components sea destroy purists print screen bad communication pay attention ten content re-use just relax cheap visual crowd simple hidden social network traffic free birds freedom night fight