Sunday, January 10, 2010


Shalini Urs is an Information Scientist having interest in all matters of the mind – from creativity to cognitive to cultural. Taking a 360 degree view of information, she has researched on issues ranging from the theoretical foundations of information science to technological aspects of digital libraries. Her areas of research include – relevance and Information Retrieval, Metadata, ontology and Social Network Analysis.

Shalini was a Fulbright scholar and visiting professor at Virginia Tech, USA during 2000-1 at Virginia Tech. Her major accomplishments include – the Vidyanidhi Digital Library project (, an internationally known Indian digital library. She put India on the global digital library map by bringing the well known international digital library conference series ‘International Conference on Asian Digital Libraries (ICADL)’ to India in December 2001.

Having conceptualized the International School of Information Management, Shalini founded ISiM at the University of Mysore with seed funding from Ford Foundation and Informatics India in collaboration with leading Information Schools in the US ( She is currently the Chair of the Asian Digital Library Steering Committee and Vice Chair of Consortium of I-Schools of Asia-Pacific (CiSAP).

Monday, January 4, 2010


I have been in this industry for 20 years now and cannot remember anything coming close to the current anticipation and hype surrounding next year’s release of Microsoft SharePoint 2010. It’s all the more surprising when you consider that this is simply an upgrade to an already successful product. We will have to wait and see whether the substance matches the buildup and whether the expectation will be fulfilled when the product hits the real world. In the meantime, it’s worth looking at SharePoint 2010, what it promises and why so much buzz is being generated.
Depending on how you measure these things, that hot “new” product called Microsoft SharePoint is soon to celebrate its eighth or 10th birthday. Yes, indeed, SharePoint has been around a while now in different guises. Starting off life as Site Server and being positioned at different times as a portal server and then as an enterprise content management (ECM) system, SharePoint has been a chameleon-like winner for Microsoft.
As of 2009, SharePoint delivered around $1.3 billion a year in license revenue with about 100 million licenses shipped. A winner by anyone’s standard, yet despite all that, SharePoint is loved and hated in equal amounts. There are those who will hear not a word of criticism against the product, and others who think it is junk-wrapped in a tissue of marketing half-truths. Probably no other product in the history of content-related software has evoked such strong emotions, and even though SharePoint is now well into its software middle age, it continues to both excite and ruffle feathers alike.
At some point next year, we will see the release of the latest incarnation of SharePoint, the catchy and imaginatively named SharePoint 2010. By some measures, it will be the biggest and most comprehensive step up in sophistication and functionality in the product’s history; by other measures, it is little more than a substantial point release. In fact, it’s difficult to gauge just how important the new release will really be, because there’s so much hoopla going on in the SharePoint community that separating facts and reality from the excitement and hopes of the Microsoft channel partners is a tough challenge.
What we know for sure about SharePoint 2010 is that there will be a new and very snazzy Ajax-based user interface (UI), along with a new rich text editor. A new shared service architecture will be introduced, records and document management have undergone something of a makeover and some key licensing issues have been resolved. Many key niggles have been addressed, the system is more scalable and a great deal of functionality has been improved. But whether that will be enough for the buyers of 100 million seats to upgrade remains to be seen.
What we know about SharePoint to date is that simplicity and ease of use have been key to its success. Users, in particular, love SharePoint because simple and highly effective team-focused portals can be built and documents securely shared in a collaborative environment, without the need for IT skills. In other words, something that would have taken many months of development work (and a lot of money) just a few years ago can be developed by anyone in the company in 30 minutes.
There in is the challenge for Microsoft ... how to move all those people who are perfectly happy today to a new platform. What is in it for them to move from a situation in which they are content? It won’t be the first time Microsoft has faced that kind of challenge (think MS 2000 and Vista). Only time (not industry analysts and pundits) will tell how that plays out.
At CMS Watch, many, if not most, of our advisory customers use SharePoint in some way, and so by default, a good percentage of our work revolves around the general question, “Should I use SharePoint for this or that?” And now the question is being asked, “Should I move to SharePoint 2010?” Though every case differs, in general my advice is to wait.
SharePoint 2010 is in beta release at the moment and will be launched fully in mid-2010; until then, you should not be thinking of a move. That is the same advice we would give to any buyer considering moving up to any major release of an enterprise software product.
Many firms have a sensible policy of remaining one major release behind the current version, and frankly that’s a policy that makes a great deal of sense. In the case of SharePoint (just as with any SharePoint competitor), you are dealing with a large, broad and highly complex software platform ... one that will take time before all the bugs, issues and best practices are uncovered and ironed out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Business Use Case Study: Migrating from Google Search Appliance to Apache Solr/Lucene Open Source Search with The Motley Fool

The Motley Fool's award-winning website,, publishes hundreds of articles each week, with over four million unique visitors and 11 million sessions per month. They chose to replace their Google Search Appliance with Solr -- and hired Lucid Imagination to ensure successful implementation. “Lucene and Solr can definitely do what any commercial or proprietary search tool can do - certainly as well, or better, “ says Chad Wolfsheimer, VP of Technical Operations,

  • Increased search relevancy and click-through-rate (CTR) by 40% compared to legacy search appliance; 48% reduction in web site exit rate (bounce)
  • Big reduction in license subscription costs, and lower cost of ownership as content data grows
  • Rapid migration from the Google Search Appliance; from working search platform within two weeks, to full production within 90 days

Search is critical to help users find the information they need to make investment decisions. And search results quality is vital to bringing visitors back: if they find what they need, they’ll continue to return to – for additional subscription services and paid content. The Motley Fool chose to replace their existing implementation, based on the Google Search Appliance, with Solr -- and hired Lucid Imagination to ensure successful implementation of's mission-critical search capability.

Key Search Improvements with Solr:

  • Increased search relevancy and click-through-rate (CTR) by 40% compared to legacy search appliance
  • 48% reduction in web site exit rate (bounce)
  • Big reduction in license subscription costs, and lower cost of ownership as content data grows
  • Rapid implementation; working search platform within two weeks, full production within 90 days
  • Enhanced user search productivity by adding features such as sorting on both date and relevance, spelling correction, and “Did you mean…”


Content is core to the Motley Fool business. At, free content is provided to users that may not know much about the Motley Fool. This provides an introduction to Motley Fool as a brand, its investing style and ideas, and options for more paid services. The content composed of roughly 75% board posts, and 25% other content items including news, blogs, reports, and videos.

“We had something basic but useable running very, very quickly. So, that was a testament to our developers, to Lucid and to Solr, itself. We were very, very happy with that. “
- Chad Wolfsheimer, VP of Technical Operations,


Knowledge management (KM) comprises a range of practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organisational processes or practice.

An established discipline since 1991 (see Nonaka 1991), KM includes courses taught in the fields of business administration, information systems, management, and library and information sciences (Alavi & Leidner 1999). More recently, other fields have started contributing to KM research; these include information and media, computer science, public health, and public policy.

Many large companies and non-profit organisations have resources dedicated to internal KM efforts, often as a part of their 'business strategy', 'information technology', or 'human resource management' departments (Addicott, McGivern & Ferlie 2006). Several consulting companies also exist that provide strategy and advice regarding KM to these organisations.

KM efforts typically focus on organisational objectives such as improved performance, competitive advantage, innovation, the sharing of lessons learned, and continuous improvement of the organisation. KM efforts overlap with organisational learning, and may be distinguished from that by a greater focus on the management of knowledge as a strategic asset and a focus on encouraging the sharing of knowledge. KM efforts can help individuals and groups to share valuable organisational insights, to reduce redundant work, to avoid reinventing the wheel per se, to reduce training time for new employees, to retain intellectual capital as employees turnover in an organisation, and to adapt to changing environments and markets (McAdam & McCreedy 2000) (Thompson & Walsham 2004).


HELLO .....