Books to Help Engineers Communicate in a Business Context

If you’re a student beginning work within a professional environment you’ll find that there are expectations people have around communications, which are particular to the workplace. A lot of books for engineers cover how to communicate professionally within a business context. These books tend to be oriented toward helping the reader learn skills for improving the way they communicate their own specialized knowledge not just to their peers but perhaps more importantly, to people that do not have the same level of specialized engineering knowledge. Continue reading “Books to Help Engineers Communicate in a Business Context”

Document Your Search Strategy with this Template

While assisting students with their research, I often use a template I made to keep track of key concepts, synonyms, and to organize search strategies. Since it’s a good practice to record search strategies, I thought I’d make it easy for other people to get the template. It includes space to document the databases, journals, or other resources that you use as well as queries, dates, etc.

Download the spreadsheet template from the following links. Copy, modify, and re-use it as you need.

Open document format (.ods)
Search strategy template & simplified version

Microsoft Excel format (.xlsx)
Search strategy templatesimplified version Continue reading “Document Your Search Strategy with this Template”

Adapting Standards for Climate Change

Since I was just reading up on the new Canadian standard for zero carbon buildings, this other and related issue caught my eye. The European standards organizations have been working on adapting standards for the changes we’re experiencing and will be expected to experience with the climate.

They’re focusing on three sectors: transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, and buildings and construction. Of course, obvious or not, climate change impacts all sorts of things, from temperatures that devices are designed to operate within, to electricity grid reliability, to withstanding extreme weather conditions, and much more.

To find out more about the CEN-CENELEC’s standards work, visit their climate change adaptation Web site. They have a number of free documents to download. Such guidance on adapting standards for climate change may prove worthwhile to have in mind while working with a range of other existing standards.

New, Canadian Zero Carbon Building Standard

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently released a new, Zero Carbon Building Standard. They explained that the standard aims “…to make carbon emissions the key indicator for building performance.” It applies to both new construction and existing buildings through certifications for design (new), performance (existing), or both. You can download the full document (PDF) free here.

The standard’s main components cover greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and associated strategies,  preparing for the future/renewable energy, and carbon from the lifecycle of the building materials.

This new standard contributes toward a goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from commercial, institutional, or multi-family buildings. The standard’s summary explains the CaGBC’s concern with current buildings’ performance because they expect a large percentage of these (over 80%) to continue being used in 2030. Additionally, the future lifespan of new buildings puts pressure to design for zero carbon emissions from the outset. This includes establishing techniques for offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from the building’s energy consumption.

Much more information about the standard and the CaGBC’s Zero Building Program is available from the Zero Carbon Building Initiative web site.

Digital Curation Issues Involving Open Government Data

Open data is a well-defined concept but in the public sector, there is some difficult work ahead for its digital curation.

Although the support and production of open data from governments around the world varies (with many not yet supporting it at all) there are clear movements to encourage and grow open government data initiatives. Within the realm of governments that do support and produce datasets open to the public, benefits that would otherwise accompany the availability of this open data are sometimes hampered due to incomplete adoption of best practices.

I’d like review some of the tenets of open government data, then I’ll discuss some of the digital curation issues that are important to deal with for the success of open government data initiatives.

Note: this article is cross-posted on my other blog.

Continue reading “Digital Curation Issues Involving Open Government Data”

Newsblur as an Intelligent Agent Used for CI

Newsblur (www.newsblur.com) is a Web-based RSS feed reading service. This is a review of how I found the service useful while working on some competitive intelligence (CI). It’s convenient and conducive for tracking issues, trends, commentary, and news.

Newsblur has a set of features that I find make it worth paying for an annual subscription (it also offers a no-cost option). I’ve long used RSS readers, initially preferring desktop readers like Akregator or RSSOwl. The quantity of feeds that I follow is so large now that it can take desktop readers a long time to update, whereas Web services can use their resources more efficiently to deliver the feed content. I currently use Newsblur to follow about 1300 feeds but I’ll just cover a few examples in the context of how it might be used in CI work. Continue reading “Newsblur as an Intelligent Agent Used for CI”

Alfresco ECM in 2013

I had a chance to hear from Alfresco earlier this year about its direction and some new product features. Alfresco has grown to be a go-to, lower-cost, open source solution excelling in large-scale intranet implementations, corporate file sharing services, and document collaboration.

Alfresco currently has 33,000 customers whose ECM activities are enabled through on-premise, public or private cloud, or hybrid deployments. This is a particularly convenient situation for Alfresco considering there is a good deal of interest in hybrid environments from organizations seeking ECM systems.

You can download my report from this link (it’s free but it does require registration).

Demand Trends of ECM and WCM Buyers

After aggregating the high-level needs of thousands of people telling Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) their requirements for enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM) systems, I’ve put together two reports showing the trends. You can read more about these high-level requirements in TEC’s latest, free ECM market survey report and WCM market survey report.

We found that security is one of the most frequently sought requirements, across the board. Unsurprisingly, many characteristics necessary for managing business processes are high-priorities as were search and indexing in the WCM space.

We also found that while it’s a growing portion of the market, organizations seeking an ECM system that is not on-premise, remain a minority (about 30% of the demand). In the WCM space personalization features were deemed rather important by buyers. I’m guessing that both of these requirements will be even higher in the coming year since both cloud offerings (and hype) have increased and the ideas for experience management are also getting more recognition.

Note that each of these reports are based on a complete year of data from 2011. In 2013, I’ll publish an update using the complete 2012 year data.

Laserfiche ECM and Its Latest Release

I spoke with Laserfiche about the new version 9 of its Rio enterprise content management (ECM) system. In the latest release the company is really pushing on the business process management functionality. They’re positioning the system more for managing processes without necessarily seeing them as document-centric. You can download the report from the Technology Evaluation Centers site (free).

It covers a lot of the other functionality provided in the Laserfiche products too–things like they handle document acquisition, redaction, workflows, and more.

A Brief on EMC Documentum in 2012

I’ve published a new report on the EMC Documentum family of content management products and services. Go here to download it (free from the TEC site).

EMC’s path for Documentum has taken it in some promising directions. While this report doesn’t cover everything, it does explain a few of the key areas that EMC has been working on and plans to roll out in 2012. In particular, the report looks at what EMC is doing with mobile devices, governance, and case management.

If you’re in the process of evaluating enterprise content management systems and you’re interested in how Documentum stacks up for your needs, the report includes a (free trial) link to evaluate Documentum in TEC’s online decision support and analysis system.