The Noisy Channel

 

Call to Action – A Follow-Up

July 18th, 2008 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

The call to action I sent out a couple of weeks ago has generated healthy interest.

One of the several people who responded is the CTO of one of Endeca’s competitors, whom I laud for understanding that the need to better articulate and communicate the technology of information access transcends competition among vendors. While we have differences on how to achieve this goal, I at least see hope from his responsiveness.

The rest were analysts representing some of the leading firms in the space. They not only expressed interest, but also contributed their own ideas on how to make this effort successful. Indeed, I met with two analysts this week to discuss next steps.

Here is where I see this going.

In order for any efforts to communicate the technology of information access to be effective, the forum has to establish credibility as a vendor-neutral and analyst-neutral forum. Ideally, that means having at least two major vendors and two major analysts on board. What we want to avoid is having only one major vendor or analyst, since that will create a reasonable perception of bias.

I’d also like to involve academics in information retrieval and library and information science. As one of the analysts suggested, we could reach out to the leading iSchools, who have expressed an open interest in engaging the broader community.

What I’d like to see come together is a forum, probably a one-day workshop, that brings together credible representatives from the vendor, analyst, and academic communities. With a critical mass of participants and enough diversity to assuage concerns of bias, we can start making good on this call to action.

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Craig Carpenter, Recommind // Jul 18, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Hi Daniel – You might be interested in the DESI Workshop conducted several weeks ago in London, as it is very similar to what you are describing (go here http://ralphlosey.wordpress.com/2008/07/06/a-tale-of-two-london-esi-forums/ for a good wrapup of the event).

    A number of IA vendors were present, including Recommind, Engenium and Autonomy, and with one glaring (but not entirely surprising) exception everyone eschewed products and competition in favor of issues, allowing us all to learn quite a bit.

    The event did have more of a focus on sensemaking for compliance, eDiscovery and e-disclosure purposes, but that was by no means the sole interest of attendees or topic of discussion. Just an FYI…

  • 2 Daniel Tunkelang // Jul 18, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Craig, thanks for the comment and the link! That sounds like a great discussion venue, and I’ll keep my eye out for its sequel.

    And even though Endeca isn’t an eDiscovery vendor per se, I’d hope that our work with FTI gives us enough credibility to get a seat at the table. I actually use eDiscovery frequently to argue the merits of exploratory search more generally, since it is a great example of a concrete business problem that cries out for better exploratory search tools.

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