How to Create and Deliver Intelligent Information

iiRDS Consortium – Interview Series: “Five Questions for…” – Joe Pairman!

Where does the motivation of our iiRDS consortium members to support the new standard come from? What do they want to achieve? What do they hope for? In our interview series, you will learn about their visions for the standard for intelligent delivery of user information. Our interviewees also talk about how companies are preparing for the imminent upheaval of Industrie 4.0. Here are five questions for Joe Pairman.

Joe Pairman
Tridion Docs Product Manager of SDL

Joe Pairman has been helping organizations solve complex content management challenges for over a decade. He led the team in HTC that implemented and extended SDL Tridion Docs (then Trisoft). As a consultant, he brought the benefits of structured content and taxonomy to organizations from a wide variety of industries. Now as Senior Product Manager of SDL Tridion Docs, Joe applies his experience to push the boundaries of SDL’s product and define the next generation of intelligent content management.

1. As the iiRDS Consortium was founded for the further development of the standard, what was the motivation for you and your company to join?

One of the reasons is our commitment to the German market and to manufacturing in particular, as the standard is in some ways emerging from that. But clearly that is not all there is: the standard is to be applied globally and to go beyond manufacturing. Customers have always used our product in innovative ways – simply speaking, doing clever things with chunks of content to add business value. And content only becomes “clever” or “intelligent” if it is tagged with metadata that tells other systems what it means. iiRDS and the other standards that it’s built on let organizations do this in an interoperable way, so content is not only applicable to one content delivery platform or one scenario, but is rather tagged to use it in various scenarios. The meaning of the content is no longer locked in silos, but is machine-readable and available to everyone.

2. The roadmap contains numerous plans and ideas: what are you most hoping for from the Consortium?

As SDL is a leader in DITA component content management, we understand the importance of adhering to standards. What we most hope for is to playing nicely together and agreeing on common ways of treating content so that we can improve the field together. Building up a robust framework with the Consortium is essential.

Also, a recognition of potential complementary standards can be of great value. The general awareness of working together nicely is not only valid within the Consortium, but also in the sense that there are other standards that we can take into account in order for us to improve. For example, the W3C’s Simple Knowledge Organization System, a leading standard for taxonomy, can be a framework to supply the taxonomical values that an organization uses with its iiRDS metadata.

3. What are you looking forward to in the internal work of the Consortium?

Out of SDL’s perspective and our involvement in it, it’s quite simple: helping to shape the future of intelligent information use and reuse.

4. Which practical implementations do you see for using iiRDS in your company – now and in the future?

Our CMS, Tridion Docs, has a very sophisticated publishing of component content, and part of that is the ability to seamlessly work with source metadata and make it available for delivery. Right now, I see that we have the skills to be developing output formats that include iiRDS based on the source metadata. During publishing and because of adding intelligence at the source we can fairly easily get iiRDS compatible packages.

For the future I see this as part of the big story: we need the ability to semantically map the content so that it is available anywhere to anyone. As iiRDS is based on RDF, it uses truly global unique identifiers (URIs) to refer to things. I can talk about my content and its subject matter in a way that other systems around the world can recognize and do something useful with. This really is the revolutionary thing for me: we get out of our silos and can agree on a common understanding of the content from different sources.

5. Where do you see iiRDS three years from now?

Of course I’d like to see iiRDS very prevalent in mainstream adoption, internationally and also beyond the field of manufacturing. Efforts on adoption and helping people to understand how to use iiRDS are going to be equally important steps. You can have the nicest standard in the world, but if people don’t understand how to adopt it, it may not take off.

In this sense, I would like to advise to keep following cautionary point in mind: the further development of the standard is absolutely necessary, and with the Consortium we have the institution to do so. But standards tend to take on a life of their own. The Consortium should not feel duty-bound to add more and more advanced features which will make the standard very big and complex in the end. In my opinion, it would be very powerful already if people stick to the core and adapt it to their needs.

Thanks a lot, Joe Pairman!

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