DocTrain West 2008 – Joe Gollner, XML in the Wilderness

Here are my notes from the morning keynote with Joe Gollner.

This session was a wonderful kickoff for the conference. For the first time, someone was able to connect for me that XML enabled Web 2.0 connectivity. The social web is a direct result of XML allowing for easy combinations and the participatory web. He had many nice diagrams throughout history proving his point, and I really appreciated him making that connection.

He began with a description of Saint Jerome, calling him the patron saint of content management, er, librarians. Saint Jerome was a monk librarian.

A funny game that Joe played with an XML group was, “Who came to XML from the most unusual background?” This game came after Joe showed a picture of his car with an XML license plate, humorously proving he had “arrived” in XML. The third place winner was probably Joe, who has been part of the Canadian artillery. The second place winner was a former prison guard, and the first place prize was a former surfer pottery maker.

During this session, I was reminded of the Washington Post article that John Hunt pointed out at the March DITA User Group meeting, Re-Created Library Speaks Volumes about Jefferson. Jefferson did mashups of books by tearing them apart, even different language books, and then would bind them into new books – reassembly of content 200 years ahead of his time. In 1815, in order to protect his collection after a fire, Jefferson sold his library to Congress for $24,000, the price that Congress felt was reasonable. It became the Library of Congress, a U.S. establishment that as one library says in the article, “These are the books that made America.”Jefferson had created his own taxonomy, using the terms memory, reason, or imagination. Wow, are there parallels to reference, concept, and task? Well… task may be from a stretch of the imagination for some products but hopefully they are ground in fact.

A great start to an excellent conference.

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