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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Ann Rockley
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Content Management: Ready, Set, Go!

We've heard the buzz about content management for some time now. And some of us have ventured into the content management waters, only to emerge more aware of the problem than the solution. Organizations, especially smaller organizations, are looking at content management and looking away. Few have the funds - or the staff - to sponsor content management and realize the results in a reasonable period of time.
Managing Enterprise Content addresses content management in six sections. Each section builds upon the previous section as it presents the rationale for content management in what the authors term a "unified content strategy." Rather than presenting the tools and technology commonly used for content management, the authors save those for a later section of the book. Instead, they begin in the first section by explaining "the basis of a unified content strategy," then move to "determining business requirements" through a substantive content audit, followed by a section on design that addresses the fundamentals of information modeling and design of metadata, dynamic content, and workflow. With these concepts established, we are then offered a broad overview of the related tools and technologies, which include XML and the various systems for authoring, content management, workflow, and content delivery. In the final substantive section of the book, the authors recommend process changes necessary for a unified content strategy. A healthy resources section that includes, in addition to a glossary, index, and stout bibliography, other useful tools to aid the implementation of a unified content strategy follows this section.
Part I, "The basis of a unified content strategy," offers a good review of the concepts surrounding this topic and presents a clear statement of the problem. In addition to presenting the standard phases of single sourcing in technical publications groups, the authors explain how other industries reuse content as well. The detailed analysis of the types of content reuse includes examples that I found helpful in gauging the status of my own organization's problem. The chapter covering return on investment (ROI) is a substantial contribution to the field. We now have solid figures we can attach to labor dollars to estimate what our organizations can expect to realize as a result of content management.
When you reach Part II, "Performing a substantive audit: Determining business requirements," you'll agree that Part I was just a warm-up. Chapter 4 is where the authors really touch our points of pain. The dangers, opportunities, and strengths covered here give us a niche to begin dialogue with executive sponsors. These authors arm us with specifics we can use to make a solid case for a unified content strategy. Combine these arguments with the ROI details addressed in Chapter 3 and we've got a foot in our decision-makers' doors. But the authors go even further. Once we understand the problem and know how to convey it up the chain, they lead us in visualizing the unified content strategy that suits our organizations.
From problem to vision to design, Part III leads us mentally to the place where we can begin to see the "how to" of content management. Many advocates of content management confront us with metadata and information models right from the start, but not this book. If the authors had begun this way, they would have lost their readers before they ever got to the checkout. There is plenty of material on metadata available today, but only the XML geeks and programmers really understand it from the outset. This book is about the journey, and the authors have to get us out of the driveway before we can comprehend the horsepower under our hoods. This section on the nuts and bolts of what goes into the design and implementation of dynamic content and related workflow is right where it needs to be - after we've bought into the solution.
Part IV, "Tools and technologies," tells us how to use what we learned in Part III when we go shopping for tools and systems. There is an excellent section on dealing with vendors, which offers sound advice for vendor selection and management. Point by point, the authors offer ways to navigate around the "gotchas" that have proven fatal to many a content management effort. I applaud the recommendations on page 276 to "ask for a content-specific demonstration" and "conduct a proof-of-concept." I wish the authors had included brief cases in point - real-life scenarios of organizations that have learned the value of these actions. We can take the authors' recommendations at face value; it sounds like wise advice. But there's nothing like a true example to drive home the lesson.
Part V, "Moving to a unified content strategy," is where it all comes together and we're challenged to apply what we've learned. Each theme expressed in this section clearly links back to messages conveyed earlier in the book. But this is where the "rubber meets the road" in content management. How are we going to go about this? Who is going to do what? How will our customers perceive this? What is our transition plan? This section helps us think it all through and put solid shape to the decisions we've made thus far. And the resources in Part VI equip us even further. I expected this to be a book that would speak to many of my questions and puzzles about content management, but I didn't expect a step-by-step implementation checklist, or a detailed list of criteria for matching content management tools to my organization's specific needs.
I've been tempted to give up on content management, and possibly single sourcing altogether. Perhaps Managing Enterprise Content was published just in time to persuade me otherwise. It provides a roadmap to content management, acting as a guidebook to the steep cliffs and sharp turns along the way. If there is a route to define or a known course to navigate in the quest for content management, this book speaks about it. Consider it a tutorial in grappling with the entire breadth of the content management problem.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 Programmer's Reference
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Eric A. Meyer
Rating: 1/5
Customer opinion - 1 stars out of 5
A Book - about sums it up......

My respects to Mr. Meir, he really knows his stuff. Could use some more examples to illustrate simple rules, and less theory. But nonetheless, an excellent reference. A definite recommend for any would be web designer/developer or HTMinimaList.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Data Structures and Algorithm Analysis in C++ (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Mark Allen Weiss
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Good book

As a computer science student having this book for (dinner) my course in structures and algorithms, my comment will not be of the fool proof theoretical academical type.I find this book very useful.It has a lot of code examples, and in my oppinion it is perfectfor those who has some experience writing C++ code.The implementations rely heavily on templates, which (will effectively scare away the remaining students)is actualy irrelevant when it comes to most of the algorithms.I say this even if our course only covered 60-70 % of the book.Luckily for me, I already loved templates when I started the course, but I dont think this was the case for most of my fellow students.The book is vell organized, and it has a lot of "easy to understand" drawings all the way through.It starts with a tutorial on advanced C++ topics for those who just finished their ABC book in C++ programming(like Deitel&Deitel).The code examples are very professional, tight and bug free.
If you are happy writing C code, this book is not for you.There is some use of STL througout the book, but it does not require you to be an expert on the topic.I think it has a deep and thorough examination of all the topics, and it covers more structures and algorithms I could dream of for at least the next 2 years.
I recommend this book to all C++ code writing engineer students(who are not afraid of irrelevant templates)

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Publisher: Basic Books
Authors: Douglas R. Hofstadter
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Pretty good book!

I haven't really heard any hype about the book (a lot of the other reviewers are saying the book doesn't live up to its hype). I'm about 2/3 through, and it's really interesting! I'm not really sure what the message is, but I just like that it makes me think about interesting things. I'm an undergrad student doing a summer research project in math, so when I get a bit tired of really rigorous math, this is a nice break for me, but it still keeps me thinking.