Enterprise search and links for Web 2.0

In this chapter, read about enterprise search and links for Web 2.0 and how to use this approach in your business.

Putting Web 2.0 to Use in the Enterprise
Chapter 9: Putting Web 2.0 to Use in the Enterprise: Higher Value from Greater Participation

Enterprise Web 2.0 book
This chapter from Reshaping Your Business with Web 2.0 explains what Web 2.0 means for the enterprise, including options for Web 2.0 applications and Web 2.0 guidelines and goals to set for your business. In this section, read about enterprise search and links for Web 2.0 and how to use this approach in your business.

Table of contents:

Web 2.0 users, community and participation in the enterprise
Enterprise search and links for Web 2.0
Enterprise Web 2.0 blogs, wikis and content management
Tips for Web 2.0 success and setting Web 2.0 goals in the enterprise
New Web 2.0 tools: Beyond the basics

Search links

The importance of scale reappears when considering another defining trait of the Web to the enterprise: search. More specifically, the scale issue is partly at play when considering the role of links in establishing the relevance of search results. It's no mystery that Google and other search engines took search results to a high level when their algorithms started leveraging links as a key measure of relevance. The more inbound links into a given document, with surrounding text related to a given query, the higher the rank of the page in the results.

Incidentally, this approach isn't without side effects. Scientist and author Tom Slee (see References) likens the approach to the one in favor at some universities when it comes to laying down footpaths across campus: At first, let everyone walk around the campus any way they choose. Then, lay paving stones where the most natural traffic is observed. The catch is that after the initial phase emerges from natural behavior, the paths are frozen, making it difficult for new patterns to emerge, and each step merely reinforces the existing pattern. The same is true of linking: Once discovery is mostly derived from linking, it becomes difficult for new content to achieve high visibility.

More on this book
This chapter is excerpted from the book, Reshaping Your Business with Web 2.0, authored by Vince Casarez, Billy Cripe, Jean Sini and Philipp Weckerle, published by McGraw-Hill Osborne Media, September, 2008. ISBN 0071600787.
Still, enterprise search, paramount to enable the discovery-driven behaviors prevalent on the Web, will likely fall short in terms of relevance until it can derive authority from links. And fostering the emergence of links in the enterprise currently hits two obstacles: First, the smaller amount of content making up the corpus of internal enterprise documents makes it difficult to derive authority. Even if the density of links were comparable to those of the Web at large, the potential for error would be greater. Second, we need to deal with the link-poor characteristics of the content. Documents themselves still are largely produced with office productivity applications or industry-specific software that until recently didn't emphasize linking. Furthermore, these documents were largely transported by e-mail, as opposed to being posted to an intranet and linked to.

With search and discovery being such key aspects of facilitating Web 2.0, it is essential to consider means to increase link density. As much content as possible should be web-addressable, and as many applications as possible should be linkaware. And if necessary, links should be derived from implicit behaviors.

Download the chapter "Putting Web 2.0 to Use in the Enterprise: Higher Value from Greater Participation " in PDF form.

Continue to the next section: Enterprise Web 2.0 blogs, wikis and content management

This was first published in December 2008

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