Enterprise OpenSocial

Heartened to hear that this years Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco features a session on ‘OpenSocial in the Enterprise’.  Mike Gotta, an analyst from the Burton Group, describes some of the issues that OpenSocial needs to resolve to become truly applicable at the Enterprise level – these include the definition of ‘friend’ and single-signon and other authentication issues. 

But his description of the general environment that enterprise developers find themselves in is pertinent to our enterprise – the academic biomedical research institution – and his approach mirrors our thinking.  The question is, how do we tie our (academic/biomedical research-focused) development of research networking products to the trends outside of us?

We need to start designing and implementing social networking platforms that have capabilities to span internal and external audiences. While initiatives that started off in the consumer market may not have the necessary identity, security, and other necessary services – alternatives within the enterprise are often not viable for consumer environments – so we are left somewhere in the middle – with no one particularly happy. Given overall consumerization of IT trends, it seems to me at least, that it’s more viable (in the social computing realm) to start with efforts like OpenSocial and ActivityStrea.ms and evolve them for the enterprise than the other way around.

OpenSocial & Best Practices for Social Networking Websites

XINGWhat is the best web design for a social networking platform? We’re certainly thinking about this as we plan on the release of UCSF Profiles, our research (as opposed to ‘social’) networking site.  Smashing Magazine has a useful article that summarizes key principles.  One of these is about standards – they encourage the usage of OpenSocial as a standard in building social networking sites.  And – we’re glad to say, we’re on it.  We’re in the process of extending our research networking product, ‘Profiles’, as an OpenSocial “container”. i.e. retrofitting the software so that it’s possible to use other OpenSocial applications, built, for example, for applications like Linked In, to plug and play with our product.  This will be a primary contribution of UCSF’s in the continued open source development of the Harvard-developed ‘Profiles’.

Some good things about this design

I was looking at people/firms with design expertise for Drupal, and unfortunately even though some looked like they’d designed well for others (though nothing spectacular) their own firm web site were nothing to write home about.  Which, for a design firm, is dissapointing.

Through one firm though I came across this drupal site, which has some positives.  I like the way they have news and events (and how they break up the top nav bar  a bit)  You may be interested in looking at the site as you think of new home page designs.

Emailing Comments

WordPress is apparently now allowing people to interact directly with comments through email.  This is the sort of thing that we need on our portal for the Ideas Forum-types of apps, and for any discussion component of our groupware approach.

3D tag clouds

Ben showed us this 3D tag cloud concept (WP-Cumulus). Fun to play with for a few seconds, although I wouldn’t choose to use it for any real functionality…

Existing tools that visualize web network data

heatmap_egHere’s a good list of automatically mined network visualizations, mostly leveraging Internet data.  Found it while searching for do-it-yourself network visualization tools which I could use to play with my own real network relations and embed in my blog.  We’re looking at ways to track link utilization on the virtual home website - the visualization show above from Crazy Egg is certainly a neat trick (if not actually analytically useful)

Mining your folders to learn more about expertise

From Bill at Indiana, an article in Technology Review on mining folders in your computer to track what you really do. This and similar efforts mining email always makes me nervous.

The article’s a summary of a human computer interaction conference session.

But mostly it reminded me that I’ve been dissapointed by the quality of information – the depth and, dare I say it ‘expertise’ – revealed in Tech Review articles. I think I cancelled the office subscription, but am open to alternatives…


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