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Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Information Architecture at Ford Motor Company Ken Varnum Head, Web Development Group Library Systems & Information Research Ford Motor Company 30 October 2001
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Introduction Graduated SILS 12/1994 Electronic Services Librarian at OMRI 1/1995-3/1997 Ford Motor Company 4/1997-present Evolving job at Ford –Started as online editor/reference librarian –Now project manager/info architect/librarian
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Outline Overview of RLIS Project Planning Process Information Architecture Projects Interactions with Ford Motor Company Where Are We Going?
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Overview of Group Department has three components –Library – Ford’s largest –Web Development –Information Research Most projects involve all 3 groups Many projects for ‘outside’ customers
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Project Planning Process Collaborative project planning process –Ideas come from library –Application development for research group –Implementing innovative technologies using real-world information problems as testbed
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Focus on Service Improvements Objectives tied to company directions Ways to promote our various areas of expertise In this economy, high visibility is critical
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Current Awareness Problem How to let people know all the new ‘stuff’ we have to offer? No consistent indexing of materials No 1:1 relationship of users to ‘obvious’ interests RLIS Select current awareness service
Publication 1 Filter 1 Filter 2 Filter 3 Filter 4 Publication 2 Publication 3 Publication 4 User Profile 1 User Profile 2 User Profile 3 Matching Content with User Profiles User 1 User 3 User 2 RLIS Select Overview
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company RLIS Select Process We already invested a great deal of time building metadata sets for various publications –Technical Reports & other publications –New books –Web sites We built a master taxonomy and mapped the individual ones to it
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Text Classification Problem We get abstracts for Society of Automotive Engineers technical papers (7,000 per year). Includes LOTS of ‘off topic’ materials such as aerospace papers Includes LOTS of non-English language materials Little useful/no controlled indexing
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Projects – Data Visualization Data visualization research leading to information presentation tools A way of taking masses of textual data and making a visual display of it Useful for spotting hidden trends
Data Visualization Output
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Search Technologies Search engine research leading to unified search tools Ability to search across internal & external services Exploring ways to integrate results
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company How Ford Works Amazingly decentralized for its size Lots of groups claim pieces of the pie Lots of free-range pie pieces, too
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Them and Us Library NOT in charge of the Intranet Nobody really is Strong effort to develop corporate portal We provide most of company information/research Partnerships and leading by example
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company How RLIS Fits In We primarily work on our own projects Partner with other groups who –Have interesting problems –Have good funding –Have both Look for business value for Ford Motor Company in addition to value for us
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Corporate Intranet We’re one of largest sites on Intranet Approx 20 million hits/year from 70% of possible audience We are not corporate home page and they are not us
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Trends & Future Pendulum swinging through middle of Decentralized Centralized Decentralized Much is dependent on Ford’s budget and spending ability Now – big projects on hold; small projects with little capital expense are priority
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Future: Flexibility Economy is causing an unpredictably changing environment Changes are unpredictable Direction of changes unpredictable Planning difficult
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Future: Cooperation Historically been a company of ‘smokestack’ organizations Information Technology is similar Scarce resources mean groups need to cooperate
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Future: Crossover Technologies More integration of tools across domains Using text classification on numeric data Using visualization tools to present automotive news Bundling services into multiple products
Ken Varnum Copyright © 2001 Ford Motor Company Trends Information providers and sponsors of major IT initiatives not likely to be united If we are to have an influence, need to pick projects where we know we can help
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