Magazines on Web Tools, Content

Magazines on Web Tools, Content

By Reid Goldsborough

“The reign of the dead tree is over” is the kind of soundbite that futurists utter to make it seem as if they’re able to peer over the edge of the present into the world of tomorrow. But judging by two magazines, it’s just another empty platitude.

EContent, currently published, and AlwaysOn, about to be published, are print magazines, relying on dead trees for the pulp that goes into making the paper they’re printed on, that comment on Internet and other electronic content — what’s there, how it got there, how you can best get your content there, how you can best find content there, and how in general individuals and businesses can make the most of the world of digitally delivered information.

EContent (www.econtentmag.com) recently published its latest “EContent 100,” a selection of 100 companies that the magazine feels provide the best tools for these purposes.

EContent is a pricey, well-regarded print magazine, costing $112 per year for 10 monthly issues and targeted to executives and managers responsible for digital content. But it also, as you would expect, has an associated Web site, and it offers a lot of free information there about digital content trends, strategies  and resources that can be useful to just about anyone interested in the Web.

Here are some highlights of the “EContent 100,” including companies that are household names as well as those you probably never heard of. Some of these will be of interest only to IT specialists; some provide tools anyone can use.

Blogging. Weblogs, more commonly known as blogs, remain a hot content area, letting individuals as well as organizations create online journals and share them with the world. Traction Software Inc. <www.tractionsoftware.com> provides tools specifically for organizations looking for better ways to aggregate and share information in such areas as product management, corporate communications and scientific research.

Sharing. One of the flashpoints in online content today is balancing the need to share your content with the need to prevent it from being shared without your authorization or benefit. ContentGuard Holdings Inc. <www.contentguard.com> has created a standard specifying conditions for authorized use of MPEG music and video files.

Targeting a wider market, SealedMedia Inc. <www.sealedmedia.com> lets companies securely distribute documents containing confidential information by technologically prohibiting recipients from doing such things as copying and pasting or printing.

Searching. Google Inc. <www.google.com> continues to be all the rage in Web searching. Its flagship Web search site remains paramount, and it generated lots of buzz lately by announcing plans to work with universities and public libraries to scan books and scholarly papers, allowing easier access to them. The company also provides tools for searching within a company’s intranet and even within your own hard disk.

Copernic Technologies Inc. <www.copernic.com> is a lesser-known search company that does much of what Google does and then goes one better. It lets you search for data normally hidden within databases and other sources not accessible by most search engines.

ClearForest Corp. <www.clearforest.com> takes a different approach to making information more accessible, automatically placing an organization’s text-based content into categories. The idea is to turn that information into intelligence, as the mantra goes.

Collaborating. Once you have information, acting upon it typically requires bouncing it off and otherwise collaborating with other people. Jabber Inc. <www.jabber.com> lets co-workers communicate in real time using secure instant messaging.
Selling. “Information wants to be free” may be a time-honored catchword on  the Internet, but it doesn’t help pay the bills. ECNext Inc. <www.ecnext.com> enables information originators to profit from their efforts through content sales and online subscriptions.

Delivering. Mirror Image Internet Inc. <www.mirror-image.com> helps companies deliver video and other bandwidth-intensive content, overcoming infrastructure and programming obstacles.

Like EContent, AlwaysOn is a magazine about digital content. An outgrowth of the blog AlwaysOn <www.alwayson-network.com>, it plans to distinguish itself by reprinting the most provocative content from the “blogosphere.” The quarterly magazine, scheduled to begin publication shortly, will also carry feature articles about technology’s future and interviews with key players in the computer and online worlds.

The brainchild of Tony Perkins, who founded the now defunct Red Herring, AlwaysOn is hoping to make money through advertising and an annual $49 subscription fee. But does it make sense to process the raw unfiltered content of blogs through the filter of editors and compromise the immediacy of Internet content by republishing it months later?

Perkins is betting that by combining the raw and immediate with the well-researched and fact-checked, he’ll find his readership.

Reid Goldsborough is a syndicated columnist and author of the book Straight Talk About the Information Superhighway. He can be reached at reidgold@netaxs.com or <www.netaxs.com/~reidgold/column>.



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