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Friday, January 25, 2008

Content Federation and Muse: Finally the World Gets It

Welcome to MUSEings, our new weblog on which I’ll be sharing my views every week or so on what’s happening in the content industry and with MuseGlobal products and services. To everyone who may be coming to our site for the first time, welcome to the leader in federated content integration services. Muse has been developing our federation and content integration capabilities since 1998 and now finds itself in the enviable position of having become masters of a way of delivering content that many publishers and enterprises are just beginning to look at in a new light. To those of you who know us from “back when,” guess what? Federation is now the hot thing! And it’s for a very good reason.

When Muse was focused mostly on providing federated search results from multiple search engines federation was something that was interesting mostly to people in libraries and a few publishing houses where there were a lot of specialized databases that needed to be pulled together into a common search results page. Muse technology enables that process by querying multiple content sources that can be assembled in a common format “on the fly.” Instead of having to build one enormous normalized search database from multiple sources Muse gives you what’s available right now from each source in its freshest form in a common, relevant format.

We still do that, to be sure, but since those earlier days Web technologies have matured a great deal and have changed the way in which people pull together content for viewing and analysis. With Web mining tools, XML site feeds for blogs and wikis, widgets and enterprise data solutions galore there are more than just search engines that need to be federated into content applications. Muse’s integration technology makes it easy to pull all of these and any other kind of content source together into a common format that can be consumed as a feed by your publishing platform or used to build any kind of Web page or other display filled with the freshest content available.

And federation has become just that – a process that enables all sorts of new content applications to be developed quickly using content that’s been pulled together on the fly by using services like Muse content integration technology. Search engines still help to deliver a lot of this content inside Muse’s technology but now the search engines are like specialized feeds that queue up raw content on an on-demand basis for federation and integration by Muse.

Management dashboards, competitive intelligence portals, ecommerce applications, collaboration platforms, enterprise search engines – all of these and many more can benefit from the federation approach. Instead of waiting for development teams to get information integrated into an existing database or having to look it up on multiple services you can move from wanting to get content to having it at your fingertips in your most important content applications rapidly and very cost-effectively.

Speaking of collaboration and enterprise search, hopefully you know that Muse already provides content federation for people using or considering Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft’s newly acquired FAST search engine platform. More on that in a later post on MUSEings.

I hope that this was a fun read for you, I’ll be keeping these entries light-hearted, informative and as insightful as I can manage, so please stay tuned for more from MUSEings. Next week: a few thoughts about what I got out of the Software and Information Industry Association’s Information Industry Summit. Have a great week!