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Knowledgespeak Exclusive - An interview with Kristina Bivins, President, MuseGlobal - 19 Sep 2008

Q

To start with, can you tell us about the different methodologies you adopt to manage/provide transparent access to unified content from range of content sources (e.g. Web sites, databases, document repositories and personal computers in public and private environments)? How can MuseGlobal help publishers and other media players to create more realizable value from unified content?

A

MuseGlobal provides a comprehensive plug and play content integration technology that includes federation, harvesting, transformation, enhancement, security, source maintenance, multiple delivery mechanisms and buzz meters. Our partners use some or all of these features to create more value from unified content.

Federation Federation, or federated searching, is used by many of our business partners, sometimes as a stand-alone product, and sometimes as an integrated function within a portal or other application. Our harvesting technology has been extremely successful and differs from federation in many aspects. Federated searching is based on a query put to the disparate sources of information.

Harvesting Harvesting is based on a pre-formed query run as a timed alert, usually on a regular basis, such as every 15 minutes or every day. Harvesting requires variations on removing duplicates and other syntactic mechanisms. The goal of harvesting is to provide fresh content on a regular basis.

Transformation Transformation has a number of variations, but is fundamentally an extensive normalizing process which involves transforming the content into the target format specified or required by the target application. The most commonly specified format is a form of xml, but content can be transformed into virtually any format desired.

Enhancement Enhancement involves enriching the content and can be applied in a wide range of ways, such as adding pictures, snippets or even fuller information from other sources to create a more complete record. It also involves content mining and term extraction, which are very popular with our customers.

Security Security is a critical component of MuseGlobal’s technology. Muse has a wide range of rights management functions and supports nearly 30 different forms of authentication, each of which is vital to the publisher and the owner of the content. We are vigilant in ensuring that both our business partners and their customers have access to content which is properly authenticated, permissioned or freely available. Several years ago, MuseGlobal started a Content Partner Program to develop non-commercial relationships with hundreds of content publishers to ensure that MuseGlobal observes their specific conventions and rights processes and provides access to content in each publishers’ preferred mode.

Source Maintenance Source maintenance is vital to providing scaling and sustainability. MuseGlobal built what we call the Source Factory, an extensive management suite which automates the building of new source connectors, performs daily checks to ensure constant availability, performs automated diagnostics on sources failing the daily check and provides automated delivery both of new and fixed connectors to our business partners and/or their customers. This is a tightly controlled process and is absolutely the only way to service and manage the needs of thousands of customers on a continuing basis. The Source Factory contains more than 5900 connectors at the present time and is continuously growing as our current and new customers demand new sources.

Buzz Meters Muse technology can deliver federated or harvested content in a wide variety of ways, including as feeds, as xml output, as MARC records, and so on. In addition, MuseGlobal has developed a range of buzz meters. These buzz meters are being used currently by media partners to measure rising and falling indicators, such as people or sports teams, in a number of subject areas.


Q

Earlier this year, your company released two new products - News Hound and Blog Hound. Briefly tell us how these products help online media companies and enterprises to better monetize their content.

A

News Hound and Blog Hound are two sides of the same coin. MuseGlobal developed these products in response to a need from the market for targeted harvesting technologies in the news and blog industries. The ‘Hounds,’ use a very focused, timed alerts process to deliver only the freshest content to the customer. The keyword here is ‘focused’, as we are strong believers in providing both precision and the correct amount of recall.

Users want to know that the content they receive is the ‘correct’ content and that they have received all that’s available out there. This constant balance and tension between precision and recall is a specialty both of our harvesting and our federation technologies. Customers of these products can be assured that their consumers (end-users usually) are satisfied with both the quality and amount of the content—guaranteeing that there is increased productivity and better opportunities for contextual advertising, should that be the monetizing method used.


Q

In partnership with Adhere Solutions, your company launched a federated search solution for the Google Search Appliance (All Access Connector). Tell us how will this new application help to extend the capabilities of the Google Search Appliance? Beyond federated search, what according to you are the other application areas which can benefit from your integration technology?

A

Users have the advantage of the familiar Google search box and Google look and feel plus the additional capability of adding hundreds of millions of pages of content through use of MuseGlobal’s federation capabilities. The All Access Connector is integrated into the GSA, eliminating the need for a separate stream of results because it’s all integrated within a single results set. In addition, customers can choose to use the personalization features of the All Access Connector, such as individual workrooms, saved searches, search history and term extraction. The All Access Connector is a value-add workflow tool for the GSA.

Other applications areas which already benefit from MuseGlobal’s integration technology include Microsoft SharePoint, Blackboard, MarkLogic, Endeca, FAST Search and Transfer (a Microsoft subsidiary), and other platforms. MuseGlobal’s specialty is ‘partnering with the platform’, whether that platform is an application, an enterprise (or other) search engine, a collaboration environment or a mobile content delivery service.


Q

Can you tell us about your content integration platform, The Muse Content Machine. There are other similar service providers such as TDNet Ltd which offers the Searcher Analyzer federated search tool. In what ways is your service more competitive?

A

As stated in the answer to question one, MuseGlobal provides a wide and unparalleled range of content integration technologies. TDNet competes with a part of our technology, namely our federation service. The Muse Content Machine is a broad-ranging suite of technology, which includes: comprehensive content integration, the freshest content (as explained above), simple and quick source integration, easily tailored interfaces, installed and hosted solutions, streamlined administration and unified access control. All of which are underpinned by the Muse Information Connection Engine (ICE) and the Muse Source Factory, two extremely powerful platforms.

While there are a number of market competitors, Muse technology overall has no peer.


Q

In relation to MuseGlobal service offerings, what, according to you, are the biggest challenges for publishers in the near term future? How is MuseGlobal placed to help publishers meet these challenges?

A

Publishers face the constant and increasing challenge of end-users assuming that the free information available through the Internet is in fact all they need. As we in the content business know, there is a much larger pool of content which tends to be buried both in the deep web and within the corporate intranet. MuseGlobal provides excellent access to this much larger store of content. Publishers are rapidly becoming more aware of the necessity to provide tools, such as those from MuseGlobal, to ensure that their customers have an excellent experience through the publisher portal, or other environment provided by them.


Q

Comment on MuseGlobal’s performance for fiscal 2007, with major milestones and immediate growth plans for the coming year.

A

MuseGlobal is in a rapid growth phase, having succeeded in tapping multiple lines of business. We have issued a number of press releases announcing new partnerships and awards during 2008 and will continue to announce more key partnerships throughout the remainder of the year.

As a privately held company, MuseGlobal does not release any financial performance information.


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