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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy
Publisher: New Riders Press
Authors: Ann Rockley
Rating: 4/5
Customer opinion - 4 stars out of 5
Should be required reading for all content creators

We've heard the buzz about content management for some time now. And some of us have ventured into the content management waters, only to emerge more aware of the problem than the solution. Organizations, especially smaller organizations, are looking at content management and looking away. Few have the funds - or the staff - to sponsor content management and realize the results in a reasonable period of time.
Managing Enterprise Content addresses content management in six sections. Each section builds upon the previous section as it presents the rationale for content management in what the authors term a "unified content strategy." Rather than presenting the tools and technology commonly used for content management, the authors save those for a later section of the book. Instead, they begin in the first section by explaining "the basis of a unified content strategy," then move to "determining business requirements" through a substantive content audit, followed by a section on design that addresses the fundamentals of information modeling and design of metadata, dynamic content, and workflow. With these concepts established, we are then offered a broad overview of the related tools and technologies, which include XML and the various systems for authoring, content management, workflow, and content delivery. In the final substantive section of the book, the authors recommend process changes necessary for a unified content strategy. A healthy resources section that includes, in addition to a glossary, index, and stout bibliography, other useful tools to aid the implementation of a unified content strategy follows this section.
Part I, "The basis of a unified content strategy," offers a good review of the concepts surrounding this topic and presents a clear statement of the problem. In addition to presenting the standard phases of single sourcing in technical publications groups, the authors explain how other industries reuse content as well. The detailed analysis of the types of content reuse includes examples that I found helpful in gauging the status of my own organization's problem. The chapter covering return on investment (ROI) is a substantial contribution to the field. We now have solid figures we can attach to labor dollars to estimate what our organizations can expect to realize as a result of content management.
When you reach Part II, "Performing a substantive audit: Determining business requirements," you'll agree that Part I was just a warm-up. Chapter 4 is where the authors really touch our points of pain. The dangers, opportunities, and strengths covered here give us a niche to begin dialogue with executive sponsors. These authors arm us with specifics we can use to make a solid case for a unified content strategy. Combine these arguments with the ROI details addressed in Chapter 3 and we've got a foot in our decision-makers' doors. But the authors go even further. Once we understand the problem and know how to convey it up the chain, they lead us in visualizing the unified content strategy that suits our organizations.
From problem to vision to design, Part III leads us mentally to the place where we can begin to see the "how to" of content management. Many advocates of content management confront us with metadata and information models right from the start, but not this book. If the authors had begun this way, they would have lost their readers before they ever got to the checkout. There is plenty of material on metadata available today, but only the XML geeks and programmers really understand it from the outset. This book is about the journey, and the authors have to get us out of the driveway before we can comprehend the horsepower under our hoods. This section on the nuts and bolts of what goes into the design and implementation of dynamic content and related workflow is right where it needs to be - after we've bought into the solution.
Part IV, "Tools and technologies," tells us how to use what we learned in Part III when we go shopping for tools and systems. There is an excellent section on dealing with vendors, which offers sound advice for vendor selection and management. Point by point, the authors offer ways to navigate around the "gotchas" that have proven fatal to many a content management effort. I applaud the recommendations on page 276 to "ask for a content-specific demonstration" and "conduct a proof-of-concept." I wish the authors had included brief cases in point - real-life scenarios of organizations that have learned the value of these actions. We can take the authors' recommendations at face value; it sounds like wise advice. But there's nothing like a true example to drive home the lesson.
Part V, "Moving to a unified content strategy," is where it all comes together and we're challenged to apply what we've learned. Each theme expressed in this section clearly links back to messages conveyed earlier in the book. But this is where the "rubber meets the road" in content management. How are we going to go about this? Who is going to do what? How will our customers perceive this? What is our transition plan? This section helps us think it all through and put solid shape to the decisions we've made thus far. And the resources in Part VI equip us even further. I expected this to be a book that would speak to many of my questions and puzzles about content management, but I didn't expect a step-by-step implementation checklist, or a detailed list of criteria for matching content management tools to my organization's specific needs.
I've been tempted to give up on content management, and possibly single sourcing altogether. Perhaps Managing Enterprise Content was published just in time to persuade me otherwise. It provides a roadmap to content management, acting as a guidebook to the steep cliffs and sharp turns along the way. If there is a route to define or a known course to navigate in the quest for content management, this book speaks about it. Consider it a tutorial in grappling with the entire breadth of the content management problem.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Mastering Active Directory for Windows Server 2003
Publisher: Sybex Inc
Authors: Robert King, Robert R. King
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
No Mastering found Here

This book came in a set. Like most Sybex books this book is easy to read, however considering all of the possibilities available to the author of a Windows 2000 book, this one falls short its potential.
Significantly lacking in any real world advice though the general coverage of Active Directory is okay, the book doesn't provide nearly enough information about details. In addition, because the book is older it doesn't include a lot of information about enhancments and new utilities.
There's not enough meaty technical information here to make this a good exam study guide. On the other hand, it may be somewhat valuable to someone who is new to Active Directory and specfically to directory services in general.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML (With CD-ROM)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Ken Henderson
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Best SQLXML book on the planet

The book covers so many challenging subjects with such ease. It starts out with a primer on stored procedures. It devotes chapters to database design, triggers, views, UDF's, XML, and .NET, to list some of the topics. Once you read Mr. Henderson's book, you see there is so much to learn about SQL Server. I especially liked the chapter on UDF's. If you've ever searched for a better alternative to the builtin Soundex function, Mr. Henderson provides *the* best Soundex solution for SQL Server. In fact, that alone makes the book worthwhile. And let's not forget his listing and explanation of dozens of undocumented functions and features in SQL Server.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide, Fifth Edition
Publisher: Peachpit Press
Authors: Elizabeth Castro
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
Better than promised

This is a great book. I have a lot of programming experience,but was a total HTML newbie. This book, while not perfect,seems to go at the right pace, and gives the right amount ofdetail when needed.
In particular, the tradeoffs between older HTML, XHTML and usingCSS are well explained. After reading this book, (and with thehelp of a Web Editor), I was able to create a small (25 page)web site for a company that I just started.
I don't own any other HTML books (yet), but did look through several. Of the 5 - 6 I looked through, this seemed to bethe best. I think I made the right choice as this book has provided me everything I needed to know on HTML to get up andrunning.