Thanksgiving ranked in bottom half of American holidays

Posted by Christopher Hill on Nov 28, 2013 7:10:00 PM

If I was asked to design an A-list American holiday, I would never have come up with Thanksgiving. As a kid I enjoyed a few Thanksgiving dinner staples, but would have traded them for a trip to Dairy Queen in a heartbeat.

I’ve spent my share of Thanksgivings trying in one way or another to adhere to the holiday’s intended design, usually with the same cast of regulars from my daily life. 

On occasion I’ve celebrated the holiday in a house of strangers, save for the friend or two who dragged me along. One Thanksgiving I spent in The Hague, Netherlands, at a training course. I dined on my first Indonesian meal with my classmates, the only American at the table of near-strangers.

The Thanksgiving that gives me some of the warmest memories I spent alone in my room in a deserted dormitory in Minneapolis. How could a roast beef sandwich, fries and medium Coke be so memorable? The clerk who prepared it was friendly and wished me a happy Thanksgiving as I left with the bag of food. But when I discovered the promotional gold-rimmed holiday glass at the bottom of the bag - usually requiring an extra charge on a large soft drink - the clerk transformed the modest meal into a memorable feast. It remains one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.

Something about Thanksgiving's design seems to work well even when circumstances would not seem conducive to a positive experience.

Thanksgiving's ability to create these strong feelings are not easily identified on paper. Imagine if it were invited to an RFP selection process:

Holiday Features Matrix

American Holiday rankings:

1 Christmas (38)
2 Easter (31)
3 New Year’s Day (28)
4 Independence Day (26)
5 Valentine's Day (25)
6 Thanksgiving (24)
7 Labor Day (19)
 8 Halloween (16) 

This isn't even close to how, outside of a feature matrix, I would rank the holidays. I suspect most Americans would say the same.

A number of assumptions are inherent in this type of ranking process that produces results incompatible with our actual experience.

Do all of these features have equal importance and rank?

If I don’t intend to eat candy or decorate my home in holiday lights, should I include these features “just in case” I might want to do that someday?

We forget that adding unwanted/unneeded features to our matrix might be detrimental. Imagine being the only person not in costume at a Halloween celebration or an atheist at an Easter service.

If I had put this scoring system into my RFP, Thanksgiving would not even rank in the top half of the holidays. It turns out that Thanksgiving’s subtle design choices are easy to overlook when insulated from any actual experience.

I know that regardless of how the food turns out this evening, today is already a highlight of my year as I reflect on the many personal and professional things I have to be thankful for. 

If today you are also celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope yours is happy and memorable too.

Topics: RFP selection, design, product management

The Hunger Games of Content Management

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Nov 22, 2013 12:19:00 PM

describe the imageI'm going to see a movie tonight called "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". It's a movie that derived from a book. You may or may not have heard about it, but seeing as you're on a website that sells content management systems for publishers, the chances are very high that you're familiar. In the first movie (spoiler alert) the story revolves around children and teenagers who are put in an outrageous dangerous environment and must fend for themselves until one "lucky" player survives and is released at the very end of the game and lives their lives in luxury...not to mention reoccuring nightmares on a consistent basis for the rest of their lives.

At RSI Content Solutions, we have seen some Hunger Games-like ways of managing content. Over the years, we have found many publishing companies that don't even know where their content is stored which means you don't have the source files for your publications. Imagine a situation which your content is in numerous amount of files that are stored in multiple places, and no one really knows where to find them. There is ultimately no real way to universally search in one place for what you're looking for and even if you did have a way to search, how is the content managed?

That's what we at RSI Content Solutions consider the Hunger Games of Content Management.

We have been helping publishers manage their content since the year 2000 and RSuite CMS, the content management system for publishers, is our bow and arrow for the world of confusing content management. With your choice of cloud or deployed CMS, we have a content management system that stores your files from simple Word files to your digital assets.


Help us find our content!

Topics: content management for publishers, RSuite CMS, Hunger Games

Educational Publishers Learn the Importance of Metadata

Posted by Dave Saracco on Nov 13, 2013 11:39:00 AM

describe the imageOver the past ten years, I have been working with educational publishers, large and small, helping them with their digital publishing needs from building ancillary products both online and on CDs and DVDs, online course ware, digital assessment programs, online e-textbook selling sites, and hundreds of other educational products.  For the past year, my focus here at RSI is to help educational, academic and media publishing companies with their content management needs and content preparation for concurrent, multichannel publishing.  At most meetings with educational publishers these days, a good deal of the discussion is focused on how RSuite can help in the increasingly daunting task of properly tagging their content for discovery both internally and externally. 

Most publishers today have begun to understand the importance of rich metadata.  The selling of ebooks through the retail outlets has certainly brought an elevated focus to having your metadata robust, available, flexible and up to date but that metadata only scratches the surface for educational publishers.

According to that “great” source in the clouds (Wikipedia), Metadata is usually categorized in three types:

    • Descriptive metadata describes an information resource for identification and retrieval through elements such as title, author, and abstract.
    • Structural metadata documents relationships within and among objects through elements such as links to other components (e.g., how pages are put together to form chapters).
    • Administrative metadata helps to manage information resources through elements such as version number, archiving date, and other technical information for purposes of file management, rights management and preservation.

Standards-based metadata models are being hyped to help address educational objects discoverability in the marketplace such as the recently released Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) (backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and the Achievement Standards Networks (ASN) (which essentially enables content creators to describe the objective of learning and teaching resources in terms required by each state). There’s the existing standards such as the Learning Object Metadata model supported and managed by the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set to name only a few.

According to the LRMI’s mission, all of these initiatives are meant to “facilitate personalized learning by…” giving publishers the capability of tagging the content so learners can have “…the right content at the right time” and also to address the demands of states for standardized descriptions of learning resources. 

The key requirements for exploiting educational learning object metadata are to:

    • Understand user/community needs and to express these as an application profile
    • Have a strategy for creating high quality metadata
    • Store this metadata in a form which can be exported as LOM records
    • Agree a binding for LOM instances when they are exchanged
    • Be able to exchange records with other systems either as single instances or en masse.

How do you currently manage the process of tagging your content?

While RSuite CMS can certainly help publishers efficiently and effectively manage the complex metadata requirements for today’s educational publishers, I would like to understand your challenges by commenting on the questions below or bringing your own questions to the table…

    • Did you build your own taxonomy and system to add the tags to your content? 
    • Have you adopted one of the “standards”? 
    • Are you tagging your content with any metadata that will facilitate users finding and purchasing your content much less difficult than it is today? 


Let's start the conversation...

Topics: RSuite CMS, educational publishing, metadata

You might need a content management system...

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Nov 8, 2013 2:10:00 PM

Content management for publishersDo you create, edit, or manage content? You might need a content management system.

Even in 2013, publishers both large and small don't yet have a grasp on benefits of a content management system and how much easier it can make their publishing process. Then again, what do you, as a publisher, consider to be "content"? For different publishers, content means different things. Do you consider it to be a Word document? Is content a PDF, ePub, or something else? Dare I ask if you consider video a piece of content? Truthfully, the word "content" has morphed over the last few years and for publishers and therefore, content has truly become everything from a Word document to a video.

So, let me help clear any confusion and give you, the publisher, a few benefits of what content management system for publishers can do for you:

    1. Streamline your publishing workflow. With RSuite CMS, there's no need to switch back and forth all day between your email and your content. Upload your content to RSuite, assign it to the next person in your publishing process, then edit it all from within our system.
    2. Speaking of editing, do you use Microsoft Word when composing and editing your content? Bring your process into RSuite. Transform the Word document into XML automatically to meet your multi-channel publishing goals. RSuite handles the entire end-to-end process.
    3. Package your content in an automated fashion and distribute it to your licensing partners. In many cases this process can be 100% automated based on the business rules that you define.
Whether you're an STM journal publisher with a goal of publishing hundreds of journal articles each year, a magazine publisher, or an educational book publisher, your goal should be to publish your material in the most effective and efficient way possible. RSuite is the content management system for publishers, both large and small.
I want RSuite!

Topics: content management for publishers, RSuite CMS, CMS, STM, magazines

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