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David Loshin

Welcome to my BeyeNETWORK Blog. This is going to be the place for us to exchange thoughts, ideas and opinions on all aspects of the information quality and data integration world. I intend this to be a forum for discussing changes in the industry, as well as how external forces influence the way we treat our information asset. The value of the blog will be greatly enhanced by your participation! I intend to introduce controversial topics here, and I fully expect that reader input will "spice it up." Here we will share ideas, vendor and client updates, problems, questions and, most importantly, your reactions. So keep coming back each week to see what is new on our Blog!

About the author >

David is the President of Knowledge Integrity, Inc., a consulting and development company focusing on customized information management solutions including information quality solutions consulting, information quality training and business rules solutions. Loshin is the author of The Practitioner's Guide to Data Quality Improvement, Master Data Management, Enterprise Knowledge Management: The Data Quality Approach and Business Intelligence: The Savvy Manager's Guide. He is a frequent speaker on maximizing the value of information. David can be reached at or at (301) 754-6350.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in David's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Recently in Connectivity Category

Certain kinds of technologies are interesting in the way that their existence motivates changes in the way people behave. Good examples include the fax machine or mobile telephones, both of which modified the way that people work.

Search is one of these technologies, but curious in the ways that different people (do or don't) engage web searching as part of their daily routines. In one instance, a person I know was tasked with developing documentation on a particular subject, but the first draft of that material showed a lack of understanding of the concept. However, a simple google search of the topic provided numerous resources from which to draw. My reaction was to assume that this person didn't even attempt to employ search as part of the process.

Yet in conversation with others, I am beginning to see dividing lines in the way that people employ the availability of indexed or searchable information. For some, the effort is apparently too much - the web search returns too many hits, there is difficulty in distinguishing relevance, the choices are either too complex or too simplistic - to the point where the person is overwhelmed. Others embrace these issues by modifying the way they search. And that is where web searching changes the way that (some) people behave.

The simplicity of a web search embodies its beauty for adaptability. Conceptually, presume that all words and terms in all web sites have been parsed, analyzed, and indexed and are ready for your review. All you need to do is to use your knowledge of what you are looking for to pinpoint the desired content. So you start with a gross level, say a single term, multiple words. Many hits come back, but you can screen the top level result summaries to see if there are other relevant terms that are of greater (or lesser) interest, then incorporate those into your next search iteration. Each iteration provides some more information that can be used for the next iteration until you have narrowed the focus enough to find what you are looking for.

This has worked for me, and goes back to my original comment, since web searching really has changed a lot of the way that I do things, escpeially when trying to attack problems and find solutions. I expect that someone out there has had similar experiences and is willing to share them. Whether I am diagnosing network issues, trying to learn more about my kids' viruses, looking for a software solution, or research personnel background, track down a lead, etc., I use my web search tool as my guide.

Sounds obvious, right? You might think so, but having observed the way that people ignore or misuse search tools, it makes me curious as to whether there are specific search strategies that people use, don't use, or ignore when tackling problem-solving.

Posted March 23, 2007 6:58 AM
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According to an analysis done by US Pharmacopeia and reported in the Washington Post , "Medication errors that harm patients are seven times more frequent in the course of radiological services than in other hospital settings."

According to US Pharmacopeia's John Santell, "Many of the errors resulted from communication breakdowns, the researchers found, such as passing on incorrectly the dose or name of the drug being administered, or one worker failing to inform another about other drugs a patient was taking. The most common errors were patients getting the wrong dose or drug, failing to get the drug they should have had or having the drug administered incorrectly."

The existence of communication breakdowns as part of the operational (no pun intended) processes within a health environment raise the question of whether "electonifying" or automating the exchange of patient information might allow for the introduction of validation rules (or workflow requirements for accountability signoffs) into the process to identify potential drug administration errors before they occur. In addition, logging all actions associated with moving a patient through a particular medical process within an automated system might also help in accurately capturing "what really happened" to help with remediation of critical errors if they do slip through.

Anyone familiar with health care workflow automation that could help in this situation?

Posted January 19, 2006 6:22 AM
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After yesterday's webcast with Dataflux, I had lunch with Daniel Teachey, Ron Agresta, and Carmen Gardiner (all from Dataflux), and we talked about some of the topics we covered during the web seminar (which you can read about in my white paper), but we also talked about the potential of a successful blog. One theme that emerged was the value of the evolving community of interest that may form, either based on topic, or personality, or avocation. For me, this is almost self-referential, since part of my area of interest involves the emergence of small communities based on connectivity - something I may explore more carefully in an upcoming article...

Posted September 28, 2005 4:53 AM
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We are bound by the relationships we make (and keep, or ignore) over our lifetime. Today I had the occasion to review four different relationships, and it made me think about more than just the existence of the link I have (or had) with these people, but in the abstract, the value within a business intelligence framework of an established link.

Why was I thinking about the business value of a link? Because a consequence of the convenience of the World Wide Web, and free services such as Yahoo Groups is the inadvertent willingness of people to trade knowledge about their relationships.

So who were the four people that triggered this though process? First, as I was exiting the DC Metro, I was passed by a person who reminded me of a childhood friend with whom I had briefly reestablished a connection a few years back when I tracked down his contact information via Google.

Second, I have been exchanging voice mails with my friend Greg Elin, who is a really bright guy. Greg and I worked together on a few projects, one involving a (now questionable) idea for a web-based service that archived banner ads.

Third, I got an email from a friend and data quality colleague who had been tasked with evolving a solution to a rather sticky (and most likely intractable) Customer Data Integration project.

Fourth, there is a mail list for the employees of the company where I worked for my first job, Compass (also known as Massachusetts Computer Associates). These emails suggested that we migrate the email list to Yahoo Groups, and there seems to be some concurrence to this.

But when you take a look at Yahoo's Privacy Policy, you will see that Yahoo collects information about the transactions of its members, and uses them for research, personalization, targeting, and aggregation. One can extrapolate and assume that Yahoo tracks the relationships and micro-communities associated with the individuals that subscribe (a weak link) or participate (a stronger link) within that group. Determining the strength of the various links, the "spheres of influence," and learning "who knows who" can add a significant amount of value to an ad targeting strategy.

For example, if a particular person clicks through a specific banner ad, one might assume that other individuals within that person's sphere of influence might also have a predilection to respond to a similar ad? Of course, this can be used to refine ad targeting, increase response rates, and consequently increase the charge for ad placement.

Okay, so what does this have to do with my walk down memory lane today? The fact is that I can qualify each of those relationships with different kinds of attributes, and those attributes (and their value sets, and magnitudes, etc.) might contribute even more to analyzing its BI value. More on this topic to follow...

Posted August 11, 2005 7:32 PM
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