Select Page

ConVEX Conference 2023

May 30, 2023

Heather Hedden

Heather Hedden



All Blog posts

The primary purpose of taxonomies is to tag content to make it easier to be found, both more comprehensively and more accurately than search alone. (Additional taxonomy uses, such as connecting to data, involve extending a taxonomy into an ontology.) Since taxonomies connect to content, the activities of content management and content strategy are very closely related to that of taxonomy management. 

As a taxonomist, I was thus pleased to have the opportunity to represent PoolParty in one of the leading conferences on content creation and management, ConVEx, which included several presentations on taxonomy related topics. 

At ConVEx 2023, which was held in Baltimore April 17-19, PoolParty participation included two live talks, a recorded talk, and a vendor information table. I also appreciated the opportunity to attend many interesting presentations, meet PoolParty partners in attendance, and meet potentially new partners and customers.

Content developers and content strategy

ConVEx calls itself “an immersive experience for content developers…to support your efforts in defining and executing a comprehensive content strategy.” Content developers are in a role that combines both content creation (writing, document design, and possibly media production) and content strategy (planning, delivery, and governance of content). 

As such, content developers are those most keenly aware of the benefits of tools, technologies, and methods for content creation and management. They are looking for ways to produce and reuse content more efficiently and make it more readily accessible and findable for its users. Part of this process includes tagging content with a taxonomy so that the content can be found and retrieved by its key topics, which are in the taxonomy.

High quality content development is particularly important for technical documentation, due to its large volume, high rate of change, critical role, connections to other processes such as product development, and often multilinguality. ConVEx thus focuses on technical documentation management, rather than marketing content, although some sessions and vendors are more general in their treatment of content management. The separate management of technical content from training content and marketing content, however, often results in content silos and the inability of users to access all kinds of content on the same subject. A comprehensive enterprise content strategy can help ensure that content is not completely siloed.

Component content management

A major trend in content management over the past two decades has been component content management, whereby instead of creating complete documents or web pages, content is created in smaller modular units, such as sections, paragraph blocks, or embedded images/media with captions. For this purpose, many of the leading content management systems (CMSs) are now component content management systems (CCMSs), whether for technical content or for website content. The majority of the sponsors at ConVEx were component content management system vendors. 

CCMSs enable content publishing to be more modular and flexible, supporting content reuse. They make it easier to update content, by updating only the relevant components instead of the entire document. The structured components of content in CCMSs also enable more precise tagging with a taxonomy to the level of a unit of information in a component, rather than for an entire document or web page.

For this reason Semantic Web Company has partnered with RWS, also a vendor at ConVEx, to integrate PoolParty into Tridion Docs and Tridion Sites. Tridion is a championed content component management system that helps users handle their content more precisely while also giving them the added benefit of semantic search for better finability. Read more about RWS’s solution here >

Designating components for content is a part of the larger activity of structuring content. Structured content is not merely organized into components of topical sections of text, but different kinds of components are designated for different purposes, such as: title, abstract, date, descriptive metadata, tags, image and caption, introduction, bulleted list, numbered steps, summary, references links, etc. All of this requires standard methods for marking up the content components and types. XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a common markup language for text content, but it is very generic. DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture), first introduced in 2005 is a detailed specification, based on XML, which defines a set of document types for authoring and organizing topic-oriented information. The ConVEx conference was previously called the DITA North America conference until 2020. DITA remains popular, but it is not the exclusive subject of the conference.

Taxonomy-related presentations at ConVEx

The relevance of taxonomies to component content management was evident at the ConVEx conference, which had a track with a “taxonomy” as a part of its dual theme, comprising five presentations focused on taxonomies and another three presentations with topics related to taxonomies. These included presentations on taxonomies and terminologies, taxonomies and metadata, taxonomy driving customer impact, finding data with content, boosting discovery experiences, and my presentation on knowledge hubs.

My presentation, “Knowledge Hub Creation Challenges and Solutions” explained that an enterprise knowledge hub brings together content from multiple repositories, applications, or silos with a single search and retrieval application. Challenges include defining the scope of content, purpose, users, and especially the taxonomy to tag the content, while serving different uses. I presented a case study of the knowledge hub we had created at Semantic Web Company and my work on the taxonomy, which has to serve both employees accessing the knowledge hub and external users accessing PoolParty help documentation.

I also co-presented “How Semantic Search Helps” with our CEO Andreas Blumauer (who did his portion live remotely) a “Test Kitchen” talk, where the focus is on a demo. This presentation included three use cases to explain how semantic search, which is based on a taxonomy,  can be developed, implemented and ultimately used to benefit the help desk.

COO Helmut Nagy had submitted a pre-recorded talk “From Document Search to Document Understanding,” which addressed concept based tagging (based on a taxonomy), text analytics, structured componentized content, and the role of knowledge graphs in structuring content and contextualizing content. Helmut had done a similar presentation together with Michael Iantosca from PoolParty customer Avalara. You can watch the webinar here to learn more about text analytics and Avalara’s use case. 

Conference summary

ConVEx gets down to business with five simultaneous tracks with six sessions in each track per day during the two and a half day conference, and there are no keynotes nor workshops, other than a welcoming session and activity. Pre-conference workshops are not needed, because the company, Comtech Services, which owns the conference organizer, Center for Information Development- Management (CIDM), offers training workshops as part of its consulting business. 

Because ConVEx is aimed at content developers, who are particularly interested in software tools, ConVEx encourages the participation of tools vendors in presentations, whether in regular presentations or in “Text Kitchen” product demo presentations. The Text Kitchen was a fifth consecutive track that allowed 45-minute demo presentations with Q&A. There were 27 exhibiting vendors at the conference, a good number, but not too many, to visit.

Although this was my first ConVEx conference, it was not my first content strategy conference, as I had represented PoolParty at LavaCon last year, and I will again this October in San Diego. I am very much looking forward both to my next LavaCon and ConVEx to learn more about content strategy methods, technologies, and tools.

Interested in seeing where we’ll be next?
Head over to our Events & Webinars page for more information!

Want to learn more about PoolParty? Subscribe to our newsletter!

You may also like these blogs …

The age of hyper-personalization has dawned

The age of hyper-personalization has dawned

Being able to precisely meet the individual information needs of their customers, including with micro-content, will have to become more of a core competency for specialist publishers. In this interview, Andreas Blumauer explains the important role that knowledge models play in this and why LLMs cannot do this alone.

read more