It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book review, but I really enjoyed this little book (disclaimer: I know two of the authors, and they sent me a copy of it to review).
Here’s the key: the book is focused. It knows what it wants to do. It is — as the title would suggest — a “primer,” meaning it’s a simple introduction to a complex topic. This is not a large scale book that will teach how to implement “intelligent content” at your organization. Rather, this book explain what intelligent content is, and how and why it can benefit you. That’s it.
Like I said, it’s focused. And short. It’s 120-some-odd pages, with diagrams. I don’t think any chapter was more than five pages long.
That might sound simplistic, but I’ve been railing on the need for shorter books for years now. The value of this book is that your could read it on a plane flight, and that’s what we need. You could leave Chicago with no idea what “intelligent content” was and land in LA with a pretty good idea.
(As a guy that wrote an almost 400-page book, I can’t help but think I should have written a book this size instead. I read Git for Humans the other day and felt the same way. Eight years ago, I was arguing that we need shorter books, and here I am almost a decade later — praising two of them, while pitching my own book which clearly violated my own argument.)
So, what is intelligent content? It’s modular, granular content which is managed at a level which allows it to be mixed and matched to provide greater value. Making content intelligent means breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces so that you can customize it and create larger content products out of it. This is not a new idea. It’s been making the rounds for years. Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper, two of the authors of this book, wrote a much larger book about it years back: Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. There’s even a conference: Intelligent Content Conference.
But, all that can be intimidating, whereas this book is not. If you hear people talking about intelligent content, and can’t figure out what it is, then your book has arrived.