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Tartans, bagpipes and more

Everything you need to know about Scotland and more is available at scotsman.com, thanks to a new knowledge management solution with a Q&A format powering the Web site.

The system, which combines technology from Orbital Software and Convera, will help scotsman.com evolve from a simple repository of data into an interactive knowledge sharing and information retrieval portal. Orbital provides the Q&A infrastructure technology, and Convera provides the means to extract value from digital content.

In just six months, scotsman.com has attracted more than 400,000 users, building on the resources offered by its sister newsprint titles: The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News. The Web site organizes content from more than 50 third-party sources across a broad range of subject matter and delivers twice-daily regional news updates from across Scotland.

Says Donald Cameron, scotsman.com chief executive, “We have built on our 183-year heritage of successful publishing to deliver a highly successful online service for Scots and people with an interest in Scotland. Orbital and Convera will provide us with the infrastructure to build on this success and allow our users to exchange and identify the information they are looking for.”

Using Orbital’s Organik, scotsman.com will set up online communities in which members can consult experts and find answers or post questions on subjects ranging from sports to business to Scottish heritage. The software records the Q&A dialog entered into the site and develops a knowledgebase that becomes accessible to all users.

“We believe that people are often better routes to answers than files of information,” explains Cameron, “and we want to facilitate high levels of interaction between our users. The combined solution will allow us to achieve our objectives and ensure that the site content grows.”

Through Convera’s RetrievalWare--a search application that indexes and retrieves text, video, images and audio files--scotsman.com users can access a multimedia repository that includes such information as the story of 20th century Scotland in sound, vision and text.

“We need to capture vital information from visitors to our site and to make their knowledge available to other people,” says Cameron. “If anyone has an experience of Scotland, we want to hear about it. Although we are custodians of the site, it is designed so that everyone who visits it can help to build it and get value from it. That makes it a pretty powerful and unique resource.”

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