The pace of change in the world of digital media is becoming so fast that today’s technology can seem in danger of soon becoming, well, yesterday’s news.
Such mind-boggling change can leave some professionals struggling to cope.
Yet COPE is what is helping many of us do just that.
What is COPE?
COPE stands for Create Once, Publish Everywhere. US public radio expert Daniel Jacobson coined the expression in his blog.
Mr Jacobson and colleagues initially devised the strategy to help spread the reach of public radio – which now comprises around 900 stations – in the US.
He wanted to alter the manner in which the stations catalogued and shared data, so that the hundreds of stations could use news content as widely and as easily as possible.
The concept has caught on fast, spreading to different sectors in the business and cultural worlds, which are now reaping its potentially massive rewards.
Perhaps the best way of explaining COPE is to compare it with translation services.
Just as we translate content for use among different language-speaking audiences, so too can content be “translated” onto different platforms.
Something that might be originally written in English, for example, need only be created once. Then it can be translated into different languages and published across the world in line with the increasingly global demand for information.
Similarly, COPE enables businesses and organisations to deliver content-based experiences throughout a wide variety of devices and platforms. These include everything from smartphones to internet-enabled televisions.
Many organisations find they reach a greater number of their target customers by offering multi-lingual content. In a similar way, COPE can also help them reach these new audiences more cheaply and efficiently.
COPE disconnects the procedure of constructing electronic content from its particular delivery requirements. The reach of material is vastly expanded if, for example, subject specialists can formulate content fast and easily to be repurposed via several different platforms.
How museums COPE with cataloguing
Museums are a good example of the use of COPE. It helps them embed digital cultural delivery into consumers’ day-to-day existence.
Specialist museum cataloguers used to classify mid-1970s exhibits on small catalogue cards – altering them with simple pen marks and the odd updates.
Today, that same cataloguer’s work would constitute the nucleus of a complex, intertwined cultural experience on the internet. This makes the information invaluable, considering the web’s growth as a magnet for consumers.
Thus, museums are nowadays brushing off their often traditionally dusty image to emerge as leaders in the message-spreading revolution, and as conveyors and publishers of highly engaging and educational digital content.
COPE case study – the British Museum
London’s British Museum is trailblazing a fresh way of putting content online and making it accessible to everyone, while keeping the context and links between the data intact.
It has created a museum data model that programmers can employ to arrive at their own conclusions on what or what not to include.
This is thanks to a Conceptual Reference Model (CIDOC CRM), which is a global standard (other museum information standards include the much-lauded SPECTRUM standard in the UK).
So what does CIDOC CRM mean?
Well, it effectively ensures that the museum’s published data arrives with its personalised users’ manual.
This programme can choose if it should feature all the data, bits of it, or just the chunks that particularly pertain to the app that museum bosses are constructing.
It allows the museum to follow the COPE plan and make sure its data is flexible enough to be used on present and future online tech developments.
There may appear one small hitch
Namely, the museum has to make sure that the data is first marked up – a massive challenge, especially for sizeable historical institutions or museums that are already short-staffed.
After all, they haven’t got the time to spend the next 10 years manually seeing to these new links.
That’s where new technology comes to the rescue.
New tools through a ResearchSpace platform are partially automating the procedure of forging worthwhile links between separate data clusters.
This benefits not only the museum’s existing data, it helps a network of museums pool and strengthens knowledge.
So COPE, along with the museum’s CIDOC CRM model and ResearchSpace’s platform, are all fusing to create a database of cultural know-how that is theoretically forever re-purposable.
By enhancing the internet’s global reach, the widest audience should be reached with constantly updatable data. Time will tell.
But tech experts caution that museums employing COPE need to have a highly organised and well-structured database in the first place for it to flourish.
What content marketers can learn from COPE
Marketing departments often have to deliver their message all around the world.
The planet has seemingly shrunk over the past 50 years when it comes to commerce, making global trade an even more lucrative proposition.
COPE allows firms to create content and then have it translated into different languages across the globe by professional translators for use on all the dominant platforms and devices in the target regions.
This way, businesses can deliver their content to their customers wherever they are, on whichever devices they are using and in the language of their choice.
Just as most tech-savvy companies are waking up to the need to engage global consumers, so the best translation agencies are adopting the COPE fundamentals.
These are key components in helping their clients make their message heard loud and clear all over the world, helping them COPE with the latest global business challenges.