Content Categorization vs. Contextual Analysis; Meaning, Method and Purpose
We will begin with an attempt to understand content, since that is the underlying matter or subject or item on which categorization and contextual analysis will operate, to produce possibly different outcomes, before moving on to a discussion on content categorization vs. contextual analysis.
What do we need to categorize? Content.
What do we need to perform contextual analysis on? Content, in some shape or form.
The word ‘content’ itself has two meanings. One is a feeling of satisfaction or happiness at one’s situation or how the situation is. The other refers to the subject matter or what is contained. It could be the content or contents of a story, it could be the content of a speech made by a prominent personality, it could be the content of an educational program.
Our usage of content is with reference to its second meaning. The content could be of something that is written, or a verbal discussion or speech, or an audio recording, or an image or video. It could be a story or a set of numbers. It could be a poem or an abstract sketch. As long as it has the power to communicate or express something, it could be classified as content or having content.
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Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: what do they mean?
Let us look at what the terms content categorization and contextual analysis mean.
Since the dawn of the internet age, humankind has been besieged by content. There is content everywhere. Unlike the pre-internet days when content publishing was the preserve of a few, today each one of the seven billion people in the world is a content publisher, apart from being a consumer of course.
The generation of huge volumes of content creates the need for storing it in a manner that it becomes useful to the owner of the content. It should be identifiable, retrievable when required and held securely so that it does not fall into the wrong hands.
While organizations may not have interest in the volumes of content being generated around the world, they are perhaps interested in the content that is being generated by them and for them. This data belongs to them and is their responsibility. In today’s hyper competitive world, content and data can be a competitive advantage that no company would like to forego.
Content categorization makes content useful for the future. Organizations with content to store and secure need to have a strategy for it. The strategy needs to be based on its future application and use. It defines how data is to be stored and how it is to be retrieved. It defines the sensitivity of each piece of content and the audience to whom it should be available. The greater the sensitivity, the smaller the audience. Technology systems operate based on these definitions to define access levels for the different roles and people in the organization.
Content categorization could be defined as the process of collecting, sorting and storing content in a manner that will enable easy retrieval when needed as well as access for retrieval, editing and deleting only to a defined set of personnel, or positions, based on the policy of the company.
With its talented pool of resources who have a deep understanding of content, oWorkers possesses the ability to go beyond the content categorization vs. contextual analysis discussion. Our position as a preferred employer in the communities we work with gives us access to the best talent, who are further polished by our dedicated training team.
The word context is described by the Cambridge dictionary as the situation within which something exists or happens, and that can help explain it.” Its usage could be in reference to a text or piece of literature, or it could be in reference to any other happening in the world. As an example, if we are analysing the performance trend of a certain company and find that after a few years of growth, there is a contraction in its business in the year 2020, when we go deeper in an effort to understand the reasons behind the dip and find that the Covid-19 epidemic is the main reason, it becomes the context that influenced the performance of the company in that period.
The effort we made in uncovering reasons for the unusual performance, since the last few years it had demonstrated a growth trend, can be referred to as contextual analysis.
Some people use contextual analysis to mean an extension of textual analysis. Textual analysis analyses a piece of text and draws out its meaning, in a sort of literal manner, without any reference to the context. When the context is woven into the explanation, it becomes contextual analysis.
While this usage is not incorrect, it does not encompass the entire scope of the term. Any analysis where the meaning is drawn with reference to the context, whether it is a piece of text, a game of football or a war, it becomes contextual analysis.
Contextual analysis provides a more complete picture of the situation the analysis of which is being attempted.
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Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: how they are done
Historically, content categorization has been viewed through the prism of security and confidentiality. Many of us might have witnessed examples in period Hollywood movies where words like ‘Top Secret,’ ‘Confidential,’ ‘Strictly Private & Confidential,’ ‘Classified’ were dramatically stamped on a sealed Manila envelope presumably containing the referred-to documents. They are generally related to the government or the military. That is categorization as it was known in those days. Of course, if none of those stamps found their way onto the envelope, it could be presumed that the content of the documents was for public consumption.
The world has evolved. Though processes have changed. With the rise and rise of free markets around the world, a huge private sector has come into existence. Technology and software have taken over many of the manual tasks of yesteryear. The government and military systems of categorization are no longer adequate.
Today the preference is for multi-dimensional categorization. Not only must we know the level of confidentiality of the content, we must also know other aspects about the content, like:
- What area does it belong to? Is it HR related, or concerned with Marketing?
- Is the content relevant to clients, or employees, or other stakeholders like vendors?
- Who should have access rights to retrieving and updating the content? Should it be the Head of HR or the VP of Marketing?
- What are the aging guidelines? How long does it need to be stored for? At what stage, if at all, would it need to be refreshed?
It goes with saying that digitization has facilitated this process of storage, multi-dimensional tagging and retrieval. Some organizations determine the level of availability of data and access rights on the basis of the other surrounding categories that are attached with the content.
On account of its model of employing the resources needed for client projects, against the freelancing or contractual model adopted by some competitors, oWorkers is able to create a pool of experienced resources to handle the content categorization vs. contextual analysis discussion with resources adept at handling both sides of the equation, as well as a pool of multi-skilled resources who can step up when needed.
It is difficult to put boundaries around how any content is to be analyzed. Who is to say what is the right way to analyse data? It all depends on the situation and the person doing the analysis, or for whom the analysis is being done.
One school of thought tries to break content down into quantitative and qualitative and then apply tools relevant to each. That is exactly the problem once again. Even if you have broken it down into quantitative and qualitative, there are so many ways of analyzing each, that it does not really bring us much forward.
Contextual analysis the boundaries get blurred even more. But where does contextual analysis begin and where does it end? Views differ. According to one view, all analysis is contextual. Without context there is no relevance to an analysis. It should be considered incomplete if the context is not used while arriving at conclusions based on certain content.
While there is no direct answer for this conundrum, we could perhaps use some of the techniques of contextual analysis used in the study of literature, where it is an established practice, that provides insight beyond the mere words and their arrangement, to get some understanding of how contextual analysis could be performed even in other situations.
In general, there are several questions a contextual analysis seeks to answer about the work in order to gain greater insight. Some of them are:
- Does the language provide any clue about the period; either in which it was written or the period it I set in?
- Can we draw on the personal situation of the author to understand the characters and the twists the story takes?
- What about the target audience? Is it intended for the eyes of a certain segment of the population or a certain type of person? It could even be taken a step further in an effort to understand the segment for whom it is not intended.
- Where do the morals, goals, objectives of the work draw sustenance from?
- Can we divine the purpose of the author in writing this text? Is it similar to, or different from, other works of the same author? Either way, does that similarity or difference provide us any insight?
- Does the text provide insights about the social fabric during the times the author lived in?
As you can probably make out, it is not a list that flows in any particular direction. It meanders. Each question is probably different from the others. And it is by no means a comprehensive list. To summarize, contextual analysis should be done in the manner that is most suitable to the purpose for which it is being done.
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Content categorization vs. contextual analysis: their purpose
Leveraging the content generated by or for the company, for furthering the objectives of the company, is one of the key goals of content categorization. This leads the organization towards creating a strategy in order that content can be best leveraged by the company when it is needed.
Categorization of content also serves to fulfil regulatory requirements from time to time, especially for closely regulated registered companies. This is true not only in terms of providing relevant information to authorities when asked, but also making changes if regulators mandate that it should be done. If, for example, a new regulation mandates that companies cannot store the phone number of customers, they need to be able to locate where phone numbers are stored and then delete them, as per the mandate. If information has not been categorized, they will not be able to find the numbers. And if they cannot find them, they cannot comply by deleting them.
Through an Internal Quality (IQ) team that serves as their eyes and ears, the leadership team stay abreast of developments on the shop floor and are able to intervene when the requirement arises. The IQ team also leads improvement initiatives and keeps a check on output to ensure the client does not receive sub-par quality. They monitor transactions and provide feedback and inputs to the operating units.
All relevant analysis being contextual is reasonably well established. After all, what purpose would an analysis serve if not done within a context?
Contextual analysis serves to highlight its position in the marketplace for a business when done with reference to external benchmarks. It can also serve as a gauge for internal evaluation based on contextual analysis of internal parameters.
Analysis of any type is never done for its own sake. It is always done with a purpose. The purpose usually, especially when being done by a company, is to understand the environment and position themselves for an improvement in performance in the future. It is the only period of time one can influence. The past cannot be influenced by our actions. It is done.
In short, contextual analysis serves as a key input for managerial decision-making. It is also often referred to as an ‘environmental scan.’
However, there could be other reasons for contextual analysis of the past. In the study of history, for example, context plays a key role in divining reasons for why something happened the way it did, especially when we go to a time period for which we have no authentic, recorded information available. It has to be built based on contextual analysis.
With several unicorn marketplaces as long-time clients, oWorkers understand the challenges of this work and is equipped to handle them. With centers in three of the most sought-after delivery locations in the world, oWorkers employs a multicultural team which enables it to offer services in 22 languages.
The oWorkers advantage
As one of the first BPOs to create an environment for their staff to work from the safety of home in times of the epidemic, as and when required, oWorkers has also emerged stronger from the global emergency created by the Covid-19 pandemic. With our technology, all staff can operate fully either from home or office, as dictated by the unfolding situation. Content categorization vs. contextual analysis ceases to be irrelevant when we can operate with equal facility on both.