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LibTech 2010: Knowledge Management in an Academic Environment: A Case Study
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LibTech 2010: Knowledge Management in an Academic Environment: A Case Study

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Systems and technology for managing documents, content and knowledge have been developed in recent years to address the increasingly complex need for easy access to large collections of data and ...

Systems and technology for managing documents, content and knowledge have been developed in recent years to address the increasingly complex need for easy access to large collections of data and information. While traditional knowledge management systems do their best to aid organizations in increasing the effectiveness of the information it generates, for the most part, these systems are not as successful as desired. In many cases, while the system is working as designed, the “human element” in terms of how people approach using and sharing information is overlooked.

This case study will describe how the application of social media is improving the effectiveness and increasing the adoption of knowledge management in an academic research environment. Specifically, the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has been using a mix of social media technologies in combination with their knowledge management system to improve usability, increase the rate and frequency of use and contribution, and provide a satisfying, contextual search and find experience for their audience of senior academic researchers. The audience will learn about our journey from a large, unsorted data and document collection to what we are building now, which is a comprehensive research resource that uses a variety of social media tools, including wikis, blogs and Twitter, to manage and share our research collection internally, to collaborate within our family of international research affiliates, and to communicate our research agenda and findings to our academic community. Challenges we faced and resolved will be included, as well as costs (financial and otherwise), and our future plans.

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  • Agenda:About us: Who is the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI)?Our ChallengeMPI Portal 1.0Why it’s not *quite* right (and some days, awful)What we learned, and what we’re doing nextA sneak peak of the prototype
  • Who are We?We are an academic think tank that studies global prosperity in terms of location, place and city regions.Led by Director Richard Florida, we take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.We’re part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada
  • The Institute consists of:Two senior researchers A four-person “operations” team2-3 Post-Docs4-5 Research AssociatesVarious local and international visiting faculty and researchersA growing community of international academics and young faculty who conduct research and teach in our area of interest.
  • Our Collection:A growing library of over 2600 volumes made up of books, journals, magazines and reports.A motley collection of approximately 500 GB of research data in various formats (excel, SAS, SPSS, Stata, raw and aggregated data, plain text), journal articles, draft articles, white papers, etc.A shared network drive that continues to fill up with works in progress produced by the MPI team.A variety of other documents and data sets that are collected on an ad-hoc basis from other institutions.
  • Priority One: Get Organized!The immediate, urgent priority was to build a system to support the authoring of a large report the MPI was developing for the Premier of Ontario.We had a large team of 15 researchers who were working simultaneously to build one large report. Some where located in a single office, others were in other offices (but all within the city)We also had a series of 22 working papers being developed by 22+ academics that would be released following the report.
  • Requirements & Challenges:Site must be secure and allow multi-level permissionsFull-text searchMultiple authors collaborating on a wide variety of document types: excel files, documents and PowerPoint slidesThe researchers wanted synchronous and asynchronous sharing – sometimes, but not alwaysVersion control was an issue; who was the last person to update a document? We needed to “roll back” to previous versions now and thenThe team needed to collaborate, but also be able to work without dependencies on other team membersTeam leaders needed to be able to publish interim versions of the report to show to the client for feedback.
  • Our Quick & Dirty Evaluation ProcessWe decided to find a solution would provide a “front end” to allow users to find what they needed, quickly. The files themselves would reside on a large 6 TB server acquired specifically for MPI’s growing data collection.We evaluated a variety of solutions: Dspace, SocialText, Octopz, InMagic Presto and SharePointNone provided an obvious solution, so we decided on the next best thing: good enough for right now.
  • SharePoint was an Easy Win:Free!Already installed on serverCompliant with our IT deptGreat document mgmtVersion controlIntegration with MS OfficeSecureMulti-level user accessAccessible via webQuick to implementFree!
  • Sharepoint works… kind of.
  • EndNote for managing our citation librariesWordPress blogs for various side projects which are public (Music, Working Paper Series) and for our own internal play-spaceWikis – Confluence, specifically – for managing walled garden projects
  • We began by thinking about content, and organization, which are both important;Diving in without any planning or strategy provided us with a great way to learn about how we work, both online and offline;SharePoint works, although it’s not completely successful;We didn’t think enough about the most important component: people.
  • KM is not just about managing knowledge; it’s about mining the social interactions that create knowledge.We want to capture knowledge, and then place it in a context to the people who have created it, and have and will use it.
  • I’m looking for a community of practiceThere are lots of corporate KM groups out there, but not many in the academic spaceI’m looking for a group of like-minded colleagues who want to explore with meAre you in? Email me at Kimberly.Silk@MartinProsperity.org

LibTech 2010: Knowledge Management in an Academic Environment: A Case Study Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Social Knowledge Management in an Academic Research Environment:A Case Study
    Kimberly Silk, MLS
    Data Librarian
    March 18, 2010
  • 2. Agenda
    • About us: Who is the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI)?
    • 3. Our Challenge
    • 4. MPI Portal 1.0
    • 5. Why it’s not *quite* right (and some days, awful)
    • 6. What we learned, and what we’re doing next
    • 7. A sneak peak of the latest prototype
  • What is the Martin Prosperity Institute?
    • We are an academic think tank that studies global prosperity in terms of location, place and city regions.
    Led by Director Richard Florida, we take an integrated view of prosperity, looking beyond economic measures to include the importance of quality of place and the development of people’s creative potential.
    We’re part of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Canada.
  • 8. Who We Are: The Research Team
  • 9. Our Collection
  • 10. Our Challenge: Collaboration, with Control
  • 11. Who will use this site?
  • 12. Requirements & Challenges
  • 13. Our Quick & Dirty Evaluation Process
  • 14. SharePoint: WSS vs. MOSS
  • 15. Our Short-term Solution: MS SharePoint (on the cheap)
    SharePoint was an Easy Win (for now):
    Free!
    Already installed on server
    Compliant with our IT dept
    Great document mgmt
    Version control
    Integration with MS Office
    Secure
    Multi-level user access
    Accessible via web
    Quick to implement
    Free!
  • 16. MPI Portal 1.0
  • 17. The Verdict: SharePoint works … sort of
    What Works:
    Great integration w/ MS Office
    Web-based interface is available anywhere
    Version control is very good
    Easy to roll back to previous versions
    Easy to see who edited the document last
    What Doesn’t
    Requires users to log in repeatedly; no single-sign-on
    Dependent on IE browser; other browsers render the page incorrectly
    Limited features, especially when wanting to add feeds and other external content
    Heavy simultaneous use causes it to freeze;
    Users have to remember to access all their work via SharePoint
    Limited social media tools
    No fun!!
  • 18. In the meantime, we tried these other tools … and we like them!
  • 19. What We Learned aboutIterative Design & Rapid Prototyping
    We began by thinking about content, and organization, which are both important;
    Diving in without any planning or strategy provided us with a great way to learn about how we work, both online and offline;
    SharePoint works, although it’s not completely successful;
    We didn’t think enough about the most important component: people.
  • 20. Moving towards Social Knowledge Management
    KM is not just about managing knowledge; it’s about mining the social interactions that create knowledge.
    We want to capture knowledge, and then place it in a context to the people who have created it, and have and will use it.
  • 21. How to Improve SharePoint?
    SharePoint exists, is used, and it’s great for document management.
    But, the usability leaves a lot to be desired, and it offers very few social media tools.
    How to take advantage of the strengths, and improve on the deficiencies?
    Rewarding User Experience
  • 22. What We’re Trying Now
    Can proprietary and open source softwareget along??
  • 23. The Best of Both Worlds
    SharePoint
    It’s already installed, and our files are already there
    Our users are familiar with it
    Our IT dept supports it (MS platform)
    Lots of space
    Excellent security
    Confluence
    Better user experience (UX)
    Easy to add social media
    Easy to add external content
    Personal spaces that are easy to customize
    Lots of plugins
    Why Integrate?
    • Cross-product searching
    • 24. Content sharing between SharePoint and Confluence
    • 25. Take advantage of the easy-to-use Confluence interface, and still have our documents and data supported by IT.
  • And now: a sneak peek of the MPI Portal 2.0
    (drumroll, please!)
  • 26.
  • 27. Who Else is Doing This? Join Me!
    SharePoint and Confluence are not the only solutions. What are you trying?
    I’m looking for a community of practice
    There are lots of corporate KM groups out there, but not many in the academic space
    I’m looking for a group of like-minded colleagues who want to explore these issues with me, and find solutions
    Is anyone else connecting Confluence and SharePoint?
    Are you in? Email me at Kimberly.Silk@MartinProsperity.org
  • 28. Thank You
    Kimberly Silk, MLS
    Email: Kimberly.Silk@MartinProsperity.org
    Twitter: @kimberlysilk