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Finding Corporate Knowledge


Deb Hunt runs the 23 Things for SLA and is on the SLA Board with Stephen so it was a logical progression from his in Track A (Enterprise Trends) on Tue to her presentation. Deb presented three case studies to illustrate how she has worked with organizations to upgrade their knowledge access. She urged librarians to become familiar with the 23 Things—so we can be prepared to lead our organizations.

Here’s Deb’s list of “universal challenges” faced by organizations:

  • Too many info silos
  • Dirty data
  • No metadata/classification nor taxonomy in place
  • Differing needs of different groups
  • Multiple physical locations
  • Loss of intellectual capital when people leave
  • No info pro present

The first case study was an environmental firm in the Sacramento, Calif. area. The company had a traditional library, both print and digital content, a diverse staff, and an Access database. Its project began in 2007 and is ongoing. Settled on SoftLink’s Liberty – the only vendor in her list that provided a hosted solution. The intranet now needs to be totally redesigned and marketed to staff. It will provide links to both internal and external sources that are searched frequently.

These are the sources she used to research solutions:
Captera’s software finder:
Marshall Breeding’s Library Technology Guides—
Computers in Libraries Oct feature: “Helping you Buy: Integrated Library Systems”

Her second case study was an architecture/design firm in the San Francisco area. Many were using Google to search for images (which weren’t usable when copyrighted) when the firm already had 40,000 images they could have used but weren’t. The company’s intranet was so badly designed that no one used it. Their Canto Cumulus image database couldn’t handle what they needed.

Her SLA colleagues warned her off using the Google Search Appliance. She looked at other enterprise search solutions, using Captera again. The first choice, among an initial group of 43 possibilities, was Newforma’s Project Center— It’s only a partial solution—it’s only for project management and offers an architectural focus. Rather than hiring an IT person she convinced the firm it needed to hire a librarian/info pro.

Her final study was of the Exploratorium ( in San Francisco, where she also works. The organization began thinking about KM back in 2003. The library had kind of “died”—only open a few hours a week. Internal content existed in many diverse formats, both digital and print. They chose Canto Cumulus and created an internal database for staff and an external Learning Commons resource for educators. She recommends using library science interns for staffing. She stressed that there is no one solution for enterprises—even though the vendors will tell you they have it.

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, Information Today, Inc.