As a first-timer at the SLA Annual Conference, I was alternately overwhelmed, exhilarated, scared (right before my presentation!) and grateful - that not only were so many information professionals present and active in projects that excited me, but also that my division, KM, was welcoming and organized some excellent sessions.
For me, highlights were the spotlight session panel moderated by Ulla de Stricker and featuring Constance Ard as well as the informal roundtable KM discussions on various topics, from taxonomies to collaboration strategies. This great conference experience has definitely prompted me to look for more ways to get involved - not only to share my knowledge but also to learn from my colleagues.
All of us associated with the Knowledge Management Division extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to this year's vendor partners at SLA 2011 in Philadelphia. Without the donations and sponsorships of world-renowned companies like our Bronze Sponsor and
our division would not be able to offer the variety of programs nor depth of content during National Conference.
Special recognition goes to:
Dow Jones (Silver Sponsor) for sponsorship of "Creating Your Future the Peter Drucker Way"
Elsevier for sponsorship of "Building Successful Embedded Services Programs"
LexisNexis (Gold Sponsor) for sponsorship of " Knowledge in Judgment: Making Good Decisions"
ProQuest Dialog for sponsorship of "Collaboration Tools and Practices Enabling Knowledge Sharing"
In a LinkedIn discussion in the SLA group, I have been asking about different social collaboration suites to be used in an office. Several people suggested that the Knowledge Management wiki would be a good place to ask about this software. I have presented a table here to try to help compare them. Admittedly, the best and worst features are specific to how they relate to my organization and the context in which I would use the software.
Please feel free to edit this posting by clicking HERE to access the spreadsheet and add additional information or any missing/more specific data to what exists. Also, if there is a better place for this table to be, please feel free to move it. Any help with creating a useful evaluation of these products would be appreciated.
As I think back over the ideas shared during KMWorld 2010 http://www.kmworld.com/kmw10/ this year, the phrase "boundary crossing" summarizes my core takeaway this year. I moderated a track entitled "Optimizing Organizations through Collaboration" and many of the speakers spoke to this idea of crossing, or spanning, boundaries:
Analyzing social and organizational networks to understand knowledge gaps.
Ensuring communities of practice are aligned to the business goals and encouraging sustainability through people to people connections and participation.
Capitalizing on the power of social networks to build effective and adaptive learning organizations.
Growing expertise requires knowing your current proficiencies, setting goals, and crossing many boundaries to grow new ideas and expand your knowledge.
Organizational growth is closely correlated to individuals who are willing network and collaborate outside their normal sphere of influence. People able to span the organizational hierarchy and build internal and external networks cannot help but grow and adapt. Growing adaptive organizations, transformational leaders realize the importance of blurring organizational lines, supporting collaborative communities and breaking down silos to encourage transparency.
When I heard about the advent of a new browser a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to sign up for my beta invite! So I clicked on a link at http://rockmelt.com and got myself a "browser buddy" via Facebook. (OK, maybe "browser buddy" is a little cheesy.)
What is so special about Rockmelt? Well, actually, I've found it able to do exactly what I was hoping it would: let me organize (somewhat) most of my social network views in one area. Now, to make it work as intended, one needs to fork over one's FB password. Those of you that are security minded won't like this aspect...and truthfully, I too, get a few willies. If you want to use RockMelt as purely a browser, you can do that without logging in - just hit cancel when you launch it. But, that does kind of defeat the purpose for which the browser was designed.
If you are like me and want to know everything, having your networks active can be a tad (OK. a LOT) distracting. On the other hand, if I am in my iGoogle and something pops up on my feedreader that I really want to share quickly, RockMelt lets me do that. In fact, I could probably get rid of many of my gadget feeds in iGoogle and just run them down the starboard side of my screen!
I have 6 RockMelt invites left if anyone is interested. The good news is I still have them. The (potential) bad news is ... YOU'LL HAVE TO FRIEND ME!
Many Information Professionals have additional duties assigned to them in addition to traditional information duties. One common ancillary task is to be custodian of the organization's archives; a second ancillary task is the assignment of the responsibilities for the retention and disposal of company records. While there is some overlap between archives and records, I want to focus on what it means to be responsible for a company's records. This is one way to show your value to your organization by developing a records retention policy and implementing it. This will allow you to show the cost savings that you have achieved by this process. This records retention process needs to be reviewed and signed off by your organization's house counsel before implementing it. Once this has been done then you can start consolidating records including disposal of documents and reformatting the remaining documents. Be sure to take proper precautions in shredding documents.
Undertaking a records management project will allow you to work with all departments within the organization, increasing your visibility. In developing the records retention program you need to carefully explain why this is being done and that once the process has been adopted, all departments are expected to participate. Your diplomacy skills are going to be needed during this process because many people are very fond of their records and will attempt to keep them. It needs to be clearly spelled out that office space and off-site storage is going to be reduced. You will need to explain that the process is safe, reliable and more cost efficient.
In today's economy a good records retention program is an excellent way to justify one's position. --Judy Field
The SLA Knowledge Management division has some wonderful opportunities for leadership. What I like about the symbol of the compass as a sailor is that although the winds may influence aspects of your course, the decisions on where to go are influenced by the crew (or leadership) of the individuals who have committed their time to serve. Positions we want to fill immediately and other positions are planned to transition in January 2011.
We have the following positions available for nomination:
Chair-elect - 3-year term - starts with Chair-elect then leads to Chair and Past-Chair/Nominations.
Assistant Treasurer - 3-year term - starts with Assistant Treasurer in order to transfer responsibilities, Treasurer, and then Treasure/Mentor to groom up the next Assistant Treasurer.
Director(s), Marketing - NEW 2-year term approved/voted on at June Board Meeting.
Director(s), Strategic Planning - NEW 2-year term approved/voted on at June Board Meeting.
There are also a number of non-voting roles which may be of interest to you.
Listserv Manager - SLA KM Members and SLA KM Board listservs.
Vendor Relations Chair/Fundraiser Committee - 2-year term looking to fill immediately. The lead in this position may also want to pull together a small committee to help solicit sponsors for our 2011 KM Division's programs which helps to recover/reduce the cost of our programs and for advertisers/sponsors for the Division website.
Wikimaster/developer - 2-year term to be filled immediately. Some experience with Confluence would be good.
The SLA KM division has developed a low-cost learning opportunity for our KM members. Virtual conversations are a way for our members to connect with leaders in different areas who are willing to share their expertise on the three primary principles of KM: People, Process, and Technologies. Our next conversation is with Michael Sampson who is a collaboration strategist, helping organizations improve performance of distributed teams. To review additional information about Michael, the date of the virtual conversation at the end of October, and to register via our wiki, please visit the following page: http://wiki.sla.org/display/SLAKM/Virtual+Conversation+with+Michael+Sampson.
SLA Division Cabinet Chairs (Past Division Cabinet Chair Tom Rink, Division Cabinet Chair-Elect Mary Ellen Bates, and Division Cabinet Chair Ann Sweeney) announced the approved formation of the Records Management (RM) Section of the Knowledge Management Division on August 17, 2010. The SLA Board of Directors was informed of this action during its August 12 monthly conference call. This announcement will also appear in a forthcoming issue of "Information Outlook."
Earlier this year, KM Division Chair Karen Huffman informed SLA Leadership at the June Division Cabinet meeting and via email to the Leadership discussion list of the division's intentions. Further, Karen contacted chairs of other SLA divisions with potential objections to the creation of this section, as well as the convener of the Archival & Preservation caucus. Each of these division chairs and the caucus convener responded in writing via email that they had no objection to the formation of this section. More than the required number of division members' signatures were obtained for the accompanying petition.
The new section, to be chaired by Judy Field, has this scope note: The Records Management (RM) Section focuses on the characteristics and processes through which organizations manage the full knowledge cycle of records in all formats including the creation, organization, sharing, storing and either preservation or disposal.
If you are currently a member of the Knowledge Management Division, you may add the section at no charge. To add the Knowledge Management Division to your existing membership, go to the Change/Add Units Form. If you are not currently an SLA member, please join.
We are thankful to SLA HQ and Division Cabinet Board on their guidance and framework offered to make the process of applying for a new section happen in less than two months!
SLA Leadership and KM Listserv on August 17, 2010.
I would imagine that most of us in Knowledge Management roles spend a fair amount of our time providing coaching and tools to help our organizations connect across geographic and organizational distances. As I signed up for the August 24 Virtual Conversation with Karen Estrada I realized that SLA in general and the KM Division in particular are doing more modeling of the behaviors we often recommend to our users:
Share information via collaboration spaces like wikis instead of email attachments
Organize more virtual meetings to include a broader range of participants
Schedule opportunities for additional learning and discussion in between large formal meetings
Use available tools, like Skype, to connect people easily and inexpensively.
These 'lunch and learn' virtual sessions (or breakfast or high tea or dinner, depending on your location) are a great way to keep the conversations going between Annual Conferences and a chance for all of us to learn more about virtual collaboration. It requires a somewhat different mind-set to connect to a group online versus sitting down face to face in a conference room, however it opens up a lot more opportunities for expanding our networks and learning.
I found myself more scattered than usual at this year's SLA Conference, since I was representing my chapter as President and attracted to career-focused sessions in search of the new, best setting for my particular skill set. I did manage to attend several sessions that, when considered in aggregate form, provide some good food for thought regarding human knowledge and the "perfect storm" of evolving information consumption in which we find ourselves.
As I was listening to Nicholas Carr espousing the theories from his newest book, The Shallows, during the closing general session on Wednesday, it occurred to me that some of what he was sharing as documented brain research might be in direct contrast to David Snowden's Rules of Knowledge, which I have found to ring true when working in distributed organizations suffering from the disease of siloed practices. Referring to the exponential rise in use of social technologies across the globe, Carr cited multiple medical researchers who substantiate his claim that "When we take information in in a distracted way, we learn less and comprehend less than when we take things in and give them our full attention. Things like comprehension, reflection, and deep reading don't happen."
Snowden has studied human learning across multiple cultures, slicing and dicing behavior from an anthropological and ethnographic perspective. He claims that humans are actually evolved to handle fragmented patterns of information (number four on his list), and attributes the wide adoption of Twitter and social networking sites to the natural fit that they have with our evolved learning preferences. Two of his other rules, "We only know what we know when we need to know it" and "In the context of real need, few people will withhold their knowledge," have served me well when advising managers of communities of practice. Most people are so consumed with their own projects and tasks at hand that they can't possibly retain everything that they read and learn about every minute. That's why I love Delicious, the social bookmarking site - because when I see something that I know may come in handy later, I save it there and tag it where I know that I can access it at the point of need. I may not have taken the time to read the entire piece when I saved it, but I can search my subject tags or I may remember the fact that I saw something on the topic and probably bookmarked it. When a colleague or client asks me for something along those lines, I will take the time to go look for it, and will probably study it more so that I know what I'm actually sending to them and can assess whether they may need more on the topic.
Communities of Practice and social technologies work because they allow folks to query one another at the point of need, and the social structure of these environments rewards sharing, not hoarding - at least it should, and if it doesn't, then you need to bring TL&D, HR, and senior leadership to the table. "Skimming is becoming our dominant and preferred way of gathering and making sense of information of all sorts," says Carr, adding later on that "What we are doing when we multi-task is we are learning to be skillful at a superficial level...To be everywhere is to be nowhere."
While Carr rattled off a number of learned medical scholars and some pretty compelling findings, perhaps new and different doesn't equate to bad. Information is certainly cycling exponentially faster these days, and there is perhaps a Darwinian reason that those who cycle ideas and innovation through the extraction of meaningful nuggets in fragmented form will end up being the ones rewarded in a global economy. One might even argue that things are cycling so fast that becoming entangled in the "paralysis through analysis" loop would equate to missed opportunities.
Perhaps there is a fit of the two sets of theories to be found in what Snowden claims to be the most important of his rules: "We always know more than we can say, and we will always say more than we can write down."
I wrote a blog post recently about tacit knowledge, conveying the concept through an experience that I had with my husband in a gardening center in May. He had asked me how I came to know which plants to pick so efficiently for all of the containers and locations around our yard. The answer involved fourteen years of trial and error, observation of growth and exposure and animal patterns, and tolerated levels for maintenance - way more than I could possibly convey to him in a simple answer. It occurred to me that if someone asks you something that makes you very uncomfortable because it would be way too much to explain easily, you are probably in possession of a lot of tacit knowledge on that subject. How do we normally pass this type of know-how on, then? I would argue that we do so naturally in fragmented form, and at the point of need. Work along side me while I'm doing it and I'll explain it to you, walk the perimeter with me when I'm mapping it out so that you can hear me thinking and planning - that will sink in much better than if I hand you a long workbook on the subject. My husband still retains a certain bitterness when he reminds of how, years ago, I made him read all of the rules for backgammon from the book and then had him transfer the main points to me in a matter of minutes, then I beat him soundly at the game.
The point of commonality is in the anecdotal process - the need for people to explain things to one another and to ask questions around the points of dissension or lack of clarity. We may not be reading long, printed documents the way we once were, but we will need to help people make sense out of the fragmented patterns as they emerge through various methods of facilitation and sharing.
The colleague sitting next to me at Carr's lecture pointed out that I was the very poster child about whom he was speaking - tweeting back to my chapter, taking notes on my laptop, looking up his book and the reviews on it. For me, the experience was enhanced because I could seek out and incorporate the knowledge objects associated with Carr's topic and disseminate what was happening to my constituents who were not able to attend. Perhaps we as information professionals are more prone than the average person to this malady, since we are curating so much of the world of information for others. What do you think, did I absorb anything?
Our next SLA KM Board and Advisory board will meet the third week in July to discuss our recommendations for the 2011 programs based on YOUR feedback! So, While the 2010 annual conference is still fresh in your minds, please take about 7.35 minutes to complete a short survey about the quality and type of programming offered this year in New Orleans: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010SLAKMAnnualPrograms. A special thank you to our GOLD sponsors this year: Dow Jones and Lexis Nexis.
Enter to Win a $25 Gift Certificate from Amazon
The KM division is giving away $25 Amazon gift certificates to any KM member that blogs on our site a KM-sponsored CE or annual conference program. Please click on the link to review criteria for submitting your post before the deadline in mid-July: http://wiki.sla.org/display/SLAKM/2010/06/03/Win+%2425+Amazon+Gift+Certificate+for+Contribution. Thank you's to KM committee member Penny Sympson's company Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. for providing these gift certificates.
Proposal for a New Records Management Section
Judy Field proposed the formation of a new Records Management section under the KM division. The proposal was approved by the SLA KM Board on Sunday, June 13, 2010. The proposal was next presented to our KM members during the annual business meeting on Tuesday, June 15, 2010, and 14 KM members approved the creation of a new Records Management section; there were no objections. Please review the scope note below and vote as to whether you approve or do not approve the formation of a new Records Management section under the KM division:Scope note: The Records Management Section focuses on the characteristics and processes through which organizations manage the full knowledge cycle of records in all formats including the creation, organization, sharing, storing and either preservation or disposal.
Make sure you have your MEMBERSHIP ID and then click on the following link to VOTE today: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFhWcU8wYXhBWDN2OHpHOWdSWkUyOWc6MQ!
Thank you for your commitment to KM and your ideas. We are not a division without you!
Have you ever thought about taking on a leadership role within the KM Division? We are still the fastest growing division within SLA and I believe we represent the future of 'information professionals'. Come and sit in on our Board meeting on Sunday afternoon if you are in New Orleans and see first hand the work we do.
This is not an onerous task. If I can work for the SLA KM Division from Australia then anyone can do it.
Please think about how you can make a contribution to the future through the KM Division.
Details of the KM Division roles can be found at our wiki site on the SLA web site.
Blog about a KM session and have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
The KM division is giving away $25 Amazon gift certificates to any KM member that blogs on our site a KM-sponsored CE or annual conference program (see criteria to win below). Please visit our 2010 annual conference program for sessions that may interest you the most. Special thanks to KM committee member Penny Sympson's company Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc.www.wje.com for providing these gift certificates.
Criteria to Win
SLA KM member in 2010. No member will receive more than one gift certificate, but we encourage members to write posts for any KM session they attended.
One gift certificate available for each KM-sponsored CE or annual conference program.
Although you may want to add you article to your personal blog, in order to qualify for the contest, your article must be posted to our SLA KM eBulletin/blog.
Blog posts will be judged by the KM Board on the quality of the post and any discussion that might ensue. In case of tie (in quality), first posted wins. We encourage KM members to think in terms of not only words to express ideas shared but also develop graphical representations to visually record the ideas shared and your reflections. These might include mind maps, concept maps, napkin-talk type sketches, or rich pictures to express what is only possible through visual representation.
Suggestion for content may include a brief discussion on the topic covered and didn't cover, quality of speaker(s) and format, your key takeaways, your actionable items, photos or visual representation of core ideas, etc.
Under the SLA KM eBulletin/Blog, click on Add New Item link in the top center of our home page to add your winning blog post.
Submit your post to our KM Board/Committee judges, through our online form. Make sure to have your SLA membership ID, title of KM-sponsored CE or session, URL to your article on our SLA KM's eBulletin/blog.
Leave your comments below or send emails to Penny Sympson | psympson (at) wje.com.
Tom Rink asked me to share the following opportunity.
The 5th Annual Knowledge and Project Management Symposium in Tulsa, Oklahoma (August 4-5, 2010) call for presentations. Deadline is June 1, 2010. The KPM Symposium is a blended industry and academic event. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa partner to hold this conference. It is held each year in August on one of the university campuses. The KPM Symposium also welcomes an affiliation with professional societies representing professions who have an active role in either Knowledge Management or Project Management. Information on those organizations is available on the conference website.