Personal Information Management

May 6, 2009

At our first ever SIKM-Boston face to face meeting in Feb I had the opportunity to meet Bill Ives. The conversation around the table turned to ‘how do you write your blog posts?’. The answers from around the table:

  • I use the built in WordPress editor
  • I use Word and copy/paste to my blog editor
  • I use Outlook email to craft the entry and copy/paste to my blog editor
  • From there the conversation went to ‘Well how do you keep track of information?’. the replies (greatly simplified):

  • I blog about my ideas and useful information, my blog becomes my online resource for keeping track
  • I write an email, or file my emails into folders in Outlook and use Google’s desktop search
  • I keep a Word doc with interesting bits of information
  • I write down on paper what I need to remember and what I find interesting
  • So here we have a diverse group of KMers who each have individual methods to capture, share and reuse the information they come across. My point is that KM is always focused on ‘how can we take all of this information’ and then get it into the heads of our employees. The reality is we spend little time on helping our employees manage their information.

  • If I am unable to keep up with my email, I’m sure not going to go blog about something.
  • If I am unable to search for a document within my company, why should I contribute to our collaboration space? No one will find it.
  • If I can’t find a document on my laptop, how can I share it with my team mates.
  • In the corporate world we get inundated with information through email, phone calls, F2F meetings, company town halls, more email, RSS feeds from blogs, wikis, Word docs, Powerpoint files, still more email, texting, IMing, Yammering, Twittering, Skyping, conference calls, Webex-es, webinars, Podcasts, Videocasts, and on it goes as technology marches on. Just like the ‘last mile’ is often neglected, the ‘last foot’ between the employee and computer is also neglected and overlooked. In building KM systems, processes and embedding those into business processes, yet not taking into account the diversity of information, information sources and tools to manage and consume the information we end up hurting the employee rather than helping.

    I am curious if any of you have focused on helping employees to become better consumers and producers of information as part of your KM program.


    SharePoint Conference 2008 – Day 1

    March 4, 2008

    Yesterday was the first day of the 2008 SharePoint conference held in Seattle. The keynote speech was provided by Bill Gates. He announced greater availability for their Microsoft Online Services Beta program. Previously it was limited to customers with more than 5000 users. Now its open to everyone from the big to the small. The conference itself was sold out with about 3800 attendees, so many that some were turned away from a couple sessions because they were full.

    After the morning keynote speeches, there were three breakout periods with about 30 sessions for attendees to choose from. I attended a “Deep Dive into Microsoft Online Services” with John Betz, “Buzz: Build End User Excitement” with Bob Suttan, and “SharePoint Workflows out of the Box” with Thomas Rizzo. All 3 sessions were pretty good, some of the stuff I knew, some I didn’t. The Buzz session pointed me to a site I was unaware of, their Gear Up site. Which steps you through the process of getting your users ready. The Workflow session was also quite helpful though when it comes to workflow design in Sharepoint you can use SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio or a plethora of 3rd party software. The conference has about 5 such companies. The most interesting one has to be K2.

    There are six sessions today so stay tuned for more.

    Using YouTube for sharing knowledge

    August 21, 2007

    YouTube is the poster child for much of the Web 2.0 hype. For me it seemed to be a platform for only entertainment and commercials (viral or otherwise). However, Shawn Callahan of Anecdote provided a presentation to the Systems Integrators KM Leaders group via YouTube. He’s in Australia and the timezone difference would have made a presentation hard to do. So Shawn’s presentation on “Business narrative experiences at Anecdote” is available for all to see and learn from. So intrigued by the possibility, I did searches on ‘knowledge management‘ and ‘story telling‘ and found there was some content out there (though I didn’t watch them). Shawn’s presentation is not a video of him presenting but a recording of him with a couple of slides. The effort translates well to YouTube, though a couple of the slides were hard to read.

    Here is the first of the five videos, each about 8 minutes long.

    And the links to all five:


    RSS & Reading Blogs

    February 16, 2007

    If you’ve found that you like to read blogs, except you can’t always find the time to go visit all your favorite blogs. Well one answer is to get a feed reader or other blog aggregator that will get the most recent posts from all your favorite blogs and either put them on a single webpage or will email you the latest entries.There are many aggregators out there, I think the most popular is Google Reader and there are some that plugin to your favorite browser such as Sage for FireFox.

    However, if you are inside a company firewall and there are internal company blogs you like to read, some of the external readers such as Google Reader or Yahoo may not work. Also if, like me, you spend the majority of your day in Outlook, then finding a reader that plugs-in to Outlook can be useful. I have found, and use, RSS Popper. Which is free and adds another folder in your Inbox to collect the various blog feeds. It also works great with internal blogs and external blogs.

    You can get feeds from a blog by subscribing to the blog’s RSS / Atom feed. Using RSS Popper to subscribe to a blog’s feed is a simple matter of copying the RSS link and pasting it into the correct RSS Popper field and clicking OK. You may have seen Atom on a blog page, it is just another method that a blog author/ blog site can use to syndicate their blogs. Both RSS and Atom are transparent to you the reader and as a reader, you only care about the RSS/Atom link. The feed for this site is:

    So go out and start gathering your favorite feeds into your favorite feed reader.

    Knowledge Management & Social Media

    February 9, 2007

    I recently joined the CPsquare community. They advertise themselves as “…the community of practice on communities of practice”. Today was my first taste of the community as there was a conference call to hear and discuss:

    Comm.unities.of.prac.tice 2.0; How blogs, wikis, and social bookmarking offer facilities that support learning in practice in communities of practice.” Martin Kloos’, Masters Thesis in the Business Information Systems program at the University of Amsterdam.

    Before I tell you about the meeting, I’ll talk about the Social Media I used in the meeting. The community hosts its conference call using Skype. This was my first attempt at using the service and I found it to be quite good.  I did purchase a USB microphone/headset for ease of use, however the Skype call was free. The CPsquare folks also have a chat session hosted on their servers during the conference call. The chat is then posted to the community discussion forum. And during the conference I was emailed a copy of the presentation. Though I later found it was posted to the site, newbie mistake, but John Smith was kind enough to send it during the call.

    The call itself was interesting as Martin talked about his research and the conclusions he drew, that certain Social Media are more apt for building and developing CoP than others. Martin’s work uses Etienne Wenger‘s work on Communities of Practice as support for some of his findings. Etienne was actually on the call today and provided some additional insight and thoughts on Martin’s work.

    Just as a brief sidebar. I’m not sure about you, but if I was presenting my work and I knew the person whose research I had used as support or reference was going to be in the audience; I would be pretty terrified.  Ok, back to the conference call.

    Also on the call was Eric Sauve CEO of Tomoye: The Community of Practice Company. Not much to say about Eric, but I am intrigued by his company and what their services are about, given my last post on KM services.

    I unfortunately missed the last CPsquare event which they took into Second Life and discussed its uses for CoPs. Hopefully future CPsquare events are as interesting as these last two.