I recently celebrated five years working in a law library. I graduated with my library technician diploma eight years ago, and yet I still feel new to the library world. I think part of the reason for that is I have a relentless curiosity about everything, so I’m always asking questions. My latest wonderings today are about Knowledge Management
My knowledge of Knowledge Management is self-taught; what I’ve read on blogs and white papers, and what I’ve gleaned in conversations with KM practitioners. I’ve been thinking about it a lot more lately, since I recently left one firm to join another. I tried to leave notes wherever possible, but of course, a lot of my knowledge didn’t get left behind. And in my new firm, there are areas where I have to start from scratch as well, even though the previous librarian did a much better job of leaving a trail than I did.
There isn’t anyone taking on a KM role in my new firm, so I thought I would try to develop it. I’ve been trying to get my head around knowledge management as a discipline. While browsing through my rss feeds, I see that I’m not the only one trying to understand and implement this concept. A guest post on 3 Geeks and a law blog (KM: The Big Room by Ryan McLead) posed the same question. Fortunately, I also came across Guy St. Clair’s series of blog posts on how to introduce KM into an organization. So I have a few places to start.
As with all new projects, the first thing to determine is what I want to achieve. In simple terms, I want to leave a roadmap of my work so that if I’m hit by that proverbial bus, someone can step in and take over without a huge delay. Applying it overall to the firm, I’d like for anyone to be able to access and retrieve anyone else’s work product. This is where a document management system would come in very handy. A controlled vocabulary is a must as well. I can see that just getting started is going to be a challenge!
I know that KM is more than a technology solution, but I’m not quite sure what else to include. I will be reviewing Guy’s posts very closely, as well as other blogs on KM. Please feel free to offer any other suggestions for developing a KM strategy in the comments.
Mary Abraham’s Above and Beyond KM
Once Were Lawyers (Ryan McLead’s follow-up post)