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trying to improve a doc management system - where to start?

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  • aafeldman@aol.com
    Hi all, I’m very new to the group and am having a bit of trouble even phrasing my question, but I’m hoping that someone will recognize what I need and can
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
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      Hi all,
       
      I’m very new to the group and am having a bit of trouble even phrasing my question, but I’m hoping that someone will recognize what I need and can give me a gentle push in the right direction.
       
      I’ve been asked to improve the functioning of a document management system that is currently (and for the foreseeable future) based in Sharepoint with a somewhat improved front end for querying based mostly on customized attributes.  The current structure of the files is based on a mix of 1) time (current vs archived), 2) market segmentation (eg., macro vs micro), 3) groups of information that are generally requested together (eg., standard performance measures), and 4) random other topics.
       
      With the help of some documentation, I have been able to load files where they belong according to this system.  I’ve been investigating topic maps to try to find a more consistent way of organizing the info.  I think my first questions is, given the retrieval system of queries and the fact that I am the only one adding documents to the library, how much does the actual structure of the files matter, and is this an area I should be spending any time on?  There is something of an issue with findability, but I think this is largely based on incomplete or erroneous metadata in the attributes fields. 
       
      Yes, I am signed up for Seth’s upcoming series on content management, but in the meantime, any advice on where to start?  Thanks!
       
       
      Annette Feldman
      Portfolio Analytics Research Librarian
      BlackRock
      300 Campus Drive
      Florham Park, NJ   07932-1038
      973-264-2893
      annette.feldman@...
       

      Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures, email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.
    • msulli5984
      What is the purpose of your library and who is the audience? Melody
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
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        What is the purpose of your library and who is the audience?

        Melody
      • Jeff Parks
        Annette, I would say the fundamental issue is based in findability. The success of any technology, especially as it applies to Knowledge Management solutions
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
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          Annette,

          I would say the fundamental issue is based in findability. The
          success of any technology, especially as it applies to Knowledge
          Management solutions like RM/DM tools, is based on a solid
          understanding of the business culture. How comfortable are those in
          your organization in using technology, in general? Is the structure
          and labeling of the content ingrained within the organization or is
          there room to create change which will increase the organization's
          capacity (read "persons" capacity) to find information quickly, and
          intuitively?

          (Related to this line of thinking is a recent article in
          CIO Magazine about going beyond scope, budget, and time to measure
          successful IT projects – including Use, Learning, and Value as core
          requirements to measure success and failure:
          http://www.cio.com/archive/090106/applied.html.)

          Without knowing more, I would suggest the structure of the filing
          system is critical; to both the capacity of Sharepoint to recognize
          and manage the information being queried; and for your capacity to
          keep up with the various documents that come across your desk for
          storing.

          To test this theory, one solution would be to do a content inventory –
          or at least a representative sample of the documents you are managing.
          From this you can get a feel for how the content should be structured,
          labeled, organized – all of which can drive a more effective and
          efficient metadata solution – within the taxonomy. (A taxonomy
          created by an understanding of how those who are using the system
          would think to find information – not just on how it has always
          been structured, or on how you would find / organize everything.)

          Without knowing more, that's my "two cents". Am I close to
          understanding the issues you are facing or do I need another cup of
          coffee?

          Best of luck!

          Jeff Parks
          website: http://www.iaconsultants.ca
          podcast: http://iapodcast.blogspot.com/

          --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com, aafeldman@... wrote:
          >
          >
          > Hi all,
          >
          > I’m very new to the group and am having a bit of trouble even
          phrasing my question, but I’m hoping that someone will recognize
          what I need and can give me a gentle push in the right direction.
          >
          > I’ve been asked to improve the functioning of a document
          management system that is currently (and for the foreseeable future)
          based in Sharepoint with a somewhat improved front end for querying
          based mostly on customized attributes. The current structure of the
          files is based on a mix of 1) time (current vs archived), 2) market
          segmentation (eg., macro vs micro), 3) groups of information that are
          generally requested together (eg., standard performance measures), and
          4) random other topics.
          >
          > With the help of some documentation, I have been able to load files
          where they belong according to this system. I’ve been investigating
          topic maps to try to find a more consistent way of organizing the
          info. I think my first questions is, given the retrieval system of
          queries and the fact that I am the only one adding documents to the
          library, how much does the actual structure of the files matter, and
          is this an area I should be spending any time on? There is something
          of an issue with findability, but I think this is largely based on
          incomplete or erroneous metadata in the attributes fields.
          >
          > Yes, I am signed up for Seth’s upcoming series on content
          management, but in the meantime, any advice on where to start? Thanks!
          >
          >
          > Annette Feldman
          > Portfolio Analytics Research Librarian
          > BlackRock
          > 300 Campus Drive
          > Florham Park, NJ 07932-1038
          > 973-264-2893
          > annette.feldman@...
          >
          > ________________________________________________________________________
          > Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures,
          email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.
          >
        • annette feldman
          Thanks for answering, Melody. There really is no library yet, just a bunch of documents in a loose sharepoint structure. I ve been hired to make too much
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
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            Thanks for answering, Melody.  There really is no library yet, just a bunch of documents in a loose sharepoint structure.  I’ve been hired to make “too much information” which is purchased as raw data and analyses, as well as a lot that is created in house, manageable for people who make investment decisions.  I’m in the process of identifying and interviewing a cross section of users to determine the right level and different access approaches that will be needed – it will certainly not be a homogeneous group of users.

             

            Annette.

             

            -----Original Message-----
            From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of msulli5984
            Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 5:48 PM
            To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [TaxoCoP] Re: trying to improve a doc management system - where to start?

             

            What is the purpose of your library and who is the audience?

            Melody

          • Patrick Lambe Straits Knowledge SG
            I d suggest Annette you do some simple knowledge mapping [perhaps using the concept mapping technique] around typical information based activities of your
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
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              I'd suggest Annette you do some simple knowledge mapping [perhaps using the concept mapping technique] around typical information based activities of your different audiences.
               
              That will give you a sense of the "information neighbourhoods" that are contextualised to the audiences, the basic categories that they think in when they are working, and the degree of overlap or divergence in vocabulary and organising principles between them.
               
              Then you'll be able to see whether the current metadata structure supports this, and the degree to which you have to develop more.
               
              Concept mapping - http://cmap.ihmc.us/
               
              Best wishes
               
              Patrick
               
               
            • annette feldman
              Jeff, Thanks for your reply and your thoughtful insights. I should have said in my original post that I am in the process of identifying users to interview
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 6, 2006
              • 0 Attachment

                Jeff,

                 

                Thanks for your reply and your thoughtful insights.  I should have said in my original post that I am in the process of identifying users to interview with the idea of gaining a better understanding of who is currently using what and how are they currently finding it.  I have spoken at length with some power users, but they are not typical and the system need not even exist for their sake, because they can simply drill through the file structure to find what they need.  I am hoping to open the resources up to those who are, not necessarily less comfortable with technology, but whose jobs require them to balance the amount of time spent finding things with the value that is found.  In other words, if they have to look too hard, they’ll find another way to get what they want (call a techie) or do without. 

                 

                I do hesitate to change the basic structure, largely because it was created by my boss who really thinks it is as it should be and is somewhat personally invested in the system retaining his imprint.  I agree with you that the ability to manage the load process quickly is important to me working efficiently, but I’m not yet sure that I know a better structure than the one in place and feel it is foolish to risk a change without good reason, given my boss’ investment in it.  I’ve played around and tried to come up with a topic map that better suits the uses I currently know about, but there is a reason the organization is so murky – a lot of different people approach the information in different ways.

                 

                I have not had a lot of experience with Sharepoint, but as I understand the way we are using it, metadata is added as attributes to files and can be used as filters in searches.  In addition, there is a full text search capability, and filters can be combined and stored in as to have the system run standardized queries, for instance, retrieving a set of economic reports for a market that can be specified at the time of the request.  The query is run independent of the structure of the files; it is not drilling down thorough any kind of tree.  I would like to know if there are query capabilities that are structure dependent, such as geographic rollups, including all markets in a region, or some such thing.  I just don’t know the software well enough, and the IT folks are not terrifically forthcoming.  Still trying to find the right questions to ask them, too.

                 

                I will think more about your suggestions and check out the article you recommend.  I think things can definitely be improved and I do know that this will be an iterative process, I’d just like to get as close to ‘right’ on the first go round as possible!

                 

                Thanks again for your time and your thoughts, and by all means, have another cup of coffee, on me.

                 

                Annette.

                 

                -----Original Message-----
                From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Parks
                Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 6:13 PM
                To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [TaxoCoP] Re: trying to improve a doc management system - where to start?

                 

                Annette,

                I would say the fundamental issue is based in findability. The
                success of any technology, especially as it applies to Knowledge
                Management solutions like RM/DM tools, is based on a solid
                understanding of the business culture. How comfortable are those in
                your organization in using technology, in general? Is the structure
                and labeling of the content ingrained within the organization or is
                there room to create change which will increase the organization' s
                capacity (read "persons" capacity) to find information quickly, and
                intuitively?

                (Related to this line of thinking is a recent article in
                CIO Magazine about going beyond scope, budget, and time to measure
                successful IT projects – including Use, Learning, and Value as core
                requirements to measure success and failure:
                http://www.cio. com/archive/ 090106/applied. html.)

                Without knowing more, I would suggest the structure of the filing
                system is critical; to both the capacity of Sharepoint to recognize
                and manage the information being queried; and for your capacity to
                keep up with the various documents that come across your desk for
                storing.

                To test this theory, one solution would be to do a content inventory –
                or at least a representative sample of the documents you are managing.
                From this you can get a feel for how the content should be structured,
                labeled, organized – all of which can drive a more effective and
                efficient metadata solution – within the taxonomy. (A taxonomy
                created by an understanding of how those who are using the system
                would think to find information – not just on how it has always
                been structured, or on how you would find / organize everything.)

                Without knowing more, that's my "two cents". Am I close to
                understanding the issues you are facing or do I need another cup of
                coffee?

                Best of luck!

                Jeff Parks
                website: http://www.iaconsul tants.ca
                podcast: http://iapodcast. blogspot. com/

                --- In TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com, aafeldman@.. . wrote:

                >
                >
                > Hi all,
                >
                > I’m very new to the group and am having a bit of trouble even
                phrasing my question, but I’m hoping that someone will recognize
                what I need and can give me a gentle push in the right direction.
                >
                > I’ve been asked to improve the functioning of a document
                management system that is currently (and for the foreseeable future)
                based in Sharepoint with a somewhat improved front end for querying
                based mostly on customized attributes. The current structure of the
                files is based on a mix of 1) time (current vs archived), 2) market
                segmentation (eg., macro vs micro), 3) groups of information that are
                generally requested together (eg., standard performance measures), and
                4) random other topics.
                >
                > With the help of some documentation, I have been able to load files
                where they belong according to this system. I’ve been investigating
                topic maps to try to find a more consistent way of organizing the
                info. I think my first questions is, given the retrieval system of
                queries and the fact that I am the only one adding documents to the
                library, how much does the actual structure of the files matter, and
                is this an area I should be spending any time on? There is something
                of an issue with findability, but I think this is largely based on
                incomplete or erroneous metadata in the attributes fields.
                >
                > Yes, I am signed up for Seth’s upcoming series on content
                management, but in the meantime, any advice on where to start? Thanks!
                >
                >
                > Annette Feldman
                > Portfolio Analytics Research Librarian
                > BlackRock
                > 300 Campus Drive
                > Florham Park, NJ 07932-1038
                > 973-264-2893
                > annette.feldman@ ...
                >
                > ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
                > Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures,
                email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.
                >

              • Melody Sullivan
                Annette, You have a lot of foundational work to do before you can improve the library -- other than the most obvious. It sounds like you know this and are
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 7, 2006
                • 0 Attachment
                  Annette,
                   
                  You have a lot of foundational work to do before you can improve the library -- other than the most obvious.  It sounds like you know this and are doing it.  Maybe after you are finished or even during the process, you can readdress the necessary content structure of your information.  However, do not forget metadata fields, thesaurus, and keywords.  If you can't do everything, focus on the file plan or taxonomy and the required metadata elements for records management or managing the life span of your information.
                   
                  Melody 

                  annette feldman <aafeldman@...> wrote:
                  Thanks for answering, Melody.  There really is no library yet, just a bunch of documents in a loose sharepoint structure.  I’ve been hired to make “too much information” which is purchased as raw data and analyses, as well as a lot that is created in house, manageable for people who make investment decisions.  I’m in the process of identifying and interviewing a cross section of users to determine the right level and different access approaches that will be needed – it will certainly not be a homogeneous group of users.
                   
                  Annette.
                   
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com [mailto:TaxoCoP@ yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of msulli5984
                  Sent: Wednesday, September 06, 2006 5:48 PM
                  To: TaxoCoP@yahoogroups .com
                  Subject: [TaxoCoP] Re: trying to improve a doc management system - where to start?
                   
                  What is the purpose of your library and who is the audience?

                  Melody


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