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ARCHIVED: IU Knowledge Management System (KMS)

The IU Knowledge Management System (KMS) is a Component Content Management System (CCMS) being developed to replace the legacy content management system that supports the IU Knowledge Base (KB). Using all new technologies, the IU KMS is a Java-based open source software development effort employing Scrum/Agile principles to deliver customer value in incremental releases. Following the principle of lean and agile development, the release cycle focuses on minimum viable product (MVP) that can deliver value to customers.

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The need

The ultimate goal of the IU KMS, and thus the measure of success, is it should enable higher education organizations to:

  • Identify, collect, and maintain the critical information students, faculty, and staff need.
  • Make that information accessible to them, when and where they need it.

As opposed to normal business contexts, the academic environment presents unique challenges in the management of information capture and delivery. Rather than documenting help for static products, as in a manufacturing environment, multiple entities in the higher education setting continually create and deliver services that are dynamic, broad, and sometimes unpredictable; content creation and revision are often event-driven. The KMS should leverage the deep understanding of providers about their own services, and deliver that expert information as the exact piece a customer needs.

The system itself is not the solution, but the KMS will allow organizations to implement best practices. Just as having a designer kitchen does not make one a gourmet cook, the technology using XML and DITA provides the means -- but the organization's values, culture, and processes are essential to success. The academic environment, with its innate culture of sharing, is exceptionally suited to such an endeavor.

The KMS will make it possible to work collaboratively when institutions find good partners. Each institution produces the content it needs, but that content's structure is well understood by the others because the technology to manage it is itself open and standard, allowing the potential for a porous information store.

  • For the organization's support mission, such a KMS must:

    • Allow for knowledge capture during support problem-solving
    • Enable and enhance collaboration among information providers, information managers, and consumers
    • Provide for flexible management of content through a logical lifecycle from creation through archival
    • Serve as a repository for rich, modular content that can be reused and delivered via many interfaces
    • Deliver insight into how the content is being consumed and used, continually informing its management
    • Provide the potential for meeting the best-practice needs of knowledge management (e.g., security, access, revision control)

  • The KMS must allow individual users to:

    • Search for information quickly and effectively.
      Rich metadata will surround content components.

    • Understand information's relevance and authority.
      The system will inform the level of confidence searchers can have in pieces of information (e.g., whether vetted or user contributed), allowing determination of what is credible.

    • Contribute content, ranging from text to rich media, 24/7.
      A seamless, intuitive, porous interface will have the ability to leverage other available resources.

Example use cases

  • A graduate student works part time at the Help Desk. When faced with a thorny user issue during a support call, he doesn't need to search the university's web site for the relevant text; rather, the information is immediately findable in the knowledge repository and can be pushed to the user to be consumed as desired (e.g., during phone call or sent as a mail message, link, and/or viewable on PDA).

  • A research biologist wishes to do some modeling. The system allows her to easily find expert direction about topics such as things to consider, options for available resources to run her job, optimization, and how to get necessary accounts and permissions.

Further information

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Last modified on April 01, 2014.

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