Knowledge Management (KM) and Libraries #IL2011

Jaye Lapachet and Camille Reynolds, law firm librarians

Problem with ordering clothes. Make sure synonyms are included, even slang

What is km? capture, search, collaboration, analysis, process (incl. process improvement)

What it is not? magic, tech alone, easy

KM got a bad reputation, but people knew and trusted librarians

KM is about the content, not the container: managing the flow of the content

The focus needs to be on organizing and disseminating the flow of information.

KM is change mgt.

It’s not about technology, not a new toy, not a new task, but changing the way people think. “We want to tell the story of your work.”

Define KM for your org.
Identify a champion
Solidify support from management; bring it up at meetngs
Get buy-in from affected staff: it looks like more work
Start small, don’t try to org. everything at the beginning

Decide what problem you want to solve. Remember that problem we had? Decisionmakers love that.

Don’t kid yourself that you can do this with existing resources. make a plan, consider staff you have, but also temps, consultants. Don’t overpromise. Are there low-value tasks you can stop doing?

For a pilot, we don’t advocate buying a lot of new tools. No extra money and little extra training. Maybe there are consumer products you can adapt. Maybe IT has some extra licenses for software that they aren’t using.

Team with records and risk mgt.

One firm never had an intranet until 2007. Started “eLibrary” with electronic law books.

Put filings into document mgt. system.

Lawyer wanted one place to search. Started pilot with pbworks. Page on a legal topic: links go to Lexis and
Westlaw treatises. They were happy to help, because it exposed their content.

Working on linking into catalog, too.


  • Change mgt
  • Money
  • Staff resources
  • Time

“Do or do not, there is no try.”


Eric Bryan, Angela Gillis, Robert McAllister, librarians from Boeing:

modified III catalog and turned it into an institutional repository.

Focus on internal Boeing documents.


1. Training (if it wasn’t easy, they weren’t going to use it)
2. As little effect on library staff as possible
3. different levels of security for different kinds of documents.

Lib. catalog had a robust search engine, stored documents, and had different levels of security.

Added pages to allow users to upload docs.

Added gateway pages as interfaces.

Catalog modifications:

A 690 field for name of collection. 856 for links and security restrictions.

Search widget: HTML and JS that can go on any page. Search form that pulls from catalog.

Upload page:

Their login causes the system to add custom (hidden) fields to the form behind the scenes. In effect, letting end users do some of the cataloging.

Gateway pages: Different pages based on a common template. Pages customized for different workgroups. “Bump it” connected to internal social network, so people can recommend things. Catalog search only searches the collection relevant to them. Feed link, so they can have updated content (news, etc.).

Integration with enterprise search: library’s bibliographic data gets pushed into the search engine. So people find it there as well as by coming directly to the library catalog. About 35-40% of their searches originate there!

Over past 3 years, 25% increase in catalog.

Lessons learned:

  • find champion
  • marketing with website and social media
  • integration with search
  • go where your users are
  • gather specific requirements
  • match your services to specific needs
  • use your expertise in information science
  • users like the high-tech, high-touch level of service
  • Be clear, set boundaries as to what this service can and cannot do

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