Posts Tagged ‘knowledge management’

Went to the OU Tulsa Student Association (OUTSA) meeting tonight.  Cynthia Patterson with the Knowledge Management Society was there–I think she said she was standing in for George.  I need to double check with George, but so far, no one seems to know if the OU School of Library & Information Studies has a student representative.  If there isn’t one, I may give it a shot.  I want to make sure SLIS and OLISSA are properly registered and represented in case we need to solicit funds from OUTSA for activities.

Items of interest (for LIS/KM students) at the meeting included the announcement that OUTSA officers and Student Affairs will be selling 2-gig flash drives for $14, which is supposed to be a pretty good deal.  As a representative from the IT Dept. was present, I asked if it was possible to capture the AV feed from meetings conducted between Norman and Tulsa, such as OLISSA meetings.  This would make it possible to post recordings of meeting proceedings or guest lectures online.  Apparently it is possible, and I got the name of the person I need to contact to set it up.  However, it was suggested that we consult the legal dept. regarding posting such recordings on the Internet for general access due to privacy concerns.  I will make contact regarding capturing the AV feed tomorrow, collect information, and then report my findings to OLISSA at the meeting Wednesday night.  The next OUTSA meeting will be Sept. 25th, 2008, at noon.

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Okay, so, more about the Knowledge & Project Management (KPM) Symposium.

The panel discussion on Digital Libraries featured Anne Prestamo, Associate Dean for Collection and Technology Services at Oklahoma State University, and Gina Minks, Imaging & Preservation Service Manager for Amigos Library Services.  Prestamo discussed the definition of “digital library,” and provided some examples of digital collections, including organizational intranets, Google Books and the Valley of the Shadow digital archives, for example.  Prestamo discussed how digital collection curators should consider the organization and presentation of a collection in terms of prospective users.  She offered the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System as an example of a collection that may be organized in a way that is intuitive to astrophysicists, but less so for non-astrophysicists.  Other collections mentioned included Purdue’s data curation projects and institutional repositories as a means of capturing university output such as white papers, conference presentations and theses.

I never thought of it this way before, but I guess one might say that in my last job I developed and maintained a digital collection of grant applications, including profiles of and correspondence with local foundations.  It was a collection only accessible to the administrative staff, but it fits the criteria as a collection of information objects, organized to support access and usage, and available via digital means.  I maintained folders on the server for each foundation, including gift history, Form 990s, giving guidelines, and grant proposals organized by year of submission.  My collection provided the historical data needed to inform future requests for funds, proposals more likely to be accepted because of similarity to past requests that were granted.

Gina Minks discussed digital collection details including standards, quality assurance, file formats and preservation.  Dennis asked a question about where to draw the line in terms of preservation through digitization—how do we determine whether a piece of information is worth digitizing and preserving.  I think that question is too situational for an easy answer.  As Ruth shrewdly pointed out, what is garbage to one person may be an informational jackpot to someone else—quite literally if the audience happens to be the FBI.  The topic of preservation and born-digital information (like this blog) got me thinking about how archives are changing.  I remember how awe-inspiring it was to see rough drafts of Emily Dickinson’s poems in the University of Tulsa’s special collections, and I wonder how many rough drafts will be preserved in the next fifty years?  I used to write everything on paper and transfer it to the computer later.  Now so much is born digital, drafts overwritten and lost as the newest version is saved.  Again, Ruth said it best: we are losing the process of writing.  Or at least evidence of that process.  Unless overwritten data is preserved beyond my knowledge, like some digital palimpsest.  They say nothing deleted is ever totally gone.  But if it is inaccessible to all but a few technical gurus, the data seems as good as lost.  I wonder what archives will look like in the next century?

Back to the KPM Symposium, Martha Gregory of the Tulsa Library Research Wizards provided some excellent resources in the panel discussion on Strategic Intelligence.  Dun & Bradstreet, economic census, PIERS, Plunkett and many more provide a variety of information about corporate undertakings.  On a side note, Dun & Bradstreet and the Central Contractor Registration have given me quite a headache in the last few months as I struggled to procure and register a DUNS number for The Salvation Army’s federal grant application process.  I think the numerous territories, headquarters, outposts and area commands of The Salvation Army really threw D&B for a loop in terms of DUNS number assignments and appropriate affiliations.  Miraculously, everything finally passed D&B, CCR and IRS approval on my last day of work.

While we manned the information/registration table, Dennis gave me his sales pitch on the value of podcasting, and how it could benefit OU and the School of Library & Information Studies.  I have to thank him for turning me on to iTunes U—I had no idea so many free lectures were floating around out there.  Yesterday I downloaded a lecture series on open source software from UC Berkeley.  The sound quality’s not perfect, but it’s interesting stuff.  I found a podcast audio tour of the Yale library, which is interesting, but I think an audiovisual version would be more effective.  In any case, I agree with Dennis that podcasting selected OU lectures and conferences would be an excellent educational and marketing tool for OU and the SLIS.  What if the OU library websites had a podcast library orientation new students could download?  Podcasts for how to use the catalog or how to conduct research in ESBSCO databases and online journals?  I’m going to try to find opportunities to promote and support podcasting efforts through OLISSA and the student association, if I can.

Well, that’s all the musings my muddled mind can muster for this evening.  To bed, to bed, to bed.

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I’ve been attending the Knowledge and Project Management Symposium this week.  Three hours of pre-conference prep work and a couple hours assisting with check-in each morning earned me free admission! 

Today I attended Ken Lackey’s keynote speech on the knowledge economy and the aerospace industry, and panel discussions on digital libraries, information literacy, and strategic intelligence.  OU-Tulsa’s Stewart Brower promises to post his lecture notes here, regarding information literacy, and here is the e-journal he founded, Communications in Information Literacy.  I have to say, Brower’s enthusiasm is infectious!

Also enjoyed hearing Dr. Tom Rink‘s take on strategic intelligence.  The Tulsa Police Dept.’s interactive mapping application is one way in which information has been made more accessible to the public.  I’ve used this feature to identify and document high-risk Tulsa neighborhoods when conducting research for grants to support The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs.

More thoughts to follow as they crystalize…

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My boss has a bit of a knowledge management problem.  A knowledge management problem in the form of four large U.S. Mail tote boxes full of mostly unlabeled stacks of papers and files.  It’s really not his fault–the man is grieviously overworked.  On a quiet day he works until about 7:00 pm; on busy days he works till 10:00 pm.  I’ve seen him pull all-nighters where he finally goes home at 6:00 am to shower and shave, and then come back to work.  He desperately needs a secretary, but the problem with nonprofits is there is always more work to be done than people to do it, and funders prefer to support organizations with low overhead expenses.  Something like 85 cents of every dollar donated to my agency goes straight to client services, which is phenomenal–over and above most nonprofits.  But some staff really struggle to meet the demands of the job with so little help.  And it really seems unfair when the long hours take them away from their kids, as in the case of my boss.

Anyway, I’ve offered to put in some extra hours between semesters to try to help him get his files in order.  God forbid anything should happen to him, because the agency would be up a creek without a paddle if they needed to locate a document in his office!  One bonus is the agency is finally crawling into the 21st century by adopting some technological advancements (that were adopted everywhere else at least eight years ago).  We finally got the scanner function enabled on our copy machine, so we can scan multi-page documents and save them on the server in under two minutes, rather than taking 30 minutes or more to scan one page at a time on a desktop scanner.  Huzzah!  It’s completely ridiculous how exciting this is to me!  But scanning at a snail’s pace has taught me appreciation.  I’m betting my boss’s file situation would benefit from scanning and saving some of the most important documents on the server.  Because, thanks to recent IT developments at my agency, I can now open a 50-page document on the server and send it to print on the copy machine (which is at least four times as fast as my desktop printer), rather than having to wait for it to print on my desktop, then go make copies!  Will wonders never cease…

When you’re scrambling to meet a deadline, the minutes count!

And now for something completely different, I thought this was a lot of fun!  If you think of a good Tom Swifty, leave a comment!  I thought of:

“Which surgeon did your rhinoplasty?” Tom asked nosily.

My favorite one from Wikipedia is:

“They had to amputate them both at the ankles,” Tom said defeatedly.

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Whew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks.  My boss is kindly working with me to develop a plan to decrease my hours to 30 per week, so I can devote more time to school.  Currently, the plan is that I will take over the donor database management work of an employee who is leaving, teach grant writing to another employee who will move into my office with me, and eventually, once she is comfortable with the grant writing and contract processing duties, I’ll be more of a subsidiary grant writer, at least until I get a job in the library field.  This should allow me more flexible hours, but I suspect it’s going to take me about a year to train the new grant writer.  I don’t know when my shorter hours will kick in, but hopefully by the end of May.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to learn the database management job and assist with some special events work on top of all my usual grant writing and contract processing.  The database work isn’t hard, but doing the work of two people is tiring.  The good news is I’m taking a week of vacation from work to write final papers and catch up on reading assignments.  The not-so-good news is that when I get back to work on April 28th, I will have only two weeks to write our annual Emergency Shelter Grant and Community Development Block Grant applications if I’m going to be able to submit them to divisional and territorial headquarters for approval before submission to the City of Tulsa.  …which is kind of required. 

Plus the training for the new online application process for submission of U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development Supportive Housing grants should be starting soon.  HUD promised training sessions in April, but we’re rapidly running out of April.  I just hope the government isn’t still writing code for the submission portal.  When Tulsa has 1.5 million housing dollars on the line, you want the submission process to be smooth.  You want the submission portal to not crash on you at the last minute.  Well, one day at a time.

As the grant writer for a local nonprofit which provides homeless services, I participate in Continuum of Care (CoC) meetings, in which the majority of area homeless service providers meet monthly and collaborate to improve homeless services.  Plus, seven or eight of us submit the HUD Supportive Housing grant to the City of Tulsa each year, which is then organized and submitted by The City of Tulsa to HUD. 

We’ve been struggling with a bit of a knowledge management problem recently, as the City of Tulsa employee who has traditionally prepared Tulsa’s submission to HUD resigned last fall.  Typically, HUD submissions are made in April or May, but luckily, the new online submission process has delayed the submission schedule this year, because the City of Tulsa has only found us a replacement CoC liason in the last couple weeks.  I don’t envy the new CoC liason as she struggles to pick up the responsibilities of her predecessor.  She has a lot to learn in a short amount of time, definitions of chronic homelessness, the hold harmless clause, the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and the manadatory exclusion of domestic violence victims’ data from HMIS… 

I can’t believe the City of Tulsa left us hanging for so long.  If HUD had been on schedule–which, granted, it never is–Tulsa could have lost a lot of money, and a lot people would have been out on the streets instead of working towards self-sufficiency in supportive housing programs.

I guess that’s enough ranting for now.

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