TRANSPORTATION KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS TASK FOR DISCUSSION ITEMS

abrupttarragonManagement

Nov 6, 2013 (4 years and 1 month ago)

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TRANSPORTATION KNOWLEDGE NETWORKS TASK FOR DISCUSSION ITEMS


NOTE: information and knowledge are considered fairly synonymous in the discussion below.


1.

Where do we go from here?

A.

I think of the knowledge networking issue as a Venn diagram. The three sets are Business
Need (What we need to capture and share), Content Management (practices about capture,
storage, retrievability….), and Technology (the enabling mechanism). I think t
he TKN Task
Force should address all of these.

Content Management
: Currently, we focus on Content Management and that is
primarily limited to library resources though we lightly touch other content silos at this
time (data, records, web pages).

Busines
s Need
: We would benefit from discussion about Business Need. What
knowledge and information does the research community produce and what do we need
to capture and share? What information activities are repetitive and can we automate
them


particularly

those that we then try to share or roll up across the nation? What
types of networking resources would we like for topical research interests in our
organizations? What medium is most effective for information sharing? What
information/knowledge legacy
do we need to leave behind us so it’s not so hard for
future research directors to understand key changes in practices?

This same discussion could be help in any other subject matter in our agencies. Are their
priority subjects for discussion? Certainly
MAP
-
21 performance metrics could be a
priority topic in which to engage. Revenue sources? What is your agency hungry to
know?

The Task Force is not intended to be just about research information. But we are using
research information as a pilot to deve
lop and model ideas at this time.

Technology
: We’ve initiated work on this through the NCHRP problem statement to
improve findability and relevance of transportation information. For now, I think that’s
an acceptable place to be until we clarify business
needs and technology needs/barriers.

B.

I’d also like to have a conversation about research that includes or addresses information
products (e.g., web portals, “knowledge portals”, databases). I believe some of the research
investments in these types of prod
ucts have underperformed. Some common issues that
arise include:



lack of host for the product


resulting in significant delays in deployment, poor
maintenance and sustainability, high costs for conversion



no or limited thought about content management
including efficient entry of new input,
networking needs, and support for findability/retrievability. These significantly limit the
uses of a product and the effective life of the resource

This week, one of the WSDOT Senior Managers commented that conver
sion of a Capacity
product will cost a lot and should have been thought of prior to this stage. Duh. I commented
that there are those that knew and were saying that but…. The bottom line is that I believe we
would be wise to clarify the expectations and

characteristics of information products that NCHRP
funds (with SCOR’s blessing) will invest in


be it the full products or the AASHTO quick response
programs. But


this needs much more discussion.

Related but different…. the Research & Development Fram
ework for Information & Knowledge
Management. At this point it’s owned by the RAC TKN TF. Is there a better home at this time?
How can we foster and support collaborative research frameworks?

2.

The TKN Task Force is library
-
centric.

I continue to hear t
his feedback. While there is recognition for the need to employ library science
to help the National Transportation RAC members and other subject matter experts have little
interest in wading into the details. And yet, resources are needed and an underst
anding of the
value and need for these practices is essential for those in a position to advocate for those
resources.

I would like the TKN Task Force to take a broader view of the issue of knowledge networking. I
have been pleased that we have more RAC p
articipation but we haven’t yet modified the
conversation to make the meeting more relevant to the RAC members. I want to do this and
need to know of your interests.

I value the participation of the librarians and the leadership that they have displayed in TKN
development. I recognize that many are solo librarians and they need to work within the limits
of their time.

3.

Knowledge Management and Knowledge Networking

So
me RAC members and their agencies are very interested in knowledge management. Specific
interests include succession planning, effective training, and retention of institutional knowledge.
It is unclear how knowledge networking and knowledge management r
elate.

There isn’t an absolute distinction between the two and they intertwine to some extent.
Generally, knowledge management is broader and addresses the “what” and “how” of both tacit
(exchange of knowledge not easily documented) and explicit (document
ed knowledge). Whereas
knowledge networking addresses the “how” of explicit knowledge. There is explicit knowledge
that supports tacit knowledge sharing. For example, information about the experts for a subject
area in each of our agencies (explicit) su
pports discussion, opinions, and concepts for
improvement (tacit).

At this time, the TKN Task Force is focused on practices that support explicit information
networking. There’s a lot to do in just this arena. The TRB Knowledge Management Task Force
is a
ddressing the broader topic of knowledge management. Bud Wright (AASHTO Exec Director),
John Halikowski (AZDOT Director), me and other AASHTO staff (and, hopefully, Anne) meet
August 1
st

to discuss how AASHTO can better facilitate awareness and adoption o
f knowledge
management in the transportation community.

4.

Do we need the TKN Task Force?

Do we, collectively, think that the TKN effort is worthwhile? I am, of course, and advocate for
the position that it is needed. I am compelled by the repeated studie
s that find employees spend
up to 35% of their time looking for information. We can’t afford that loss of productivity.

5.

Is RAC the right home?

Without advocacy by at least some subject matter experts, practices to improve information
management and netw
orking don’t have much traction. The research community is a good
advocate because understanding of current practices knowledge networking serves as a
platform for innovation; literature reviews are critical to good research; and we produce
information pr
oducts that we want to effectively disseminate.

I believe we have knowledge networking improvement needs in the research community. So
much of our work is conducted manually


what can we automate? We can’t roll up information
about our projects very eff
ectively (yes we have RiP but we can’t easily tell a story of trend
changes, for example). I just heard RAC members saying that they did work very similar to the
HVR projects and they wondered if it was duplicative or if there was opportunity for
collabora
tion. There’s still some confusion in the community about responsibilities for
management of information products. We can’t easily provide recent products to subject matter
experts by topic. While we are functional in all of these areas, we haven’t opti
mized our
workload related to information management and or the opportunities to network people and
information. We would benefit from a more strategic and sustainable mode for
knowledge/information networking.

The research community is not the only advoc
ate for this subject. The AASHTO Communications
Director has suggested that the TKN Task Force should be placed where it has broader
recognition and influence in the AASHTO Community. If this were to come to pass, there would
need to be more of a focus
on the business needs that need networking with, probably, a
subcommittee focused on the “how to” elements.