Re: KM: Organizing and Finding Content… Out of the box thinking #metadata


I’ve been experimenting with this over the years and it’s definitely a serious challenge.


We tried a graph-based metadata search engine at GE Healthcare, but – while it tested well and people were enthusiastic about it – in practice it turned out to be too slow for the average person. Navigating/searching by traversing nodes in a graph is slow and assumes specialist knowledge which may not be true. For better or worse, the search engine model of querying is what people are familiar with even if alternatives will return better results.


We sit with specialist knowledge, so the means with which Google, Bing, etc index content does not work. They can rely on reinforcement from millions of page views to single out the most likely result without needing much knowledge of the content. Our specialist knowledge is used by specialists. The report a user is looking for may be critical for them, but never have been read before by anyone else.


We need natural-language “aboutness” algorithms to index our data. Sadly, keyword-itus has taken over report-writing, so classifiers end up over-classifying content.


Which leads back to human classification of content … which is not ideal.


Would be interesting to know what other solutions and ideas people have tried?



Gavin Chait is a data engineer and development economist at Whythawk. | |


From: <> On Behalf Of Jeff Stemke
Sent: 07 December 2019 21:09
Subject: [SIKM] KM: Organizing and Finding Content… Out of the box thinking


[Edited Message Follows]

I have been working on this problem for over 25 years (Lotus Notes, Usenet). Working at a large company presents all the challenges: I don’t know where to look in constantly expanding network file folders, we can’t agree on global metadata, search returns too many irrelevant results…

The real problem isn’t organizing information, it is finding relevant information quickly. ”I can’t find anything” is the number one complaint no matter what technology you are using.

Maybe we can look at the problem in another way.

What if you could present all your metadata on one page, avoiding the nested folder/view journey? What if you could find information in just one click? What if the process helps you to think like your best experts by visualizing their Know-How?

I do expert interviews in my consulting practice. One deliverable is a detailed set of notes organized by common topics the expert used frequently when describing the work. These topics became the metadata. I then worked with the expert to create a knowledge or concept map from these terms organized in the way the expert connected them in a mental model.

This model, with the associated expertise, was instantly recognized by colleagues and managers as a valuable learning and performance asset. Recently, I was able to incorporate the metadata model into a clickable page in SharePoint. You can now see all the metadata on one page, organized in the way an expert thinks and find answers in one click. Check out a demo of this at


Stemke Consulting Group

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