F1 as the knowledge management key

Or... Could a built-in "help" system be knowledge management?

The Act-KM group has been talking about Microsoft's infamous Clippy and how the MS Office and other "help" systems potentially relates to knowledge management. 

Most people love to complain about Clippy, and I am happy to join in the fight on that front.  Primarily, he is intrusive when I don't want him, and of no use when I really need help.  On the other side, Clippy usually appears with context-specific assistance, geared toward getting me through a specific task. 

As with many expert users, I turn off this kind of non-expert help and head for the F1 key when I am uncertain on how to do some arcane function.  On the other hand, when I am a novice at something (like bookkeeping for my company), I find help systems incredibly frustrating because I don't know the terminology in the program.  And in the case of bookkeeping, I don't even know the terminology of the profession.

But knowledge management?  In an ideal world, a KM system gives you what you need, when you need it, and in a language that makes sense in your world.  The "what you need" might be information in the form of a "how to," but it also might be references to related materials or even to people who might be able to help.  Yes, this is all information, but if it fits with what you need, it leads to knowledge to get the job done. 

Of course, people have been looking for this holy grail of tools for quite a while.  Maybe we'll have the capability someday to turn F1 into an intelligent tool that supports knowledge management.  For now, it is the realm of fiction (Snow Crash) and vision (Apple's Knowledge Navigator).

1 Comment(s)

Kaye Vivian said:

Jack, I have been reading the Clippy comments, too, and I like your idea of an F1 key for KM. Since you are in Chicago, you might want to visit Accenture and see if they will demo for you their KM tool that was presented at KM World in 2004. It's awesome, and exactly what you (and I and probably all KM practitioners are dreaming about!). I can probably dig up the presenter's name (he's no longer at Accenture) and maybe the name of the tool. Just send me a note. It had a main screen, divided into 9 or 12 sections, and when you entered your topic you are working on, it generated visible links (lines) into related topics in each of the boxed sections, helping you to see relationships that didn't exist previously and find people who were working on similar topics, in addition to pulling up the expected research sources...papers, patents, articles, news, etc. I believe it was created for a pharmaceutical company for their research scientists. You have to see it to believe it, and knowing that it exists is enough to re-energize anyone in the KM field! Gives us a target to aim for...in terms of technology at least. :)

Best wishes,
Kaye

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This entry was published on September 6, 2006 10:33 PM and has 1 comment(s).

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