The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot

The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Leveraging Faceted Search

In my upcoming publication Knowledge Management in Practice I detail search in a chapter called "Dude Where's my Car: Utilizing Search in KM". At the KM World Taxonomy Boot Camp I spoke about Utilizing Ontologies for Taxonomy & Content Organization and during this discussion there were questions concerning faceted search. Before the year ends (literally) I wanted to provide some details concerning faceted search:

Faceted search offers remarkable potential for putting the search experience in the hands of the user. It provides a flexible framework by which users can satisfy a wide variety of information needs, ranging from simple look up and fact retrieval to complex exploratory search and discovery scenarios.

With faceting, search results are grouped under useful headings, using tags you apply ahead of time to the documents in your index. For example, the results of a shopping query for books might be grouped according to the type of book and the price.

Each time the user clicks a facet value, the set of results is reduced to only the items that have that value. Additional clicks continue to narrow down the search—the previous facet values are remembered and applied again.

Faceted search results provide an easy-to-scan, browse and display that helps users quickly narrow down each search. The faceting tags that you store with your documents provide a way to add your own taxonomy to directly control the presentation of search results. In the end, it's about helping the user find the right information. Faceted search gives a user the power to create an individualized navigation path, drilling down through successive refinements to reach the right document. This more effectively mirrors the intuitive thought patterns of most users. Faceted search has become an expected feature, particularly for commerce sites.

However, before you get too deep into the intricacies of faceted search, it is extremely important that you develop use cases or user stories around your search scenarios mentioned earlier. A great way to get started is to identify the main concepts you would like to search (People, reports, policies, etc.); next create logical categories (start by building or leveraging a taxonomy) for each group (Engineers, Executives, Administrators, etc.) a card sort exercise will be helpful here, and finally create (or use a current) information/content model showing relationships and considering navigation paths.

This will put you on a path to realizing the benefits of faceted search!

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Santa Claus is.. was... Real?

Have you ever wondered why your parents went through all of that trouble to tell you about Santa Claus and being good in order to receive presents? Was it all an elaborate scheme that all parents had everywhere to get their children to behave albeit for a short period of time? Well as we all became older and became parents we continued to tell our children about Santa Claus… and the story… just continued!
But wait… hold on there… STOP THE BUS!!! A story this elaborate, so contrived, that has gone on for I don’t know how long has to have some basis of fact? Doesn’t it? Well I’m here to tell you IT DOES!! According to History.Com the legend of Santa Claus goes back to the third century! Originally Santa was a monk named St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in (modern day) Turkey. He was much admired for his piety and kindness, and It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. Over the course of many years, St. Nicholas's popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. In fact his feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death on December 6. This day was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe.
So, when and how did he become Santa Claus? According to History.Com, the name Santa Claus evolved from Nick's Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas (Dutch for Saint Nicholas). In addition the legend grew to its current imagery when in 1822, Clement Clarke Moore, an Episcopal minister, wrote a long Christmas poem for his three daughters entitled "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas." Moore's poem, which he was initially hesitant to publish due to the frivolous nature of its subject, is largely responsible for our modern image of Santa Claus as a "right jolly old elf" with a portly figure and the supernatural ability to ascend a chimney with a mere nod of his head!

Well as you can probably imagine the story continues…. For additional information on the Big Jolly Fella check out the Museum of Unnatural History and the St. Nicolas Center

As we celebrate Christmas don’t forget the reason for the season… a celebration of the birth of Christ (for all of us Christians) and a celebration of family and spirit of giving for all of us no matter your religious beliefs and/or spiritual connection. At this time we need to be especially kind, helpful and loving to everyone we meet and interact with. Remember when the time comes share the “true” story of Santa Claus and his love and generosity toward all!
I want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!!!

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