Who doesn't have this problem-- an information need, access to thousands of files, and no clue where to start? For me, the intersection of these three things always sparks waves of deja vu coupled with some pointed self-feedback on the need to better organize my stuff once and for all. Dammit.
Magnify this problem by thousands of people, decades, and dozens of administration and policy shifts and you get a sense of the challenge many agencies face with information access and knowledge management. So, the Post's announcement of LMI's Destination Innovation award* for OpenPolicy-- an in-house developed, search tool-- caught my eye.
Through program manager Gus Creedon, they've refined and advanced text-based search capabilities. But, perhaps more importantly, they've developed an approach to help clients think through a framework and taxonomy that enables better returns on keywords. They call it ontology. Whatever. The goal is to help federal programs that need something (like tomorrow) better access their own organization's working papers, key decisions, and track record on a topic.
Seems cool and handy-- though I can't think of a client problem off the top of my head that would benefit. Maybe that's not exactly true. Maybe you have to get more creative. I am working for a client facing tremendous turn-over because of retirements. This might be part of the solution for ensuring continuity. Another use might be more within the science-y or academic organizations to help them sort through past research papers and make sense of someone else's interpretatation of old data.
In any event, I love seeing organizations put themselves out there with new tools. Congratulations to Gus and LMI.
*LMI won Destination Innovation in the government category. The contest is cosponsored by the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Washington Post. Click here and follow the link in the upper right to hear Gus talk about his vision.