The Knowledge Network (KN) seems to be an expertise locator, I’ll briefly mention the similar services so far.
Ziki also does a great job in getting to know a person, ie. once you have found a person, you can read their content (re-syndicated from the various services they belong to).
So with Ziki and Yedda you can find an expert via a people tag cloud…KN goes further than this as it combines SNA (Social Network Analysis) with an expert locator, it helps you find the most relevant person to you.
I’m not sure if KN will allow you to browse a people tag cloud.
NOTE: Yedda is different than Ziki, as it is a Q&A service rather than a personal content service, although both are expert locators.
In KN, a user can manually assign themselves keywords, or let the system mine specific email folders, and email and IM contacts.
It doesn’t just scan your IM and email to assign keywords, but it also uses this as an SNA tool.
eg. if there are 2 experts about “blogs”, and you have corressponded with both, or corresponded more with one of these people, then this person is chosen as the most relevant expert for you.
NOTE: this is not document search, and it’s not a Q&A srrvice, it’s people searching and profiling.
What I like about Yedda (expert locator and Q&A service), is that if you can’t find an expert, then you can just ask a question to the community, and Yedda will also go further and invite Yedda users to answer your question (these users profiles are matched to the text in your question and the tags in your question).
The way KN works is you allow the system to mine your contacts and various email folders, it will then suggest keywords and contacts, and you can choose to accept these, or create your own.
This will happen on a frequent basis, this will keep up with what you know currently, what type of a topic expert you are now compared to 2, 6, 12 months ago. This also applies to your social network, who are your current important contacts.
One of the KN blog posts says that so far it is trying to extract concepts/meaning from emails as this document format seems the most rich with tacit knowledge. To add more document sources would require more time and money and fine tuning.
Another of the KN posts, goes through the benefits:
- people are lazy to manually describe themselves (and will they be accurate), mining your emails is an alternative, as it is honest and real…but, the system may not be aware you’re an expert at something unless it is frequently apparent in your email content.
- updates make sure that new contacts you frequently deal with and new topics you have become proficient in are added to your profile.
- bad recall (can you honestly remember all your important contacts or your social network, well you don’t have to as KN does it for you)…this also applies to all the skills, topics you are good at, but have forgotten.
- most expert locators result in certain people reaching burnout due to over demand, KN attempts to hook you up with an expert, but the most relevant expert to you
- personalizing contacts and keywords according to your social relationship with others (SNA), helps you find not only the expert, but perhaps the expert you are most familiar with, but not only that, in a timely fashion.
From their post:
“…when your colleagues use SharePoint Server’s search facility to try to find someone with a particular area of expertise or particular contacts, the KN server responds to the query with personalized results that are displayed according to social distance and inferred relationship strengths, which were calculated by the innovative algorithms that we’ve developed.”
- this post, also mentions a search where you can find people who know someone (this extends the SNA concept, I wonder if from these results it would choose an appropriate person for you).
I really think expert locators are going to take off for knowledge management, sharing information in repositories may be a help, but connecting with the author can give me context and insight into how they think…it also helps form relationships, this is much more tacit sharing than previous methods.