Patrick Lambe has a great video presentation on information neighbourhoods.
He firstly presents a typical framework of the islands or assets of information in an organisation (eg. repository, applications, Intranet), which are glued together as a content management system, tags, taxonomy, search, etc..
He then displays a workers personal information cloud including more objects like share drives, email, phone, instant messaging, SMS, people, web, etc…
When he asked the audience how do they get things done, the main answers were: email, people, phone, web
This is a predictable answer, people go to people for help, we have conversations, we are each others filter or information scent. And of course the idea of social tools like social bookmarks, blogs, wikis and social networks is more in tune to the flow of human behaviour.
I posted not long ago about knowledge tools being embedded into our flow of work, rather than being servant and frustrated with rigid tools, or having to stop and visit islands to seek stuff, then have to dive back into our flow.
Now we can use new flexible and unstructured tools, and put our own complexity into them to suit our needs, kind of like sculpturers of flow.
Another aspect is drawing pieces from the islands of information (these filing cabinets) and creating our own interfaces, to use as a toolkit, perhaps for a project team. eg. a startpage, or shared startpage.
At the moment we can even assemble these social tools into a flow, but we wait for the day when the current rigid business process tools allow us to re-model them as movable pieces.
Patrick gives an example of a taxonomy as important for a Blacksmith when they go to the shop and look to replace one of their tools. They can use a faceted search, locating by type, size, brand, etc…
But when it comes to the Blacksmith organising their own workstation, they instead group the tools by place, that is, the tools live in the flow of where they are used.
Patrick refers to an article who call this assembly of information to meet a current task as a Taskonomy:
“…what the taskonomy does is bring the usability of the information being organised closer to the user. Taxonomists cannot remain in the back storeroom keeping the shelves tidy. They also need to venture into the storefront and see how customers need their information organised for use.”
This is what we need in organisations, we need startpages, we need integration into workflow (eg. edit this, blog it), we need re-mixing (assemblage or mashups of small pieces loosely joined), we need filtering (re-mixing feeds), we need connection and expression (blogs and networks), etc…
The taxonomy as the organised filing cabinet with many points of entry and search is great, but we need to pull pieces from it to build an on-the-fly toolkit, that is be able to arrange the information objects in the context of how we plan to “use” them.
The presentation later gets into the design and integration of information assets on a page offering, using pertinent and related information. That is drawing from the filing cabinets and presenting (or assembling) an interface for the need at hand.
An example is given of a BBC sports page of a current match score
- it also shows statistics, archive, replay, photo’s
- and related stories and actions like bookmark it, email it, rate it, print it, leave a comment
Read all about it at this post, Building Information Neighbourhoods, and the more philosophical post, How to Kill a Knowledge Environment with a Taxonomy