We often focus on searching information. But before being searched, information has to be published. It’s not only a matter of how to find the right data, we also have to think about how information is published, validated and shared.
Published because one thing that refrain people from publishing information is that it takes too much time. Tools are heavy, sometimes your have to spend ten minutes filling a form and half a minute keybording the information. It’s such a waste of time that people often give up. It’s also very important when an information isn’t up to date. If I know the information in the intranet isn’t up to date anymore, if I know what to replace it with but if updating will divert me from my job too much time I won’t share the new information.
So we have to ensure tools are barriers to publication. But it’s not only a matter of tool. It’s also a matter of process.
If an information has to be validates by 3 or 5 people before being published you face two risks. The first is you’ll never have up-to-date information. The second is to overload people who have to validate and make their task more and more difficult. And, at the end, who will decide such or such information may be usefull to another part of the organization ? Who knows about everybody’s needs ? Only people who needs information, not people who dispatch it.
So we won’t solve this problem only with better search engines. We also need flexible publishing tools and process that make information sharing and collaboration easy, whith very few validation (even no validation).
Something like social publishing, tagging and bookmarking…
At this point a new question follows : how can we define the “right information” ?