Personal knowledge management FAIL!

May 05 2010 Published by under Information Science

Or maybe it's personal information management FAIL! - If you're sensitive to the difference. In other words keeping or not, organizing, retrieving, and re-using information things.

I have no desktop search. I have no desktop search at work because the only one I could get has been emasculated - it's prevented from searching e-mail or shared drives (I know, I KNOW, really). Where the vast majority of my stuff sits.

Our shared drives are very crowded and things get moved around and deleted. I periodically go through folders that I care about and label everything and move things into sub-folders that make sense (to me, so clearly this makes other people crazy because they have no desktop search either).

And today, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. Our "client knowledge base" is where we are required to record things about the in-depth literature searching we do.  The mythical "they" deleted the whole database from 2000-2009. I actually entered more data than other people - particularly for difficult ones or ones I was particularly proud of. Places I searched, search strings that worked, other terms for the same phenomenon. I figured this all out because I wanted to remember what work I had done for a guy... sigh. The guy who deleted it kept an e-mail chain proving that he was instructed to do so (do you blame him?) and also all of the records in some spreadsheets... but holy cow it's hard impossible to find something in a spreadsheet. Could I import the records into something else? Probably. But I won't because I'm supposed to be doing other things.

Luckily I save my deliverables in folders under the customer's name (on the shared drive - so this is dangerous), and although there was no word doc there, the pdfs were all saved over the course of a few days. I pulled out my handy quad ruled bound notebook from that year, and flipped through to that date.

Come to think of it - maybe it's group knowledge management fail because the only failure in my systems came from relying on the group.  We had other big fails today, but we're waiting for final word from a vendor tomorrow before I blog one of them.

4 responses so far

  • Eric Lund says:

    I have no desktop search at work because the only one I could get has been emasculated - it's prevented from searching e-mail or shared drives (I know, I KNOW, really).
    Is there any way to work around/replace Mordac as your IT head, or do the local PHBs have his back?

  • Jack Vinson says:

    Management Fail! The people who okay'd the wiping of 10 years of a database didn't bother talking to the users? Or maybe they were trying the brute force method of figuring out whether people actually use it. Why not ask instead?

  • Lynxreign says:

    They deleted 10 years of data? That's madness. Hell, whoever ordered that should be fired. There's no need to delete data! Do they have a backup somewhere so it can be restored? Other than the Excel sheets?
    Was this a database delete or some other file structure? If it was database, there should be backups somewhere that can be restored. If there aren't that's yet another reason to fire whoever is in charge, they clearly have NO idea what they're doing.

  • Christina Pikas says:

    The people who ok'd it are the people who mandated we record our info there- management fail indeed.