In Part 1 of this series, I introduced Capture as part of a knowledge management program. This part covers capturing content.
The kinds of content typically captured are documents, communications, and training. Following are details on each type and how to capture it.
A document is the electronic equivalent of a piece of paper printed with text and graphics. It typically contains written information and may also include images.
Customer documents, ones that are used for or relate to clients, include brochures, specifications, product descriptions, proposals, presentations, case studies, and testimonials. Some of these documents are used in general marketing to prospects and some are used to sell specific solutions to individual customers.
Some customer documents are created for marketing campaigns, and some are created as part of sales efforts. The latest versions of brochures, specifications, and product descriptions should be stored in a library of marketing materials and updated whenever they are revised. Proposals and presentations should be captured at the end of the sales cycle, cleansed of customer-specific information, and stored in a sales database. Case studies and testimonials should be captured after wins and stored in a case study collection.
Internal documents, ones that are used inside organizations, include documentation on processes, procedures, and policies; meeting minutes and notes; and various reports and plans. Some of these documents apply to the entire organization, and some are specific to individual business units or teams.
The latest versions of standard processes, procedures, and policies should be stored in authoritative libraries and updated whenever they are revised. Meeting minutes and notes should be captured in collaborative team spaces, with access provided to all interested parties. Reports and plans should be published on the intranet so they can be referred to as needed.
Publications, documents that are formally published, include handbooks, guides, and other books; articles, essays, and periodicals; and lessons learned and proven practices. Some of these are in electronic form and some are physical hardcopies.
Electronic handbooks, guides, articles, essays, and periodicals should be posted to an online library. Lessons learned and proven practices should be published in specialized databases. Physical assets such as books should be made available in the corporate library or information center.
Communications are vehicles for conveying ideas and information to other people. They can be transmitted in writing, sound, image, or video.
Written communications, consisting of words, include announcements, communiqués, and newsletters. Typically, these are mailed out to all recipients on a distribution list, and can be electronic, hardcopy, or both.
Announcements, communiqués, and newsletters should be stored in an internal blog. This allows them to be easily found by date or through search.
Blogs are websites where posts are made (such as entries in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order, providing commentary or news on a particular subject. Some function as personal online diaries or logbooks. Blogs combine text, images, and links to other blogs and websites. They typically provide archives in calendar form, local search, syndication feeds, reader comment posting, trackback links from other blogs, blogroll links to other recommended blogs, and categories of posts tagged for retrieval by topic.
For knowledge management, blogs are good tools for communication and personal knowledge management. As a communications tool, they are available online, can be easily searched, and can be syndicated and subscribed to using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) or other feeds. For personal knowledge management, blogs offer a way of keeping a journal of insights, techniques, pointers, and contacts. They are the modern version of lab notebooks, easily shared with others to allow them to take advantage of what the blogger has recorded.
Blogs can eliminate the need for websites and newsletters, which may be costlier to maintain. Individual departments can produce their own blogs, which could feature a photo of the department manager and link to the organization chart. News items can be entered as blog posts, and subscriptions can be offered as RSS feeds. As a result, separate website maintainers and newsletter editors may no longer be needed.
Subscription management systems are tools that allow content providers to reach subscribers on an opt-in basis, and subscribers to sign up to receive periodicals and other communications based on their interests. There is still a need for allowing people to subscribe to traditional newsletters.
Newsletters are periodicals sent to subscribers interested in specific topics. They can be used to regularly capture and provide updates, stories, and useful content to interested parties.
Here are guidelines for creating newsletters: If your newsletter contains multiple topic categories, try to include only one story per category in each issue. Keep each story short and sweet. Link to longer articles, posts, and discussion threads. Avoid attachments. Post any necessary files to an easily accessible site and include links. Leave out boring announcements and predictable leadership messages. Include reminders of upcoming events and recaps of previous events.
Audio communications, consisting of sounds, include conference calls, podcasts, and recordings. These are typically listened to online or through syndicated subscription.
Conference call recordings and transcripts should be posted in a database. Podcasts should be stored on a website and made available via subscription in a similar fashion as Apple podcasts. Other recordings should be stored in a library and tagged for easy retrieval.
Podcasts are recorded broadcasts that can be listened to online, or downloaded manually or automatically through syndication and then listened to on mobile devices at the listener’s convenience. Podcasts are available on demand or by subscription. Use podcasts for those who prefer audio, like to listen while performing other tasks, or who aren’t connected to the network and subscribe for automatic downloads of the broadcasts through syndication.
Podcasts can be delivered through several channels. An audio file in MP3 format can be posted for online listening. Syndicated subscriptions can be offered to allow automatic downloading to mobile devices. Transcripts can be posted for those who prefer reading to listening.
Visual communications, consisting of sights, include videos, photos, and images of all kinds. These are typically viewed online or reused through an image library.
Videos are recordings or live telecasts that be viewed online or downloaded for later viewing on mobile devices. Videos are available on demand or by subscription. Use videos for those who prefer video, when there is important visual content, or for instructing or explaining.
Videos should be stored in a library modeled after YouTube. Photos and images should be stored in an image library.
Training is a means of educating people about a specific topic. This can be done in person or online, in real time (synchronously) or on demand (asynchronously), and self-paced or with an instructor.
Courses are formal classes that can be conducted in person or virtually. They are typically long in duration, over multiple sessions ,and include instruction, assignments, and tests. They can be held live or pre-recorded and made available to view whenever convenient for the student.
Courses should be published in an e-learning system. They should be searchable by topic, date, instructor, language, and duration.
Tutorials are short-form instruction, typically in the form of videos. They can be searched for and consulted as needed to address a specific requirement.
Tutorials should be stored in a library modeled after YouTube. They should be tagged with all appropriate keywords.
Webinars are live, online educational presentations during which participating viewers can submit questions and comments. They may include slide presentations, video, chat, whiteboards, and polls. They can be recorded and made available later for people who missed the live version.
Webinars should be stored in a library. They should be searchable by topic, date, presenter, language, and duration.
In Part 3 of this series, I discuss the types of information to capture as part of a knowledge management program.