The previous week Kristian Norling from VGR (Västra Götaland Regional Council) posted a really interesting and important blog post about information flow. Those of you who doesn’t know what VGR has been up to previously, here is a short background.
For a number of years VGR has been working to give reality to a model for how information is created, managed, stored and distributed. And perhaps the most important part – integrated.
Why is Information Flow Important?
In order to give your users access to the right information it is essential to get control of the whole information flow i.e. from the time it is created until it reaches the end user. If we lack knowledge about this, it is almost impossible to ensure quality and accuracy.
The fact that we have control also gives us endless possibilities when it comes to distributing the right information at the right time (an old cliché that is finally becoming reality). To sum up: that is what search is all about!
When information is being created VGR uses a Metadata service which helps the editors to tag their content by giving keyword suggestions.
In reality this means that the information can be distributed in the way it is intended. News are for example tagged with subject, target group and organizational info (apart from dates, author, expiring date etc which is automated) – meaning that the people belonging to specific groups with certain roles will get the news that are important to them.
Once the information is tagged correctly and published it is indexed by search. This is done in a number of different ways: by HTML-crawling, through RSS, by feeding the search engine or through direct indexing.
The information is after this available through search and ready to be distributed to the right target groups. Portlets are used to give single sign-on access to a number of information systems and template pages in the WCM (Web Content Management system) uses search alerts to give updated information.
Simply put: a search alert for e.g. meeting minutes that contains your department’s name will give you an overview of all information that concerns this when it is published, regardless of in which system it resides.
Furthermore, the blog post describes VGRs work with creating short and persistent URL:s (through an URL-service) and how to ”monitor” and “listen to” the information flow (for real-time indexing and distribution) – areas where we all have things to learn. Over time Kristian will describe the different parts of the model in detail, be sure to keep an eye on the blog.
What are your thoughts on how to get control of the information flow? Have you been developing similar solutions for part of this?