If you think back to your school and college days, you’ll no doubt recall how important it was for you to take notes on the material during instruction and lectures. The act of writing down helped recap and internalize the material you heard. It was important not to just blithely write down everything you heard, but to sift through the material mentally, extracting the most important units of information. To do otherwise put you in danger of drowning in a quagmire of information, especially right before a test!
Later, when you started working, you learned to take notes as an obligatory part of your daily routine. There are very few companies in existence today that are oblivious to the capital investment stored in the minds of their employees, an investment they don’t care to lose when these employees move on. It’s also extremely important that coworkers have each other’s acquired knowledge available to them. Nobody wants to keep re-inventing the wheel! So companies need their employees to record and exchange their acquired knowledge in a clear and logical way.
Most companies are faced with a sea of documents to manage. With the advent of the Internet, the new technology came to be used in a more insular fashion as well: the intranet, open to those granted access within a company, but closed off from the outside world. Soon content management systems appeared and were deployed on intranets.
With a content management system filing and archiving documents became an easy task. Some variants even permitted unlimited earlier versions of documents to be recalled and opened, extremely helpful in certification processes, for example. Since everybody in the company had access to the company intranet and its content management system, presto, there was „information at your fingertips“, as Bill Gates put it in a Comdex keynote speech in 1990.
Nonetheless, doubts about the usefulness of this system multiplied. In order to be able to locate the documents in any kind of meaningful way, they had to be associated with keywords. Even if employees actually took the time when composing documents to provide keywords, the selection of keywords for orienting documents in the content management system was frequently done in slipshod fashion. In conjunction with an ever-increasing number of documents, this led to the realization that, when searching, increasingly less relevant hits resulted. Frequently there would be no hits at all, if the search term wasn’t recognized as an important keyword, or so many that the sought-for document was buried in a plethora of search results. The content management system, innovative at first, degenerated into a data burial ground that either refused to yield the data filed in it at all, or only gave it up after an immense expenditure of time and effort.
The cry for more intelligent systems, so-called knowledge management systems, grew louder. These should, it was proposed, work together with content management systems to make stored knowledge easier to both find and to comprehend.
With this we end our little story and come back to the present. Let’s briefly revisit the requirements of a knowledge management system.
- A full text search capability that functions without tedious „keywording“ of documents.
- Search results should be displayed sorted by relevance. Ideally, the document sought should appear first in the list of hits.
- A result should feature a document summary, to minimize the need for reading through the entire document. Additionally, key bits of information should be presented to the search in a clear, memorable and easily comprehensible way.
- Once a suitable document is found, the program should be able to automatically display all documents covering the same topic.
- Since content management systems usually file documents in folders (or directories), the program should be able to read in all the documents stored in a folder and analyzed them. The program should also be equipped to deal with the most common document types: TXT, HTML, DOC, RTF and PDF formats.
These are the guiding principles behind the development the InfoRapid KnowledgeMap Server. The result is an entirely new type of knowledge management system, one unlike any previously developed. It is an intelligent system, one that analyzes document content and enables the user to visualize it in graphical form, one that makes it possible to ascertain the contents of a document almost at a glance. It displays, once again in graphical form, all documents that cover a similar topic, so perfectly that full-text searching is only needed to enter the knowledge map. Finally, it has a search function that surpasses some of the best-known Internet search engines in speed and precision. Use of the program gives your company a strategic advantage commercially over your competition, allowing shorter reaction times, more effective use of personnel’s capabilities, and increase in quality, meaning more profit for your company.
The program can be used outside the ambit of the company intranet as well. Home use and use at work on stand-alone workstations are possible. Take control of your personal document collection and discover a whole new way of viewing your documents, with the InfoRapid KnowledgeMap Server. The program not only finds desired documents in the shortest possible time, it structures the gathered information in a way that your brain is best able to acquire and process it. The best thing is, all this is done automatically, without any effort on your part.
InfoRapid KnowledgeMap Server can function either as a stand-alone server or parallel to a content management system. It works much like a web server, but it can process text documents in TXT, HTML, RTF, DOC und PDF format as well as its native InfoRapid KnowledgeMap diagrams in IKM format. For the InfoRapid KnowledgeMap Server to be able to import documents, they must be present in one or more folders, for example on a file server. As a web server, the InfoRapid KnowledgeMap Server can integrate seamlessly with the company intranet. It works just as well, however, on a single workstation without network access at all. (Think laptop!)