James Mullan Surfacing Information and Avoiding Visibility Sins
Jinfo Blog

Thursday, 12th March 2015

By James Mullan

Abstract

The latest articles and Q&As published in the Topic Series "Making Information Visible" are under co-producer James Mullan's scrutiny along with his highlights of items to be published which look at areas such as external tools to improve information visibility and ways to improve users' search experience.

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We are in the last month of the FreePint Topic Series "Making Information Visible" and I think it's fair to say there have been some fantastic articles and updates published by both regular FreePint contributors and guest contributors.

Despite the end of the series fast approaching we still have some interesting articles due for publication, with a particular focus on search and making internal resources more visible for users.


Improving Users' Search Experience

Two articles being published soon look closely at how search can be used to make information visible. The first of these is Sally Roberts' article "Blending Internal and External Resources for an Improved User Experience". In this article Sally, who has worked within the professional services sector for many years, looks at what can be done to improve access to both internal and external resources to provide an easier search experience for the user.

Having easy access to these resources is especially important in organisations where there are a significant number of both internal and external resources that they need to use regularly. So, for example, in a law firm users will need to use both internal resources such as Know How and Precedents alongside other similar external sources, for example LexisNexis and Westlaw.

One of the questions Sally asks in her article is why we can't just use Google within our organisations. This ties in nicely with an article I have written for the Topic Series called "Why Enterprise Search Will Never Be Like Google". In this article I look at the many challenges in making internal search tools and why there are many reasons why you wouldn't want to make your search more like Google.

The Topic Series has also included some other interesting articles on search. The latest of these was Nigel Williams' article called "Evolve Your Search into Solve - Stop the Seven Deadly Sins". In this article Nigel looks at some of the challenges of making internal content more discoverable and, as the title of the article suggests, the seven sins organisations should avoid.


Using External Tools to Make Information More Visible

Two of the Q&As in the series look at some of the challenges of making information visible within an organisation and the role that external products can play.

In the Q&A with InfoDesk, FreePint contributor Sophie Alexander spoke to Lynn Epstein (COO), Sterling Stites (CEO) and Sean Smith (VP marketing) about how information can be made more visible within an organisation and some of the trends they see developing in the future. Some of the issues discussed in this article tie in nicely with some of the points in Sally Roberts' article on how to blend internal and external resources within a single search interface.

The other Q&A is with EBSCO. EBSCO is a key supplier in the provision of databases, discovery tools and information literacy resources. As a result, EBSCO can provide some key insights into some of the challenges of making information visible within an organisation.

In this Q&A with EBSCO, FreePint spoke with Kate Lawrence, VP of user research, about some of the challenges associated with making information visible and how it's important to get the right blend of technology, content and user behaviour.

So whilst we might be fast approaching the end of our latest Topic Series there are still some very interesting articles being published that will provide insights into how organisations and vendors are approaching the challenge of making information visible.

This Blog Item is part of the FreePint Topic Series "Making Information Visible".

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