Raising of machine, at the aftermath of the internet in early 1970s and world-wide-web in 1990s, has actualized “information society” in reality. Rapid increasing of the internet penetration in Nepal, 31.69 per cent in 2014 and 46.04 per cent in 2015 according to a MIS report of Nepal Telecommunication Authority, is ascertaining upcoming “information society” and “netizen culture” in Nepalese society, especially in youth and middle aged people. It is a raise of machine for human being introducing contextualized information which is known as knowledge.
Data as fact and figures, which relay something specific, morphs information through calculative event establishing relationship with other elements of its environment. A psychological mental exercise contextualizing object or information in specific event in an environment generates knowledge – as one of the multiple realities – which is constructed by societal and technological constructors. Here, we are talking about Knowledge Management (KM), especially institutional KM, which is constructed by technological constructor in raising of machine for human civilization.
Capturing, Development and Sharing are basic three components of Knowledge Management which ultimately optimizes performance of target group or individuals. Those three components, especially Sharing component, make more exceptional than conventional perception of information management. Acquisition of knowledge from different source and channels is key of KM process which goes through meta-data and information development stage contributing sharing channels like full text search engine and other media. Coordination and cooperation in knowledge acquisition are major challenges. However, quality assurance of meta-data of resources is additional challenge of KM which effects latent complexity of sharing phase. Since making qualitative meta-data with best practice is essential for effective result at the end user.
In terms of institutional KM, organizational structures like department, offices, programme, funds and projects – as knowledge producers – are sources of knowledge originally and coordination and cooperation are best tool to dig out more resources for knowledge management database in future. Ad-hoc committee like communication group as major actor of communication governance in an institution is also additional mechanism to contribute resources to centralized KM database.
Systematically captured resources should be indexed by rich cataloguing system – known as meta-data development – following best practices of in house example or external. Guided thesaurus and controlled cataloguing system directly contribute to full text search engine in future enriching performance of end-users. Some institutions like the United Nations have their own thesaurus as guided and controlled cataloguing to index resources systematically.
Unless dissemination of stored knowledge does not make any sense, it is waste or useless otherwise. Sharing phase adds lives to well-stored knowledge and systematically managed-resources accelerating relationship between consumers and producers blending knowledge with technology. Sharing phase should be designed from the beginning while designing overall KM framework of institution since capturing and meta-data development phase directly enforce a set of option for sharing mechanism with constraints. Strategy of sharing knowledge and selection of appropriate channels very essential to maximize reaching to target groups. Technological advancement like integration of artificial intelligence for notification mechanism for consumer in future and implementation of productive tools like social media are also comprehensive selection among best tools for promotional activities of KM database. Appropriate sharing channels could be contextualized according to target group in sharing approach. According to share strategy, sharing knowledge could be online or offline with technological advancement.
With growing netizen culture in Nepal, online sharing is prominent. Otherwise, we have also equal challenges to lure and retain target groups in knowledge sharing with appropriate technology and channels. And obviously KM database is not replacement of conventional libraries or reference libraries. It is differently enabled tool for knowledge management in present necessity of modern society. However, conventional libraries have its own essence of knowledge sharing opening interface for public and target group.
The United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Nepal has launched the UN digital Repository in Nepal (UNDRN) – Knowledge Management database – right after the recent earthquake in Nepal – which also destroyed all major libraries including UN’s major depository at Tribhuvan University. UNIC’s own reference library was vacated to give space to emergency operations causing impact to the indexing system and, therefore, compelling to shut down its physical library which was back in operation from January 2016.
The aim of UN Digital Repository is to provide one window easy access to UN publications published by the UN agencies since 1951 about Nepal to students, academicians, scholars and also even to the UN agencies. UNDRN is an inventory of United Nations Knowledge — a unique digital collection of most of the UN publications related to Nepal, from 1951 till date. Known as UNDRN, this scheme is first of its kind in Nepal and follows an extensive process known as ‘Knowledge Management’ to collect, develop and share the wealth of data available ensuring preservation of institutional memory. The Digital Repository has increasing number of resources from 24 UN agencies day by day. It is accessible by http://www.un.info.np which was launched in 18 June 2015 for public. UNDRN having “Full Text” search engine, provides most accurate search results both in web and mobile application according to the client’s criteria.
UNDRN has three types of services – Online, Offline and Mobil application – which aim to increase accessibility of UN knowledge to different type of end-users. Online service consists web portal and mobile application which gear up accessibility to end users having Internet connectivity whereas offline service provide platform to access UN publications without Internet as local Intranet. The later service will be provided by means of setting up UN Corners in various colleges and universities in Nepal. Such offline service is very meaningful in least developed countries like Nepal where connectivity services are poor. The Internet penetration in Nepal is about 46.04 per cent.
We have worked on available digital publications in the first phase – as text in PDF only. In the second phase, we are planning to work on digitization since digitization needs extreme research, specialized equipment, more number of human resources and significant overhead and fixed cost. Such repository has extensive scope of data repository targeting research scholars, academicians and students.
Internship program is a very handy tool to provide human resource to do cataloging of the publications which is a very extensive work. Some 30 interns have already contributed their efforts to UNDRN in content development and mobile application engineering.
UNDRN web has been hit more than 1.6 million times and approximately 3,600 registered users – who have downloaded 22.2k documents – are directly benefited since the launch. Approximately 5000 anonymous users visit UNDRN every day. Since UNDRN only stores publications produced by UN agencies in Nepal, most of the users are from Nepal.
The software of the repository has been developed by UNIC Kathmandu and the data center in UNIC Kathmandu is also maintained by UNIC Kathmandu ensuring fundamentally to safeguard information from natural calamities and digital mishaps.
Ending the text contributing wide landscape of knowledge management national project, KM project requires multiple academic disciplines rather than only library science. It needs a team consisting library science, computer science including software and IT engineers, team player, designer and social science including researcher. Failure of any active participation of an actor causes the project, especially in government master plan of digital library or digital repository e-government researcher is also necessary for designing and strategic implementation of project in national level and study of e-readiness makes prominent sense in such national level project in least developed country like in Nepal.
(I am very glad to thank Prof. Dr. Subarna Shakya for giving me a platform to put my words in SET conference organized by Advance Engineering College in 19th November 2016.)
- Rajendra Man Banepali is Knowledge Management Associate at United Nations Information Centre, Kathmandu
- Published in Nepal National Library Annual Newsletter
- (Abstract published in) — SET Conference 2016, Advance Engineering College, Kathmanud, Nepal
- Also presented in Information Security Awareness programme at New Summit College, Old Baneshwor on Monday, 24th April 2017.
Speaking about “Knowledge Management: Machine for Human Civilization” topic in SET Conference organized by Advance Engineering College, Kathmandu, Nepal