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OPM KnowledgeBase Administration

The goal of successful KnowledgeBase administration is to provide your customer with an easy and effective method of information retrieval. This is achieved by understanding the beginner user as well as the advanced database searcher. The recall of hundreds of solutions to a query of two or three keywords is not as effective for the average user as the relevant recall of perhaps ten highly relevant solutions. The uphill battle is to educate your user to enter more than just one keyword, which almost always retrieves hundreds of solutions! By carefully watching how users enter information into your search field you can edit your thesaurus to incorporate the nomenclature of your operating environment and culture. Recall and relevancy should play off each other to lead your customers to a short selection of answers that encompass the subject matter in question, as well as point them to similar topics and concepts.

Managing the KnowledgeBase can be divided into three components:

Solution Maintenance
Thesaurus Maintenance
Browse List Maintenance

Solutions within OPM are created, updated and maintained by the KnowledgeBase administrators assigned to the task; those responsible for managing this component of OPM are given privileges to see the link in the main menu as shown below. If you cannot see the KnowledgeBase Administration link, please see the OPMadmin of your team.

        To the left is the main OPM menu with the KnowledgeBase Administration link visible.

Initial Setup

Imagine your solutions as individual entries with unique properties and attributes, just as you would imagine a library full of books, a collection of paintings in a gallery, or an online slide collection of images. Each object in each of these examples has a title or name, keywords to describe that object, and a place for that object to live (such as a drawer or shelf). Prior to adding solutions to your KB, design your Browse List carefully. The Browse List is much the same as the rows of shelves in a library where you store your books; you want to store your solutions in a fashion so that your users may graze or browse through the hierarchy you create to serendipitously find answer sto their questions by the subject nature of their query. Similar solutions should be stored next to similar solutions. Create your catalog of answers so that each section of your hierachy remains in an easy to search and well-balanced order. Try to avoid portions of your browse list being too heavy while other portions are empty. An easy guide to follow during setup is not to load any category of the Browse List with more than 7 entries, and once a category contains more than 30 solutions, think about creating a new section of the Browse List. For an example of a Browse List that is currently used by the Princeton OIT Help Desk, see: Explore the Browse List. Remember less is always more.

Browse List Maintenance

Begin creating your Browse List through the link
You may create new categories within your hierarchy, as well as rename or delete them. Should you delete a sub-category of your list, make sure to first move the solutions it contains out to another section. For each category you may type a lengthier description that is helpful to your user while browsing. Use the following buttons to:

Move the category up or down in the list.

Rename or delete the category, as well as change the description text.

Create a new category of your Browse List.

Solutions that do not neatly fit into a category can remain below the sub-category descriptions as you can see below, so categories do not need to be rigidly defined for each and every solution.

The Browse List can be a very helpful method of ensuring that you have applied the correct keywords to the solutions you desire; you can drill down to a sub-category of your Browse List to see the solutions that "live" there, and then check to ensure that they all have the proper keywords applied for retrieval in a keyword search. The full text search is always helpful when a solution becomes "lost" and you need to find it in order to place it properly in the Browse List as well as assign more effective keywords.

Thesaurus Maintenance

The Thesarus is a collection of keywords with synonyms that enables the database to perform a "see also" reference search. This is extremely helpful when you are determining the primary words to be assigned to each solution. For example, instead of returning to 25 already existing solutions to add a new keyword you can merely add it once as a synonym.

Examples of Keywords and Synonyms:
Keyword: PURCHAS Synonyms: purchase, purchasing, purchased, buy, purchase order
Keyword: BREAK Synonyms: broken, torn, disabled
Keyword: E-MAIL Synonyms: email, mail, electronic mail

Note that punctuation must be included in the synonyms as the search engine will not automatically strip punctuation. The search engine does not expand words automatically so you must use synonyms for word expansions. Be careful when using the Add/Edit button if you want to edit a keyword; unless you know exactly the spelling of the word you want to edit you end up creating new keywords all over the place and then misplace them because you mis-typed them. Use the second option, selecting an existing keyword to edit, which is a much better tool and affords tighter control of the thesaurus. Always search for your keyword first before creating a new one as you might find the root of the word already exists. Remember the thesaurus sorts punctuation at the top! So  the word "e-mail" will sort alphabetically PRIOR to the word "easter."

Solution Maintenance

Prior to adding a new solution, first check to ensure that one does not already exist. Multiple solutions with the same information should be avoided. Ensure that you first keyword search, full text search, and drill down through the Browse List to confirm you are add new information to your KnowledgeBase. Solutions can appear to "hide" in a large KB and rather than adding a new solution you might want to add new keywords to an existing solution and a single line of text. Remember less is more.

To add a new solution click on the Add New Solution link. Title your solution using a standardized format that you define, and try to use this standard in all your solutions. The text can be formatted as you desire, including images, text and html formatting. To edit an existing solution, enter the solutionID in the Edit Keyword field and click Submit.

The four pull-down menus you see below enable you to "store" the new solution in a category of the Browse List. Start to the left and each subsequent pull-down menu dynamically show the sub-categories. Also add keywords to the new solution. Each solution may have as may keywords assigned as you choose. Utilize the smaller box to the left to "jump" to the keyword in the alphabetical list.

The Update Button will immediately add the keywords and place the solution in the category you have determined while returning you to the same screen for additional edits, while the Finish button will return you to the main menu for KnowledgeBase Administration.

Back to OPM Administration Site

Last Updated: Thursday February 19 2009