Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Information Science 101

Had a call today from a Financial Services group member saying that a W****** report hadn't loaded with data for a certain date and to have the report reloaded. I looked up W**** in the Help Desk Reference Manual and could find no documentation. I looked up in the Financial Services Procedures Manual and found only a few references but nothing that had procedures for loading reports. I did a keyword search in the database of previously opened tickets and saw some tickets so I opened a ticket just like those.

My Team Lead was doing a Service Observe at the time, that is, he was listening in on the call. Afterwards he informed me that the user actually needed to place a C*** Platter Request and that she needed to call the Data Delivery group directly.

This is a failing of Notes because when you do a search for documents in Notes databases, it doesn't search the entire document for the keywords. It searched only the designated keywords. This would be analogous to a web search like Google only searching META tags instead of indexing the entire webpage.

More than that, this is a failing of document writers because, knowing how Notes works, they neglected to create keyword lists that actually reflected the keywords of the document. If an application or procedure has synonyms that users might use, then those other terms must be included in the keyword list or a search will never turn up those documents. If you can't search a database, the documents in that database are worthless.

One of the first courses I took in college for Information Science was about keyword searches of abstracts. How do you formulate searches so that you get the data you are looking for. How do you construct an abstract so that searches can find the document. In this case, the keyword was W******. Doing a search for this returned no results because the documents that had this information did not have W****** in the keywords to be searched. Both W****** and C*** were in the document and clearly they had to do with one another so the only reason why it couldn't be searched on was because of the person who created the keyword list.

Come on, people. This is basic stuff here. I did this 20 years ago.

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