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For KM, just say "no" to search engines

Mar 21

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Fri, 21 Mar 2008 11:47:00 GMT  RssIcon

Any KM system must have the ability to cope with new information in a reasonable way, so that new input causes adjustments in the system. A dynamic KM system is altered in some way by every experience it processes. A KM system that does not get smarter as a result of the absorption of new information is unlikely to be very useful. In addition, any good KM system must be capable of finding what it has in it. This seems to go without saying, but the issue of what information should be found at any given moment can be quite a problem. A good KM system finds stuff you weren’t expecting to find, that you didn’t ask for, in part because you didn’t know it was there, but is nevertheless relevant.

In the modern era, we have become used to relying upon search engines to find what we need. Effective use of engines like Google causes users to learn certain search habits that work in Google. We know, for example, that Google contains documents written in English using the kinds of vocabulary people normally use when they write documents of the type we are looking for.

Because we have gotten good at figuring out what words to type into Google, it is natural to assume that when we want something written in a manual for shipping, we will find what we need and Google will work fine. Of course, we immediately realize upon thinking this that we cannot actually use Google at all.

Let’s think about this for a bit. Imagine that we wanted to search the web using Google to find information we know to be in a ship’s manual. To see how this would work I took some stuff from a ship’s manuals and searched the web using Google. Here is the first page of what I found searching for:

Bridge procedure in bad weather

Kenora Daily Miner and News, Kenora, ON
Richards scores as Canada dominates, Date: 2004-12-31. 1966. Weather anchors this Top 10 list, Date: 2004-12-31. 1967. Glad to see the back of a bad year ...www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ search_results.php/story.php?id=135971 - 639k -
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STCW Home - Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping ...
17 When deciding the composition of the watch on the bridge, which may include ... .9 any potentially adverse conditions resulting from bad weather, ice, ...www.uscg.mil/STCW/stcw-code-ach8.htm - 66k -
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January 2001 ePoly Briefs
Campus-Closing Procedures for Bad Weather Time to Start Your Fitness Resolution -- Aerobic and Taekwon-Do Classes Offered Call for Alumni Award Nominations ...www.poly.edu/wwwpoly/ebriefs/ ebriefs_archive2001/JanBriefs.cfm - 29k -
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CS Manual Shipboard Procedures
At times, bad weather, loss of equipment, or ship breakdowns may make it necessary to ... This is done by the bridge watch, without action needed by you. ...shipsked.ucsd.edu/sub_dir/ cs/chief_scientist/procedures.html - 25k -
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NIOSH FACE Program: Wyoming Case Report 92WY013 CDC/NIOSH
Ranch workers should be trained in bad-weather procedures when they are hired for outside work. While lightning deaths are fairly rare, more people in the ...www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/stateface/wy/92wy013.html - 13k -
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DenverPost.com - Girder engineering failure cited

the second, parallel girder, but bad weather set in and they were unable to ... has dramatically changed its bridge erection procedures since the accident. ...www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3625758 - 58k - Cached - Similar pages

Current Doctrine Submarines (USF-25(A)) - Chapter 2

All operations of the procedure of rigging for diving have been checked by one ... Cut bridge watches short in bad weather. Don't neglect greasing top side ...www.history.navy.mil/library/online/ss-doc-2.htm - 40k - Cached - Similar pages

WHOI : Oceanus : Adventure in the Labrador Sea

While the sea-state wasn't as bad as one might imagine based on the ... One memorable example of the foul-weather deck procedure occurred during our first ...www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle. do?id=2359&archives=true - 34k - Cached - Similar pages

GOATS'02 Diary

Port all day due to bad weather in Framura. Caribou assembly completed. ... and Galetti connected our network on the bridge and in the programmer's room. ...acoustics.mit.edu/GOATS/diary.html - 28k - Cached - Similar pages

New bridge at Kincardine

The bridge remains the furthest-downstream all-weather crossing of the Forth, and acts as a diversionary route during bad weather for vehicles restricted ...www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2002/12/2846 - 24k - Cached - Similar pages

There is nothing surprising here for users of Google. Some pages that were found do indeed produce information on the subject requested. Google users have learned to ignore irrelevant stuff – like the Denver Post article on building bridges - and focus on relevant stuff like the article that comes from a site run by the U.S. Navy on shipping history.

So, we can imagine that Google, if it only searched on the manuals on board a ship and not on everything on the web, would do just fine. But, let’s look harder.

The next thing I searched for was:

Changing over the watch

AccuWeather.com(r) Community Blog
In fact, this time last year, Cat 4 Hurricane Dennis was over Cuba, ... Even if it doesn't, watch out for vicious rip currents and heavy coastal rain in the ...wwwa.accuweather.com/adcbin/public/community_blog.asp - 50k - Jul 8, 2006 -
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WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: Guerillas watch over LA’s ...

Guerillas watch over LA’s gated communities Regine Debatty. QuickChanges see all posts in this category. In Los Angeles, Heavy Trash, a coalition of ...www.worldchanging.com/archives/002608.html - 17k - Cached - Similar pages

GMA Celebrating Charlie GMA Weekend Moms Make It Work Eat ...

The debate rages over whether mothers belong home or in the workplace. ... Watch chef Licairac's Havana Central recipe for Mariscada, Cuban seafood stew. ...abcnews.go.com/Video/ guide?category=GMA&subcategory=&id=1288217 - 52k - Cached - Similar pages

OFFICE Watch

ADMINISTRIVIA We've started a gradual change from our woodyswatch.com domain to office-watch.com and you'll see links changing over time. ...office-watch.com/office/latest/ - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

ILE C/C++ Programmer's Guide - Contents

Example Of Setting a Watch Condition · Displaying Active Watches · Chapter 13. Stepping Through Programs · Stepping Over Programs ...publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/iadthelp/ v6r0/topic/com.ibm.etools.iseries.pgmgd.doc/cpprog02.htm - 67k - Cached - Similar pages

Changing patterns in our viewing habits

Changing patterns in our viewing habits. CHILDREN are watch- ing less ... But women watch a half hour more than men. Women over 55 watch the most TV, ...ink.news.com.au/mercury/ mathguys/articles/1999/990224a3.htm - 4k - Cached - Similar pages

eFilmCritic Festival Coverage: The Internet's Most Expansive Film ...

Chances of the World Changing, The ... Over the Hedge * ... Neighborhood Watch · Nightmare (2006) · Orlan, carnal art · Pony Trouble · Psychopathia Sexualis ...efilmcritic.com/festivals.php - 117k - Cached - Similar pages

Havoc With Google Accounts

Search Engine Watch Blog: Click For Home Page ... Also, since changing AdWords over also changed AdSense to use Google Accounts -- as the wizard made ...blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/051212-141550 - 71k - Cached - Similar pages

What is the World Doing?

... browsing the internet browsing the web browsin , touching myself over pictures ... browsing neofreaks.info , surfing the net while waiting to watch the ...blog.familopia.com/whateveryonedoes/ add_person.php?click=1&action=no - 332k - Cached - Similar pages

Archives: Story

Business Watch. Curves. Jackie Franich, along with co-manager Grace Grilze, actually use the ... Working in a circle and changing machines on a schedule, ...www.gcnewsgazette.com/articles/ 2004/04/02/local_news/news68.txt - 20k - Cached - Similar pages

Uh oh. There is nothing here that is relevant at all. Why is that? The problem is due to the issue of ambiguity and commonality in search terms. Bridge is a common word and it does indeed refer to things outside of shipping, but bridge procedures is a phrase that refers primarily to shipping. Not so with watch. This word may mean something specific in shipping but it means so many other things in everyday English that Google never sees the shipping meaning.

But this would all be better if we weren’t searching the web and were just searching a shipping companies manuals wouldn’t it? Here are some of the uses of watch in a ship’s manual:

The gangway or accommodation ladder shall be watched…

A close watch shall be kept to prevent dangerous situations…

Officer in charge of the deck watch shall ensure that cargo is stowed…

Master shall ensure that all Officers on duty keep a close watch for damage to insulating material…

The problem is that the word watch is ambiguous on a ship too. In addition once company communications are included in items to be searched, as they must be since new information would be posted to a KMS every day in shipping, the problems intensify. What if someone wants someone to watch out for ptomaine, or rough seas, or somebody’s mental health? What if someone lost a watch?

Simply put, keyword searches work when the key words can only have one meaning, like Cambodia or hydraulic.

Let’s consider one more Google search on a term from a ship’s manual:

Restricted Visibility

When operating at night, or other times of restricted visibility, the required navigation ... During times of restricted visibility such as smoke or fog, ...www.boatingbasicsonline.com/course/boating/6_2_c.php - 31k - Cached - Similar pages

Nautical Know How - Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility
under conditions of restricted visibility. ... restricted in ability to maneuver, a vessel constrained by her draft, a sailing vessel, a vessel engaged ...www.boatsafe.com/nauticalknowhow/soundsig.htm - 12k -
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Rule 19: Conduct of Vessels in restricted visibility
(b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall ...www.navcen.uscg.gov/mwv/navrules/rules/Rule19.htm - 20k -
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Rule 35: Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility
In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows: ...www.navcen.uscg.gov/mwv/navrules/rules/Rule35.htm - 25k -
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Restricted Visibility
RESTRICTED VISIBILITY Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility, Rule 20C, of both Inland and International Rules states that the lights prescribed by the ...www.tpub.com/content/administration/ 14067/css/14067_145.htm - 26k -
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Sound Signals In Restricted Visibility
Sound Signals In Restricted Visibility The sound signals for restricted visibility required by International and Inland Rules are very similar. ...www.tpub.com/content/combat/14308/css/14308_269.htm - 28k -
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[ More results from www.tpub.com ]

Sec. 2035. Sound signals in restricted visibility (Rule 35)
In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows: (a) Power-driven vessels ...www.washingtonwatchdog.org/documents/ usc/ttl33/ch34/subchI/ptD/sec2035.html - 6k -
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Sec. 2019. Conduct of vessels in restricted visibility (Rule 19)
(a) Vessels to which rule applies This Rule applies to vessels not in sight of one another when navigating in or near an area of restricted visibility. ...www.washingtonwatchdog.org/documents/ usc/ttl33/ch34/subchI/ptB/subptiii/sec2019.html - 4k -
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US CODE: Title 33,2035. Sound signals in restricted visibility ...
In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this Rule shall be used as follows: ...www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/ uscode33/usc_sec_33_00002035----000-.html - 15k -
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MINIMIZE THE HAZARD OF RESTRICTED VISIBILITY IN FOG - WITH DISCUSSION
Title:, MINIMIZE THE HAZARD OF RESTRICTED VISIBILITY IN FOG - WITH DISCUSSION. Accession Number:, 00222185. Record Type:, Component ...pubsindex.trb.org/document/view/default.asp?lbid=115404 - 9k -
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This one looks pretty good actually. Everything is actually about boating. So, it seems it would be possible to find all the mentions of restricted visibility in a manual or e-mails in a shipping company’s materials. What then is the problem?

The problem is that it is possible to write about restricted visibility without using the words restricted or visibility. While this phrase is usually used in manuals, a captain who talks about how he couldn’t see or a weather report that talks about fog are talking about the same issue, but Google wouldn’t know that.

What then is the right thing to do? Can a search engine be adapted to work on all written materials for shipping in a way that works?

Not a keyword based search engine – no. Keyword search works when you don’t care if you get a lot of extraneous documents as long as you get one that helps you answer some question you had. In shipping you need exactly the right document at the right time and you may not know exactly what to ask for, especially when what you are looking for is a report of a recent event or policy not formalized in a manual.

So, is it hopeless? No. The solution lies not with the search engine but with the structure and organization of the material being searched. If the relevant e-mails and reports about restricted visibility have been put in the right place despite their use of different vocabulary it is possible to find them if one is using a search engine that is based on the concepts in shipping (like what to do in conditions of restricted visibility) without worrying if the right vocabulary was used. The proper placement is a key issue here and one that can be solved by the computer itself if an intelligent KMS is being used.

One way to understand what concepts can be searched for in a KM for shipping, is to consider how experts on various aspects of shipping get reminded. Why does one event in shipping cause them to be reminded of another?

Reminding is the result of the similar categorization of new material in relation to material that has already been processed. Reminding in a KM is about the organization of the KM after all. The following types of reminding must occur in a properly organized KM system (hence KMS).

Reminding based upon event expectations

In a KMS that uses roles and tasks to describe actions there is an implicit assumption that given an action, it is reasonable to expect another particular action to follow.

Any knowledge structure used in a KMS must contain predictions and expectations about the normal flow of events in standardized situations. Whenever an expectation derived from that structure fails, its failure must be marked. Problems on board a ship must be stored with respect to the action sequence in which they took place.

Goal-based reminding

New information is not necessarily only about events that have taken place. We may not only want to know what happened but why it happened. This would certainly be true of bad events. If a fire occurs, we need to know not only when and where it took place but what the cause was. The KMS must know that fires are not only unexpected – they are bad, in order to handle this properly. Thus, we must track goals.

Issues such as Goal-Blockage, Goal-Failure, Goal-Replacement, and Goal-Competition are all reasons to remember an event and play a key role on categorizing a new event that one is processing. Fog is, after all, something associated with goal-blockage. Something else that blocked the same goal (seeing where you are going) we would need to be classified as a similar event. It isn’t the words fog or restricted visibility that we think about when we attempt to understand a situation but the goal (seeing where you are going) that is being blocked that causes us concern. If goal-blockage is what people think about, then it must be a key organizing issue in a KMS. One key question to ask then is: what are the goals associated with various tasks aboard ship and in what way can they be blocked? Clearly there are many answers to such a question. Those answers form the basis of the organization of a KMS for shipping.

It follows that if goals are being tracked, then so are the plans created to achieve those goals. Failure to execute a plan and the reasons for that failure would also be concepts that serve to organize a KMS.

Reminding can take place in terms of high level structural patterns that cut across a sequence of events, as opposed to the reminding that we have been discussing thus far--reminding that occurs at particular points in the processing of individual events. This kind of reminding occurs when a pattern of events, as analyzed in broad, goal-related terms, is detected and found to be similar to a previously perceived pattern from another context.

My favorite example of this phenomenon occurs in one that can occur while watching a play or movie. If you have seen Romeo and Juliet and are watching West Side Story for the first time, it is highly likely that at some point in the middle of West Side Story you will notice that it is the Romeo and Juliet story in a modern-day New York, with music. But in this example, everything is superficially different. The city is New York, there is gang warfare, there are songs. To see West Side Story as an instance of Romeo and Juliet one must not only be processing the normal complement of scripts and goals. One must also be, in a sense, summarizing the overall goals, the events of their actions, the interpersonal relationships that are affected, and the eventual outcome of the entire situation.

Such thematic organization occurs quite frequently and also need to be present in a KMS. What are the themes for shipping? They are the same as exist everywhere else in life. Themes are about life. In Romeo and Juliet the theme is warring families blocking an alliance between the children of those families. It is easy to imagine that the same thing has occurred in a shipping context as well.

Our problem therefore is to find the organizing principles in a domain and utilize them in a KMS that organizes the information in that domain. These organizing principles will certainly be about goals and the ways in which they can be satisfied or blocked and the plans that are used to execute those goals. They will also be about larger overarching themes that organize multiple goals.

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