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Subject:Re: Knowledge Bases -- What are they, really? From:Shari Punyon <sharipunyon -at- gmail -dot- com> To:Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> Date:Thu, 29 Oct 2020 12:34:09 -0400
I actually mean that KBs generally have topic-specific short articles, but
I see I was answering quickly and my construction got confusing.
I think the most important thing that I wrote is that it is about the fancy
new buzzword. To me KBs are just another way to serve up documentation,
with a certain kind of wrapper and focus. I also don't think KBs are so
well defined or so prescriptive as you are implying. Mostly it sounds like
you were talking to someone who had heard about the latest cool thing,
without any deep knowledge.
There are disagreements in the Knowledge space about things like hierarchy
and tagging. My personal belief is that a completely flat structure with
no "intro" information or ability to browse an area of knowledge is
problematic. I've seen arguments that information should be flat and access
should be primarily search-based, without a TOC or hierarchy, but that
locks out people who don't have enough information to do an
effective search. I do generally like the non-book like nature, and the
ability to take multiple routes to a piece of information, without having
to take a set path, or know an order or hierarchy. What I don't agree with
is removing the order/hierarchy path as an option. Appropriate
categorization/tagging and "intro" articles can do a lot to provide that
structure if a user wants or needs it.
As to the anything goes nature you reference- that depends on how curated
the space is and who is defined as a contributor.
On Thu, Oct 29, 2020 at 11:35 AM Chris Despopoulos <
despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> Thanks Shari...
> Just to be obnoxious, I'll submit that your last sentence doesn't really
> distinguish the two. So-called documentation might be written as "topics",
> but isn't a KB written as articles? And as you point out, Docs are
> increasingly accessible through multiple routes, search and facets
> included. (We deliver some of our documentation as part of the GUI, for
> One difference I see that is not flattering to a KB is this... To
> emphasize the web-like nature, there's less attempt to assign ordering or
> hierarchy to the articles. And indeed, I believe you never get to see
> anything like a TOC. But really, if there's any navigation "path" at all,
> that ordering is there somewhere. But just to reinforce the web-ishness of
> it, the KB doesn't share that intelligence with the reader. Take 10 points
> from Gryfindor!
> OTOH, there's a WIKI-like freedom that can really be a good thing. Maybe
> that's what you mean when you say it's not written in a topic-oriented
> way... There's no hard/fast template for an article. So long as the
> article imparts some value, anything goes. This can be good -- more agile,
> more open to collaboration, and maybe more direct injection of information
> for the reader... 10 points to Gryfindor! (But I can get into the
> benefits of structure to make content processing possible... That's a
> different subject.)
> On Thursday, October 29, 2020, 10:33:56 AM EDT, Shari Punyon <
> sharipunyon -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> I think of Knowledge Bases as more interconnected and more frequently
> updated by more people.
> A Knowledge Base is a flavor of documentation. Documentation is probably
> (in that person's mind) more of a static manual set, while a Knowledge Base
> is more like a Wiki, or some other way of serving up specific bits of
> information via search. Part of it is just knowing the new fancy buzzword,
> which is shorthand for what much, but not all, documentation is moving
> towards. Part of it is focusing on providing a certain flavor of
> documentation, which is not just written a certain way (topic oriented),
> but served up a certain way (accessible through multiple routes, esp via
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