Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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Expanded from the CDI 2011 WorkPlan (https:\\\CDIWiki/wiki/CDIFY2011Proposal#section-CDIFY2011Proposal-KnowledgeManagementFrameworkOrToolkitKMToolkit).  A cmap model of a straw-man USGS Knowledge Management Framework (KMF) showing basic relationships and some possible components is attached to this page.  While originally focused on tools and services to directly support CDI and general collaborative research, the basic concept is being expanded to address other organizational elements' needs and contributions. For more information about this idea, contact Dave Govoni (

Knowledge Management Framework for USGS

Establishment of a formal, well-structured, and comprehensive Knowledge Management Framework (KMF) to organize, present, and preserve information and resources relevant to USGS scientific data integration and management – both resulting from, or referenced in the course of CDI and partner projects – should be an essential component of the CDI effort.  Such a framework would provide a ready and essential base for the documentation of systems, tools, standards, processes, and practices which could be easily drawn upon in support of CDI-related community learning, training, technical support, and general communication efforts.

We propose that a workgroup be formed to address the need for creating and managing a sound KM Framework for the benefit of the CDI and its Science partners.

What is a KM Framework?

It is organizational knowledge ...

According to the article on Knowledge Management in Wikipedia, "Knowledge Management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizational processes or practice."

... created, maintained, and shared as tangible assets and artifacts ...

In order to create a framework to fully realize KM at any organizational scale, due attention must be paid to the creation, organization, preservation, and transmittal of informational and knowledge assests, including especially the physical artifacts (documents, presentations, structured information sets, etc.) that encapsulate and provide the primary vehicles for transmitting knowledge over the long term.

... with the aid of a "KM-Toolkit"

Creation, organization, management, and sharing of knowledge artifacts relies on the use of a range of tools and systems designed to facilitate KM generally, enable a specific approach, or deal with a specific class of artifact.  These tools and systems – and the processes that bind them into a functional whole may be conveniently thought of in terms of the CDI's "Toolkit" model.


Though likely broadly applicable to other organizational constructs, formal and informal, large and small, research and operational, the KM Framework to be developed for the CDI and its Science partners should be focused narrowly on (1) the body of processes, assets, and content (artifacts) created over the life of the CDI as a functioning community of practice and (2) the tools that facilitate their creation, preservation, and – most importantly – sharing and effective use.

Components of a CDI KM Framework

Straw-man Model

Click on image to enlarge.

Information/Knowledge Resources

These resources might include:

  • A structured "digital library" (DL) of documentation, educational and general communications materials, reference materials, etc., of both internal and external origin including, for example,
    • Manuals and technical instructions, describing CDI-developed and other systems, software, web services, etc.,
    • General procedural "cookbooks" (e.g., SEACOOS Data Management and Visualization Cookbook)
    • "Best practices" documents, protocols, and documented workflows (e.g., the Mobile Apps Development Framework)
    • Tutorials and other training/education materials
    • FAQs and other "customer support" materials
    • Metadata standards documentation and crosswalks
    • Markup Language (ML) standards documentation and crosswalks
    • Other pertinent external reference materials (including, e.g., reports, studies, scholarly articles, etc.)
    • Stock and special purpose communication/outreach products (e.g., fact sheets, presentations) Note that this system would be distinct from an informal, ad hoc collection of mainly working documents managed through Alfresco, SharePoint or similar Document Management Systems (DMS).
  • Various registries and catalogs providing pertinent information about available tools, services, or discovery resources to encourage use and re-use including, for example,
    • Registry of metadata repositories (internal and external to USGS)
    • Web services registry
    • Database schema/model, data dictionaries
  • Other "knowledgebases" (KBs) including, for example,
    • "Semantic resources" incuding controlled vocabularies, thesauri, gaztteers, and ontologies to support consistent metadata, data, and information product classification for ease of discovery, evaluation, and interchange
    • Standard glossaries
  • General community-contributed and shared knowledge resources for collaborative learning including, for example,
    • Shareable document and presentation collections
    • Shared subject-specific collections of citations or web links
      • For example, these Delicious-based citation collections tagged "metadata" and "informatics", respectively
    • Purpose-specific websites to organize and share these resources (e.g., USGS Data Management)

Note that though separately bulleted, all of these resources can be thought of as components of a the "digital library", sensu lato.

Multi-purpose Websites & Services

These services could exist as a federation of "cloud-based", function-specific tools or be part of a common multi-service software environment (accessed through a portal service). They are meant to support some combination of collaboration, learning and education (via knowledge sharing), as well as general communication among the internal CDI community and its science program partners, related internal and external technical/scientific communities, and perhaps even the general public. Components might include:

  •  Internal/public-facing extranet wiki(s)
    • "Working" – for collaboration with external partners
    • "Curated" – Primarily informational/reference (built, perhaps, on the Wikipedia or Intellipedia models) – for general knowledge sharing
  • Formally "information architected" internal, public, or quasi-public website(s)
    • Informational/reference
    • Instructional/education
    • Customer technical support ("Helpdesk")
    • Participatory/collaborative (e.g., on the lines of USGIN Lab, the "U.S. Geoscience Information Network Commons")

Note that the varients listed above are very closely related and usually exist as part of a continuum of websites and services, but can be thought of as falling into essentially two catagories based on primary focus or intent:

  1. 'Read-Write' -- optimized for active interaction and collaboration
  2. 'Read-Only' -- designed to promote communication and learning

*Function-specific Tools & Services (KM-Toolkit) *

CDI-managed tools and services to support knowledge creation, management, and sharing would be made available through the services described in the preceding section and include:

  • General Document Management (DM) services (currently provided to CDI via Confluence and to others by SharePoint, etc.)
  • Formal Records Management (RM) services
  • Professional capabilities information services (e.g., USGS Professional Pages)
  • Personal and shared citation management and bookmarking services (e.g., Zotero, Connotea, Delicious)
  • Document and presentation sharing services (e.g., Scribd, Mendeley, Slideshare)
  • Workflow development (and prototyping) services such as Kepler
  • Concept map, mindmap, or similar brainstorming and modeling tools (including sharing and collaborative development services such as those provided by IHMC Cmap)
  • Ontology development tools such as Protégé

CDI Linkages

A systematic, well-managed CDI KMF should be of interest to:

  • All CDI projects generating best practices, standards, technical, or other documentation.
  • All CDI projects producing shareable, subject-specific information maintained in stuctured registries, repositories, or other "knowledgebases"
  • All CDI projects explicitly concerned with customer support or education
  • Anyone wishing to learn from or share their knowledge with other communitiy members

A "Collaboration Tools and Their Integration with myUSGS" wiki page has been created to preserve and extend KMF-related concepts discussed during an informal meeting on April 7, 2011, by Roland Viger, Dave Govoni, Jeff Falgout, and Scott McEwen.  The discussion focused on specific tools and strategies in the context of the CDI Tech-stack Working Group (TSWG)'s efforts to broadly define a set of common technologies and tools to support project-level scientific research and knowledge management.

Some Questions and Issues

  • Can (and should) the CDI KMF be architected from the outset in such a way as to easily connect to, easily interact with external organizations, communities, and individuals?
  • Should our KMF be a stand-alone, roll-your-own system or become a node (with shared architecture and resources) of some larger DI/Informatics/Research community or "Virtual Organization" (VO)?

Workgroup Members


  File Modified
PNG File USGS-KMF v1.png Cmap of straw-man KMF showing potential content, tools & relationships Aug 26, 2011 by Govoni, David L.
PDF File USGS-KMF v1.cmap.pdf Cmap of straw-man KMF showing potential content, tools & relationships Aug 26, 2011 by Govoni, David L.
PDF File Reply to Rex 09-15-2010.pdf Q&A reponse Dave Govoni to Rex Sanders Aug 26, 2011 by Govoni, David L.

1 Comment

  1. Unknown User (

    Govoni, David L. did a working group or other public products ever spin off of what is currently classified as a 'half-baked idea'?