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FreePint BlogInteresting Times Ahead for Intranet Managers

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By James Mullan


Over the last few months FreePint has published a wide array of articles on the subject of intranets. James Mullan identifies the key trends in the editorials, from collaboration to content creation, big data and findability. He highlights some of the articles which discuss implementation and best practice in use of collaborative tools and, finally, he ponders which tool will be the "big thing" for intranets in 2013.


2012 was an interesting year for intranets, especially in the latter half of the year, with the release of SharePoint 2013. Whilst SharePoint 2013 will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the way individuals create content and collaborate with each other, it wasn't the only development during the latter half of 2012. Major developments in areas such as gamification, collaboration and cloud computing also created debate.

However, one of the most talked about concepts during 2012 was the idea of "big data" and search. Intranets, especially where they might include an enterprise search tool, have a role to play in managing and searching big data and this is reflected in the articles contained within this report. In "Improving Enterprise Search by Becoming More Social", I look at how some of the tools used by social media applications can be used effectively to surface content that might otherwise remain hidden. In an article that will probably strike fear into many intranet managers, I examine some of the things organisations can do to make their enterprise search function more like Google. Unfortunately, most enterprise search tools will never work exactly like Google, but there are some steps information professionals can take to make search more "Google like".

Whilst being able to surface content is great, actually being able to find it remains one of the biggest challenges for companies. Dale Moore, in his article "Findability: a Taxing Issue", considers how taxonomies could be used to connect people with content. As Dale explains, "As information professionals… we know that taxonomies can support navigation, information discovery and findability." In "Taxonomy Management: Needs and Considerations", Heather Hedden looks at some of the reasons why taxonomies should be managed and the issues which individuals managing taxonomies need to consider. However, perhaps even more significant for intranet managers than search is navigation within an intranet. In "What to do When Your Information Scent Stinks!",I look at how intranet managers can ensure their users find the information they are looking for quickly and easily in what is quickly becoming an information jungle.

Whilst big data will be a growing concern for many companies, we still need to manage our core resources, including current awareness sources. One tool that is being used by intranet managers and librarians to manage these resources is Linex Systems. Jan Knight explains how Linex Systems, which is predominantly used by law firms, can be used to save time and allow targeted information to be pushed to the right individuals. Getting back to basics is the theme of another article in this report. In "Where is Information Work Taking Place?", Robin Neidorf looks at who "owns" knowledge management and intranets within organisations and where the budget sits. This is a very detailed article, which looks at a number of issues associated with managing content.

The use of collaborative tools, whilst gaining momentum in 2012, brings with it several issues for intranet managers. Two articles in this report look at some of the challenges which intranet managers face. In the first, "Getting Over the Barriers to Adoption", I look at some of the hurdles that organisations must overcome when implementing collaborative tools. In "A Step Too Far with Collaboration", I take a closer look at a Michael Sampson blog post where he discusses some of the concerns that can be raised by pushing collaboration too far within an organisation.

Finally, this introduction wouldn't be complete without a further mention of SharePoint. SharePoint threatens to be the "big thing" of 2013 so, in "SharePoint: A Librarian's Best Friend?", I look at some of the ways that librarians and information managers can use this collaboration software within their organisation. I hope you enjoy reading these and the other articles contained within this report. There was much to discuss in the second half of 2012 and 2013 looks as though it will be just as exciting.

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James Mullan has worked in the legal sector since 2001. He is an advocate of social media tools and has been talking about how these tools can be used by information professionals and organisations since 2005. James is a Past President of BIALL and in 2009 won the Wildy-BIALL Law Librarian of the year award for his use of social media tools. Outside of work James is a keen runner and maintains his own blog called "The Running Librarian". You can follow James on Twitter @jamesmullan6 or friend him on Facebook.

James can be reached at

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