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Controlling content publishing in a social library

Picking up our Social Libraries 101 series to talk about a major buzzword when it comes to content publishing in a social library: control.

Organizations should to be aware that the social library will not self manage. This pitfall is especially true in behind-the-firewall applications.

For a social library initiative to be successful, socialization of content must be managed and requires modulation. To accomplish this, organizations use what we call the "social volume knob." It must be central to managing the knowledge network. The head knowledge worker or designated librarian provides control over who, when, what, and how contributions are made to the knowledge network.

As organizations roll out social technologies in their library, they might want to start with the volume knob set "low" for certain classes of users. A low setting means users have less capabilities. So for instance, some users might be allowed to tag one type of content, or other certain users can blog or comment on content. In this case, the librarian has the greatest control.

A "high" setting on the social volume knob, on the other hand, would give users more freedom and capabilities. This is usually provided to domain experts, who can be authorized to write blog posts and have access to full social capabilities.

And then you have everything in between. Each contributor's access capabilities can be adjusted, so perhaps one user can blog, rate, and comment, while another can just comment -- and only on certain content. This lets vetted information retain its veracity, and provides control over what content gets socialized, and how.

Here's a diagram so you can see how this spectrum would play out in the enterprise:

Unmanaged social knowledge networking risks culture shock, or worse, information chaos that can undermine or overwhelm the knowledge management initiative. You don't want a free-for-all of information posting, sharing, and rating. You'll end up with a lot of information that lacks veracity.

But if you implement a social library in a controlled, content-centric manner, it is not disruptive to workflow or the knowledge repository. Knowledge workers create the environment necessary to publish and share high-quality content. This includes implementing a knowledge strategy with a social volume knob to ensure contributors are helping to build, maintain, and manage the social library in a logical, organized fashion.

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