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How a new social library is helping the Australian rail industry fight knowledge loss from a retiring workforce

The best way to fight knowledge loss from an aging and retiring workforce is to avoid losing the knowledge in the first place. That's exactly what the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation (CRC for Rail Innovation) is doing for the rail industry.

The CRC for Rail Innovation is a leading research body for the rail industry in Australia. It's made up of various rail organizations and Australian universities, and is supported by the Commonwealth Government.

The organization recently created the Rail Knowledge Bank with help from our partner, Maxus Australia. Powered by Presto for Social Libraries, the Rail Knowledge Bank is a centrally managed portal that is home to Australian and international rail-related information. The point of building it in Presto is make the information easily shareable to current and future generations in the rail industry.

The Rail Knowledge Bank is the CRC for Rail Innovation's answer to address the loss of industry knowledge due to widespread workforce retirement -- a problem exacerbated by the recession and resulting layoffs. Tens of thousands of workers are eligible to retire in the next five to 15 years, yet freight- and passenger-rail traffic needs are projected to remain unchanged.

The CRC for Rail Innovation expects its Rail Knowledge Bank will improve the industry’s knowledge sharing, foster industry collaboration, reduce duplication of research efforts, and increase operational effectiveness.

Findings show the organization is on the right track. The Rail Knowledge Bank now houses over 1,600 items since the CRC for Rail Innovation began development about a year ago. And visitors from over 30 countries have viewed 7,500 pages contained in the system.

For more information on the project, turn to this case study Maxus Australia recently put together. It details the CRC for Rail Innovation's challenges and requirements, why it chose Presto for Social Libraries for the job, how Maxus helped the organization implement it, and the results CRC for Rail Innovation is now seeing for its organization and the rail industry.

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