Creating more value from what we know


Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

The Energy Institute’s Knowledge Manager Gareth Parkes explains the thinking behind the EI’s new knowledge platform, and how the array of information it contains is organised.

In 2010 it was decided that the Energy Institute (EI) should work to capture and make available the energy expertise and knowledge available within its membership. In 2012 the EI Knowledge Service (EIKS) was unveiled, combining the EI’s library and information service with a deeper understanding of our members’ interests and expertise.

The EIKS team is busy implementing the EI’s ‘Knowledge Framework’ strategy, established to create and curate knowledge, to assess where gaps in the EI’s knowledge lie and to strategically fill those gaps, whilst providing support for other EI teams and the wider membership. was developed to expand electronic access to material held by the EI – as well as to build new and diverse streams of electronic information.

Another major driver for the website was to bring different streams of information under the same umbrella and provide one uniform means of searching through this knowledge. In order to do this effectively, it was essential that a means of accurately classifying these holdings was implemented.

Classification requirements

The EI has many diverse activities, products and, critically, people. I think of the EI as an organisation 17,000 strong, dispersed across a range of disciplines and spread around the globe – consisting of new entrants through to highly trained experts. How do we, the EIKS, connect our diverse membership with the information they require and build networks between these individuals? The answer, albeit very complex, rests upon the ability to take a consistent approach and employ a common set of terms to our sector, our members and our energy knowledge and information.

Harmonising the EI’s classification systems and creating an organisation-wide taxonomy that covers the entire energy industry, for use both internally and externally, is no easy task. EIKS began by aiming to understand why and how we capture knowledge, and providing a forward- themed energy knowledge programme to identify future opportunities.

In its various incarnations, the EI goes back 100 years. As you would expect, the EI’s predecessors had their own requirements, processes and methods for recording information. From the outset of the EI’s knowledge management efforts, it was clear that a consistent method for classifying the information we were holding across the organisation was required. This issue was compounded by the changing nature of our audience’s needs and our requirements to communicate with them. Our membership is becoming more geographically diverse and we are seeing increased requests for content to be made available electronically.

Understanding the organisation’s history has been extremely useful for the EIKS in managing what we know and engaging our members. In order to classify, record and retrieve this content an organisational taxonomy was constructed to provide a framework for our energy knowledge.

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