I have lost count of the number of support issues I have solved thanks to information I have found on the Web. Keeping track of the gems I found online used to be a problem, until I started documenting them at Delicious.com.
The issue of maintaining documentation is something that comes up frequently on the User Support blog. This is not surprising, since any help desk is only as competent as its accumulated knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, keeping documentation up-to-date and useful can be a challenge. If your shop is anything like mine, there are always more pressing issues competing for attention. I do not have as much time as I would like to sit down and write articles for our internal wiki. I have found another way to document things for my staff and my users, though, and it fits gracefully into my normal work flow.
Delicious.com is a social bookmarking service owned by Yahoo. I am not going to go into a deep explanation of the site’s premise, since that is probably common knowledge for most of the crowd. If you have never looked at it before, suffice to say that Delicious is intended to serve as an online repository for one’s bookmarks, tagged and categorized for future reference. Any visitor to the site can see the list of Web pages a member has found useful.
Delicious is an integral tool for our help desk. Posting links to Delicious has freed me from having to maintain a local archive of all the Web pages I have found useful. I kill fewer trees, since I am not printing every article I find online. My bookmarks are off my personal computer, and they are accessible from anywhere, by anyone. The links are organized by a taxonomy that I designed, and they are keyword searchable, so the content is easily retrieved.
Here is how I have used Delicious to create an “express” reference library of Web sites. When I come across an online resource that I want to preserve, I click the toolbar button for Delicious that I have added to my browser. The script sends the URL I want to save to Delicious, and I am given the chance to add metadata to my new bookmark. I add a few meaningful tags about the site’s content and a description of why I am saving the URL. That’s all there is to it. Adding URLs to Delicious takes only a second or two.
The Web is the best resource there is for support pros. Delicious.com helps me keep track of all the sites I’ve found useful and makes it easy for me to share them with my staff.
What knowledge management tools does your shop use? Tell me about them in the comments….