Thinking About Linking: Resolution vs Reference Articles

We’ve been talking a lot lately about Knowledge Domain Analysis and how the knowledge worker behavior of “reuse” – of linking or attaching a knowledge article to an incident – is what gives us insight into what our customers or requestors are experiencing.

The KCS v6 Practices Guide says this about Linking:

“The ability to associate a system of record (email, case, incident, community thread, tweet) with the KCS article that resolves the issue is a critical element of the KCS methodology. The data generated by the association is necessary for many of the Evolve Loop analysis activities. For example, calculating the link [accuracy] for individuals and teams, or calculating reuse and enabling the new vs. known analysis are all based on the ability to associate events in the system of record with articles.”

A community member asked recently if a knowledge worker should link his case to every relevant article he used, or only the very last one. This brought up some interesting thoughts about which parts of our problem-solving experience we are able to reuse.

While what we are often referring to when we talk about a linked article is the resolution to the question that was asked, it is also helpful to know which articles were used as reference in helping us get to that resolution.

A reference article is used to diagnose the issue and/or qualify the correct resolution.

A resolution article contains the resolution for the issue.

From the KCS v6 Knowledge Domain Analysis Guide:

“Allowing knowledge workers to indicate, at the time of linking, how the article was used enables us to create accurate patterns of reuse for resolutions and to assess the value the knowledge base is creating by enabling knowledge workers to solve new issues based on how others have solved similar issues. When thinking about the value the knowledge base creates, it is important to consider both the efficiency gained through the reuse of articles that contain the resolution to a issue as well as the efficiency gained by having access to the collective experience of the organization as this helps us solve similar but new issues faster. Both the frequency of reuse and the frequency of reference are of interest and create value.”

Determining resolution versus reference articles will ultimately depend on the capability of the tools being used. If you have the ability to distinguish resolution from reference articles, make sure knowledge workers understand the significance of these, so you can leverage the reuse patterns of each.

If this is something you’re doing in your environment, let us know how it’s going in the comments!

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