Sarah Nichols

Sarah L. Nichols is an experienced knowledge manager with expertise developed in a variety of professional services and nonprofit organizations. She is skilled in research, enterprise social networking applications, marketing of library and knowledge management services, contract negotiation and vendor relationship management. Now, as a writer, editor and principal of her own consulting practice, Sotto Voce Communications, Sarah writes about issues facing librarians, knowledge managers and other information professionals.

Recent Posts

Robust KM is all about Supplements!

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 4/28/2017

In a recent article, Knowledge Management in the Age of Social Media, author Robin Singh suggests that social media presents serious challenges to the traditional "knowledge base," and asks whether it can transform knowledge management. Please read on for some additional thoughts on social knowledge exchange as a supplement to classic KM.

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Topics: Knowledge Management, Inmagic Presto, Knowledge Management Systems

When is a KM Tool not a Tool?

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 4/5/2017

In Neil Olonoff’s excellent post “Knowledge Management Tools That Aren’t Tools,” he takes us back to the basic purpose and definition of a tool: something that is supposed to make work easier. It’s easy to agree with that, yet there are so many KM “tools” that only complicate matters, and make work harder. And there in a nutshell is the biggest barrier to user adoption.

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Topics: Knowledge Management, Inmagic Presto, Knowledge Management Systems, Presto

The Librarian’s Secret Weapon

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 2/8/2017

I’m reading a wonderful book at the moment, called “The Little Paris Bookshop,” by Nina George. In it, one of the characters says, “The others all left with the riddle unsolved; none of them asked the right questions. Asking questions is an art.” In my experience, that is very true …and the ability to practice that art in support of a patron’s or user’s needs is a librarian’s secret weapon.

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Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, SydneyEnterprise, Small Library Management, Knowledge Management Systems, Integrated Library Systems

VIM and Vigor—The Secrets to a Great KM Application

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 12/2/2016

People at organizations with underperforming KM platforms can really struggle to find information; unfortunately, they pretty much need to know exactly what they want and where it is, before they can find it. A great KM platform solves that problem.

If your organization relies on a shared drive or a DMS—or an underpowered knowledge management system—to house or reference critical information assets, that’s a real handicap. It means you can only retrieve valuable content if you know exactly what you want (and where it is), and that means you often have to rely on institutional memory.

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Topics: Knowledge Management, KM Participation, KM Adoption

From the Director’s Chair: Business as a Second, Third and Fourth Language

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 9/30/2016

This is the third post in a series in which I share experiences from decades as an Information Services Director, including my best tips, my worst mistakes, and lessons learned. Please read on for some thoughts about the importance of speaking the language of your senior management and of your organization as a whole.

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Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, Solo Librarianship

From the Director’s Chair: Follow the Leader

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 9/21/2016

This is the second post in a series in which I’ll share experiences from my decades as an Information Services Director. Many special librarians, researchers or knowledge managers get promoted through the ranks into senior management roles without the benefit of formal training in administrative and operational areas. That was the case with me, and in this series I’ll share my best tips, my worst mistakes, and lessons learned. Please read on for some thoughts about developing your most productive departmental strategy.

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Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, Solo Librarianship

From the Director’s Chair:  The Best, the Worst, and Lessons Learned

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 9/7/2016

This is the first post in an occasional series in which I’ll share experiences from my decades as an Information Services Director. Many librarians, researchers or knowledge managers get promoted through the ranks into senior management roles without the benefit of formal training in administrative and operational areas—me included. That can make things …interesting! In this series I’ll share my best tips, my worst mistakes, and lessons learned. Please read on for the most illuminating interview question you can ask when you’re hiring.

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Topics: Management, Interview Tips

KM Has an Image Problem

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 4/27/2016

Knowledge management has an image problem. Nobody really knows what KM is, and it’s very easy to devalue. Companies that provide KM software need to market themselves via use cases (a technique that identifies the business goals to be accomplished by a software system) in order to make the light bulb go on for prospective customers. Individual practitioners need to do something similar.

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Topics: Knowledge Management

Sticky Marketing is (Also) About Seizing Opportunities

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 4/20/2016

One of the biggest challenges when implementing a knowledge management strategy or platform is getting leadership buy-in and visible advocacy. If you have that, it goes a long way to solving a second significant challenge: user engagement and adoption. A sticky marketing approach can help.

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Topics: Library Management, Knowledge Management, Library Marketing, Sticky Marketing

Which Comes First, Perception or Reality?

Posted by Sarah Nichols on 3/16/2016

I recently watched a great series on Acorn TV, titled “Liberty of London.” It’s about how the iconic British department store, founded in 1875, has been revitalized to broaden its appeal, enhance its image and expand its client base. They didn’t change the store name – it’s a huge asset. But they did a lot of things that change how the store is perceived.

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Topics: Knowledge Management

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