Information auditing

The latest issue of Freepint has a nice little article on information auditing. I'm very much of the opinion that KM needs a firm IM foundation (a future post will take on the challenge of defining the clear waters between the two) so it makes sense to start with a systematic analysis of organisational information.

In very simplified form, an information audit looks at:

A) How the organisation uses information
B) How it should use information
C) How to bring A) closer to B)

One of the leading exponents of the information audit is Elizabeth Orna, who has just released an updated version of her excellent Practical Information Policies (ISBN 0566076934). I was fortunate to attend an Aslib course by Elizabeth a few months back. She's an intelligent speaker with a precise style greatly in contrast to some of the ponderous KM prose we're often exposed to.

The thing that strikes me as both the greatest strength and the greatest challenge of an information audit is the lack of standardised approach. For the first-time auditor (and, indeed, the second, where I currently find myself), this creates the unique challenge of "Where the hell do I start?"

What I've learned is that you should start in a way that suits your organisation and your own style of analysis. I initially became frustrated at the absence of a 'set in stone' approach, but I've learned to have faith in my skill as an information professional and trust that I will find a suitable approach. So far, so good. I'll let you know how it goes with my current audit.

Cennydd Bowles