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The New Dow Jones Knowledge Professionals Alliance
Posted On June 23, 2011
The folks at Factiva have been busily working on a replacement community for the Factiva Information Professional Alliance. It is now called the Dow Jones Knowledge Professionals Alliance, and made its debut at the recent SLA annual conference. It has an entirely revamped format with new content and an expanded audience. The “InfoPro Alliance” had been around since 1996, and admittedly had been in “hibernation mode,” according to Anne Caputo, executive director, knowledge and learning programs at Dow Jones. Following a survey of its 3,000+ members, they determined that people do not want another place to have a conversation. They are looking for a place to learn and share resources. So, the new tag line for the Knowledge Professionals Alliance is “Learn. Share. Thrive.”

Here’s the new mission statement:

We are a global community of knowledge professionals who appreciate the impact and power of authoritative information applied to research, market intelligence, and organizational strategy. Via this community, we will learn from each other, share insights and techniques, and strengthen our professional expertise.

The site will contain the following:

  • Cover story—monthly refresh
  • YouTube hosted interviews—monthly refresh
  • Resource Center—mostly rewritten competencies documents and other resources—refreshed as needed
  • Best of the Blogs—scrolling review of selected blog entries, continually refreshed
  • News widget—scrolling review of headlines from Factiva, continually refreshed
  • Poll—changed weekly
  • Webinars—starting in September
  • Links to our Learning area, our academic program area, and to partner sites

Caputo stressed that the site is a truly global gathering of knowledge professionals—with many from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. About 60% of the surveyed members were Factiva customers. Gayle Gossen was project manager for the new site. Information management consultant Jan Sykes also worked on this with Caputo and is responsible for resources such as the Knowledge Professionals Toolkit. They are looking forward to finding more partners (in marketing, PR, and similar professions) and plan to build out their Facebook and Twitter communities.

Marydee Ojala, editor of ONLINE and long-time searcher of Factiva, is very pleased with the new Knowledge Professionals Alliance and thinks it is an excellent successor to Factiva’s Information Professional Alliance. She says, “The toolkit, in particular, is well written and very practical. I hope Factiva continues to add to the toolkit, however, as I can think of many additional topics. The Alliance site seems to be an honest attempt to reach out to information and knowledge professionals, whether they are Factiva customers or not. Granted, there are specific search tips for Factiva products, but the overall impression I get from the portal is that it’s not a marketing gimmick. With training budgets shrinking and travel budgets disappearing, the Dow Jones Knowledge Professionals Alliance is a welcome sight.”

Information consultant Barbie E. Keiser submitted the following thoughtful assessment.

This is a serious venture that moves a data-driven company (Dow Jones and the stock market) and an information company (i.e., Factiva, a database providing the context for that data) to being recognized as a true knowledge organization (i.e., the application of information). Everything that the organization is doing reflects this shift to the higher-end of the data-info-knowledge continuum. The DJ Knowledge Professionals Alliance allows its registered “members” to go one step further and highlights the wisdom achieved when using all three elements to help guide users to those “AHA” moments. I just hope that it is sustainable and supported by both DowJones/Factiva and an engaged membership who will contribute to its growth with interesting and useful case studies, links to relevant articles, tips, etc. Only this way will the service reach its true potential and goal to support and encourage knowledge professionals, making them do their jobs, better, faster, more easily than ever before.

What distinguishes this effort from past efforts by Factiva (InfoPro Alliance) and others? Technology has enabled a truly interactive service, with multiple opportunities for knowledge professionals to share with others what they know, what they’ve done, and what they believe. This knowledge community being cultivated by Dow Jones stands head-and-shoulders above efforts by others that are either product-driven (e.g., Nexis) or occasional blogging efforts (e.g., InMagic).

These are early days for this new effort. I noticed a few quirks as I explored the site—links that didn’t work, etc. As Keiser mentioned, it will need support and participation to succeed. In addition, the new Alliance is not even mentioned in the Dow Jones Knowledge Center. There are still some branding issues to be sorted out, it seems. But, we thank Caputo and her team for this noteworthy effort and wish them the best in helping to build up this collaborative learning community for knowledge professionals.

Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.

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