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US Congress Lacks Knowledge Management Strategy    [Date Added : 12/25/2012 ]
The US Congress lacks basic knowledge management strategies, depending instead upon outdated systems for information referral, sorting, communicating and collaborating, according to a policy document published by the New America Foundation.

US lawmakers have information - in fact, they are drowning in it - but they do not have a deliberate system providing inclusive information that is not overshadowed by special interest and advocacy-group data, writes Lorelei Kelly, a research fellow at the New America Foundation.

There are, however, some legislative dashboards and communication management tools that are helping. Correlate helps legislators with constituent correspondence, iConstituent offers data management and communications tools and Popvox provides information curation and gathers constituent input on pending legislation, states the report.

However, use of such tools is not widespread, and broader organizational problems exacerbate the problem of knowledge asymmetry within the US Congress, writes Kelly. For example, there is a serious disparity between the subject matter information provided to committees, and that provided to the elected officials' personal staff on the and that provided to staff back home in the state or district.

And, not all politicians want to routinely share data or encourage robust knowledge management either, notes the report.

"Reaction and ignorance about long term impacts of decision making inevitably serves one interest or another," writes Kelly. "On any particular action, one side will want to minimize negative outcomes and highlight benefits."

The report makes several recommendations for improving knowledge management within the US Congress. Among them, Kelly suggests the US Congress open more data so outside groups can create tools to benefit public information access and explore creating knowledge tools for public sharing and submission of information using new technologies.

The report also recommends that the US Congressional Research Service adopt mapping tools to help members see consolidated data, via dashboards.
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