Friday, 1 March 2013


Don't give your knowledge stupid titles like these


The Never Know What Shop One of my hobby-horses is that publishing knowledge is of no value, unless that knowledge can be found and re-used. It needs to be usable, and to be usable (if it is published in a database or in a website) then it needs to be findable. This includes the ability to find lessons within a database, or stories within a story folder, or relevant posts within a community blog.

One of the key enablers of findability is a Good Title. The Title is the most prominent item in any browsing system or set of search results. The purpose of the Title is to enable the reader to understand whether the item is likely to be relevant to them. Based on the Title, they decide whether to open and read the item.

So part of the role of the publisher of knowledge, in ensuring findability and reusability, is to give a knowledge item a good and relevant title - not a lazy title, or a "clever" title, or an artistic title, but a title that tells the reader what's inside.

So would you know what these lessons were about, before opening them? Would the titles help you find relevant content? Would you even bother to open them? (although I could see you might be intrigued, in some cases). Apologies to any of you who wrote any of these, by the way.
  • Duplicate
  • Learning 1 of 3
  • Public Lessons Learned Entry: 0406
  • Additional learning from (Incident X)
  • Spurious event on (Project Y)
  • Z Project - After Action Review (Lesson Learned)
  • When you sweep the stairs, always start from the top (this one was not about stair sweeping by the way)
  • From take-off to landing (and it's not about flying a plane)
  • Problem

And if you want to see good practice in using titles, browse the NASA lessons database here 

1 comment:

  1. Nick, you are 100% correct. Often the title of articles have have no 'energy' and it is lost right for the start!

    ReplyDelete

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