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Big Data and Its Value to Knowledge Professionals

Knowledge professionals are well versed in managing data. With the rise of big data, they have more opportunities to reinforce their value. Big data also comes with some exciting challenges.

What is Big Data?

Big data refers to accessible, large data sets that can be analyzed to identify trends, associations, and patterns.

It can be structured or unstructured and can help business owners and other professionals plan innovative strategies and make vital decisions. Unstructured data is not organized in a pre-determined way. While big data is often text heavy, it can also include dates, numbers images and videos.

While the data itself is valuable, it is what you do with it that provides opportunity. This is the real value of knowledge professionals to organizations.

How Big Data Differs from Regular Data

Big data is characterized by variety, velocity, and volume.

  • Variety makes data sets challenging to analyze and organize. Unstructured information includes images, forum postings, and e-mail messages.
  • Velocity refers to the speed at which data is created. There are many examples from tweets and Facebook posts composed and transmitted rapidly, to remote sensors that constantly take measurements and report in close to real-time.
  • Volume refers to the amount of information available. This type of data cannot be analyzed or stored using the same methods as conventional data. It requires additional hardware and software to manage large sets of information.

How Librarians are Using Big Data

Big data is the result of technological innovation – the Internet and artificial intelligence amongst others. Decision-making becomes more successful precisely because there is more information accessible for analyses.

David Lee King, in his blog on the subject, provides a good example. He explains how libraries and knowledge centres can use big data such as GPS mapping in conjunction with a user database.

This enables knowledge managers to identify more accurately how an organization’s customers and, if applicable, businesses in the same sector operate. Retention rates, demographic changes, and business opportunities become more evident and actionable.

Big Data is an Opportunity for Knowledge Professionals

Knowing how to leverage big data is now a core skill of knowledge professionals. They understand how to mine it, analyze it for use, and make it accessible. They do so by:

  • Designing metadata schemes.
  • Creating information taxonomies.
  • Finding effective information-retrieval systems.
  • Ensuring data storage is suitable, cost-effective, and scalable according to their current and future business needs.
  • Enabling a visual and layered delivery of more granular information.

It has increased the value of those working in the information management profession. Enhanced skills, creative workflows, facilitating the creation of data, and the delivery of wider-ranging services are just some of the opportunities big data provides them and their organizations.

Big Data Has Value

Big data, because it is ever evolving, and has no apparent organization, is just raw data. It can, however, be mined.

Effective data mining goes far beyond the data’s surface. It provides knowledge professionals with endless possibilities to source information and its context to analyze, disseminate, and protect it. They do so using tools, either those included in their integrated library system or integrated third-party options.

Impact on Information Management Tools

The rise of big data has also prompted enhancements to information management tools, such as integrated library systems (ILS). An ILS like Liberty, not only enables knowledge managers to catalogue and organize the required information they find within big data sets, they include storage options based on the information load and individual library needs as well as more robust analytics and reporting tools.

Big data is the reason knowledge professionals will add even more value to their organizations. It is enabling them to apply their creative, investigative, and analytical talents!

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