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A Business Intelligence and Knowledge Stewardship Methodology Focused on Data and Information within the River Restoration Community.

Project ID: 7253
Principal Investigator: James Nagode
Research Topic: Sediment Management and River Restoration
Funded Fiscal Years: 2013
Keywords: business intelligence, data stewardship, knowledge management

Research Question

The Reclamation Leadership Team (RLT) recently approved a pilot project within the Bureau's policy to test the implementation of a policy and practice in data stewardship for river restoration data. To better inform the decision-making processes, we believe it is essential to adopt and create appropriate process and data standards, and share these across project boundaries. This project seeks to fund a scoping effort for one year to determine the data requirements, knowledge capture processes, and potential repository and visualization solutions to promote positive attributes of data management for accomplishing this. It is our contention that through sharing data, information and knowledge an improvement in mission-resource data management will result. This will produce an increase in efficiency and effectiveness, reduce redundant data collection and management costs, and optimally serve better overall decision-making.
The research project will ask what core data elements need to be collected for any given river restoration project, and then what set of processes need to be established for aligning the data collection effort to mission decisions. These results will help to optimize our data collection activities, information and knowledge creation, and affirm the following objectives: 1- be able to make the most informed decision based on a project's data, 2- be able to apply contextual-based (situational) solutions to similar problems through the sharing of the project data, and 3- rely upon our historical data and information in totality, across project boundaries, to be able to craft new solutions to problems or utilize the captured knowledge long after the intellectual resource has relocated or the project has concluded. A lifecycle / requirements-approach to project data acquisition, evaluation and management is essential so that our short-, mid-, and long-term decision-making activities are best informed.

Need and Benefit

Reclamation invests hundreds of millions of dollars into the collection and management of data, either to comply with an act of law, or to solve a singular problem. The ensuing exercise is often to create an isolated project database. People across the Bureau, let alone in the same area of subject matter expertise, are rarely aware of these efforts until a report is written and published. The result is a continuous loop of reinvention every time a similar or related question, problem or law peaks the interest of someone in authority. This repeated creation of a new data collection and management project is redundant and often wasteful. In addition, those charged with solving problems do not benefit from the current or past project results or "lessons learned," and can be less than effective in solving their own problem or issue. We believe the following benefits will be derived from this project:

1. Reclamation will perform better in its missions if we can employ a set of best practices in data and information management, capture our knowledge from our project experience, utilize it for continued problem-solving and overall re-use, and establish a set of processes for disseminating these attributes of our information assets to those who want and need them.
2. A sharing of data, information and knowledge will encourage more effective and efficient data collecting and management activities. The cyclical nature of evaluating data in the proposed data stewardship methodology will improve chances for a successful project and reduce costs. In addition, there is trend toward the sharing of data and information among researchers seen in global circles. Since 2003 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has required the sharing of data to obtain grants. As recently as 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has also implemented a policy that requires datasets be shared to secure and sustain funding. While data sharing will reduce costs of redundant data collections, it will also reduce the costs of poor data quality. Both private and federal government institutions have estimated the costs of bad data to be 40-50% of IT budgets that have to be used to develop applications and run programs and routines to correct data errors. Finally, data sharing under the Open Government Directive (m-10-06) is required. The GSA's system known as Data.Gov is the approved vehicle for disseminating datasets to the public, and each agency and bureau is held accountable to utilize this outlet. Since this research project will create a process for sharing data within and external to Reclamation all of these issues can begin to be addressed.
3. Information derived from the project will provide feedback to the current technology transfer activities ongoing in the Science & Technology organization. Tech transfer relies upon an understanding of data, information and knowledge capturing processes, which this project will report on.
4. Knowledge capture and management processes derived from the project will help Bureau organizations develop ways to conduct a transfer of knowledge from winnowing resources, and suggest better ways to do succession planning.

Contributing Partners

None

Research Products

A scoping document will be submitted for public viewing.

This information was last updated on April 20, 2014
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