The way we manage our content in the digital age is broken. Our content is scattered all over the place, siloed on different platforms and disconnected. Important information is buried in email inboxes, cloud storage platforms, communication tools, project management tools and the list goes on. platforms and more. The average organization uses over 20 different platforms to manage their content and the problem is only getting worse. 
Currently the products meant to solve this content sprawl such as: SharePoint, Confluence and Bloomfire are expensive, difficult to use, and hard to search.

Shelf and Modern Knowledge Management

Shelf is a content sharing platform that helps distributed teams organize, declutter, and find their most important resources in one place.

In building a solution, the Shelf team went beyond software and set out to understand the Science of Organization. They consulted Harvard librarians, change management experts, and information architects. What they discovered was that modern knowledge management needs to sit on top of all the cloud platforms that people use and help organizations to sort, declutter and organize only their most important information. Unlike typical cloud storage, modern knowledge management is based upon the 6 Pillars of the Science of Organizing which are: assess, capture, organize, find and connect. See the chart below: 

Modern Knowledge Management Platform

Step Definition Example
Screen Not all content is equal, determine only what has long-term value for capture Final proposal, pitch deck, key expert profiles, important article.
Capture Capture high value content wherever you are, from whatever platform you’re using Capture content while surfing the web, inside your inbox, on your cloud storage platforms
Organize Leverage structured metadata to make content discoverable later Folders, tags, badges, categories, descriptions, AI
Find Multifaceted search & browse to retrieve content through context Search by date, person, place, type of content, source, tag, etc.
Connect Make content smart, so it’s automatically recommended to you based on what you’re interested in . Auto recommendations, auto suggestions, & auto categorization
Easy Access Centralize key content from across the cloud and the web in one place that is easy to access and share Public sharing of groups, inviting new users, public sharing of content

A brief overview follows:

Screen

Not all information is created equal. Some things are important today, but irrelevant tomorrow. A time sensitive email, a news flash, a draft of a proposal are all examples of things that are relevant today but don’t have very much value later on. In modern knowledge management it’s important to determine whether a piece of content will have long-term value to your team or organization. If it does, it should be separated and stored in a safe location to declutter your knowledge repository.

Capture

In order to manage knowledge across a team or organization it must be easy to capture wherever it is. Valuable content is currently getting lost and buried in the information streams that constantly bombard us, so we must have a way to pull it out of the places where it is siloed. This can be done through a web clipper in a browser, a capture tool in an inbox, or a sync/import from other cloud platforms.

Organize

There isn’t a point to capturing high value content if no one can find it later. Putting high value content in a structured folder hierarchy and using tools like tags, descriptions, and AI technology to automatically add metadata ensures that content can easily be retrieved later.

Find

In knowledge management people are always more important than technology. People learn and think in different ways and that’s why it’s important to model search around the ways people remember. Context is critical to findability, so being able to retrieve content based on who shared it with you, when it was shared, or what type of information it is, can be more valuable than a keyword. If you are going to use keywords, it’s important to make sure you can search inside documents, photos, spreadsheets, and presentations. Providing a multi-faceted approach ensures that people can find exactly what they’re looking for.

Connect

The real power of modern knowledge management technology is the intelligence it can offer. Just like someone searching for a book on Amazon.com and being recommended something similar from the millions of books in it’s catalogue, a modern knowledge management platform needs to do the same for your content. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning makes content smarter, helping the right information find the right person, magically.

Easy Access

Collecting different types of content from the cloud and the web into a single place that can be easily shared with others is a core tenet of modern knowledge management. If documents can easily be shared, but web articles and important expert profiles cannot, then there is a knowledge gap that makes true sharing messy. Shelf was built to enable resources of any type to be curated in a single place and shared with the people who matter most. 

Why Shelf

Shelf is designed to help teams manage and organize their most important content. Everything about Shelf, from our search to our content capture, reflects the passion and drive of our team to build a better way to harness knowledge and make things easy to find and share.  People use Shelf to find the information they need to publish a story, make a pitch, or close an important deal, without the pain of redoing work or wasting time tracking things down.

It’s Shelf’s mission to help millions of distributed teams throughout the globe accelerate their ability to learn, share, and succeed. We are reimagining the library for the workplace of tomorrow and won’t stop until we’ve integrated all the places where important content is buried. Shelf is the missing link in a rapidly evolving, distributed workplace.

How Shelf is Different

    Shelf Dropbox Drive Box One Drive
Modern KM Screen for critical information X        
Capture any type of content X        
Organize features + AI X        
Multifaceted search & browse X        
Make content smarter so it can be auto-suggested and recommended X        
             
Cloud Storage & Collaboration Terabytes of available storage   X X X X
Primarily for files and online docs   X X X X
Can create documents online   X X X X
Can collaborate on docs online   X X X X
Sync to desktop or file servers   X X X X
             

Cloud storage platforms are primarily focused on enabling people to create files, collaborate, and store them in a centralized place. Alternatively, Shelf sits on top of cloud storage platforms, integrating with them and enabling people to easily capture the most important content, organize it in a single place, and quickly find it later. 

Shelf vs. Communication Platforms

    Shelf Gmail Slack Outlook Hip-chat
Modern KM Screen for only critical information X        
Capture any type of content X        
Organize features + AI X        
Multifaceted search & browse X        
Make content smarter so it can be auto-suggested and recommended X        
             
Communication Platforms One-to-one messaging   X X X X
One-to-many messaging   X X X X
Real time feed on “wall”   X X X X
Communication channels     X   X
Ability to attach content to messages   X X X X
             

Communications platforms are centered on enabling people to communicate virtually in real time; either 1:1 or one-to-many. Alternatively, Shelf is concerned with enabling teams to surface the most important information across their communications, organize it and easily find it later.

Shelf vs. Project Management Software

    Shelf Asana Basecamp Trello Jira
Modern KM Screen for only critical information X        
Capture any type of content X        
Organize features + AI X        
Multifaceted search & browse X        
Make content smarter so it can be auto-suggested and recommended X        
             
PM Software Set up virtual projects with tasks   X X X X
Track status of projects and tasks   X X X X
Collaborate with team on projects and tasks   X X X X
Analytics on projects and tasks   X X X X
Ability to attach files to projects and tasks   X X X X
             

Project management software is primarily concerned with creating, managing, and tracking virtual projects and the tasks related to them. Alternatively, Shelf is concerned with enabling teams to surface the most important information across their projects and capture, organize and easily find it later.

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