Making the most of the EI’s collective knowledge

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Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

The Energy Institute (EI) is currently embarking on a drive to transform the way it utilises the vast knowledge held by its members for the benefit of membership, the wider energy community and society generally.

As a membership organisation the EI has a tremendous resource – the knowledge held by its diverse 16,000-strong membership. This network of collective intelligence, skills and expertise is very valuable, but harnessing it in an effective manner presents a challenge.

In forming an approach for the EI to become a specialist knowledge service provider, and to develop a tangible knowledge base, the knowledge management capability at the EI recently merged with the EI Library and Information Service to form the Energy Institute Knowledge Service (EIKS) – the vehicle for the EI to curate, create and disseminate energy knowledge. Gareth Parkes, Knowledge Manager at the EI, is an active member of the new department and his work is beginning to take the form of a new ‘Energy Matrix’ portal for EI members to tap into this knowledge.

Parkes explains that there are two parts to the task of building a comprehensive and evidence-based information service: understanding EI members more, but then also linking up the EI’s knowledge material from across the organisation’s areas of activity, so it becomesmore accessible for those looking to tap into it or conduct research.

Regarding the former, a refined energy classification system has been put in place to better link members and the EI’s products and a programme is underway to capture more information from the membership. ‘We created an energy taxonomy that links the key organisational themes against the

energy value chain, where we have built on definitions from the United Nations,’ says Parkes.
Themore information the EI has on its members will also enable a better targeting of resources and offerings back to relevant sections of its membership. With this in mind, EI members can login online to update their profiles at

And Parkes has a vision for the second part, the first phase of which is in the final stages of development. The new system will see users able to access a wide range of material around a specific subject, whether it is EI magazine articles, e-books and periodicals from the library, presentations from industry leaders, or any other form of information held by EIKS, in a single accessible database. The user’s membership level will determine the level of information accessible, with individual members being able to access all of the information, for example, with a sliding scale down to the general public which would be able to access a certain portion of it.

‘The Energy Matrix will order information across five key themes: skills and careers; energy efficiency; regulations public confidence and industry accountability; energy policy and economics; and energy sources and technologies,’ said Parkes. ‘This is where the EI’s Energy Advisory Panel (EAP) and the EI Council have identified where the EI’s main strengths lie.’

The service for members will have the functionality to let users save their searches, store their preferences and receive email updates when new information is added to the areas they are interested in. The foundations are there to deliver content specific data to different devices when users are accessing the information. And so, eventually, users will be able to tap into this knowledge base wherever they are, using whatever device they choose.

‘We as an organisation are developing in this rapidly evolving energy landscape to meet these challenges and provide information in the form and at the speed that our members want it,’ says Parkes.

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