While information managers are often not the instigators of TDM initiatives, their role can be pivotal in the ultimate success of the project. In fact, the value of any TDM project depends on knowing what questions are being addressed, what sources should—and can—be included, and what ontologies and taxonomies to use. Information managers can raise the functionality of a TDM project by bringing in the right tools to create linkages among pieces of information. As one information manager noted, knowledge management without the structure and tools of TDM is simply more data – "The magic happens once the content is brought in-house and we figure out how to make it useful; TDM brings intelligence to the data."
One of the assets that information managers bring to a TDM project is their connection to the various user groups within their enterprise. Since many organizations develop their APIs and other finding tools internally rather than relying on outside vendors, information managers can be key to understanding how users are likely to be querying the resources, what kinds of challenges they are encountering, and what kind of customization and annotation is needed for each project team. Information managers also serve to bring together all the groups and stakeholders who could benefit from the use of a licensed dataset or the development of an API to query a content collection, coordinating licensing and facilitating collaboration among user groups.
This issue of resource coordination is particularly important in companies that have experienced mergers or other disruptive events; there is often more of a reluctance to share internal information and resources when other user groups are unfamiliar or unknown. One drug information manager noted that one consequence of acquisitions within their industry was the growth of data silos and the resulting lack of cross-platform searchability. His response, by necessity, was to move forward with what he had access to and, as he said, "we just had to leave the data silos in the dust and let them shut down once we were able to offer resources with semantic enrichment and improved findability." In fact, he noted that his biggest obstacle to institutionalizing an enterprise-wide knowledge management program is raising awareness within the organization of how the information center can support their research with TDM tools and resources.
Among the roles for information managers in TDM projects are:
- Raising awareness of TDM as a research tool, particularly following an acquisition or other influx of new employees. Information centers can develop AI labs or sandbox areas, in which researchers can try out TDM methods using a combination of open access content, licensed metadata, and available TDM services. Learning events and user meet-ups can be hosted by the information center. The University of Rhode Island's AI Lab (https://web.uri.edu/ai/) is an example of how a library can support exploration of new technology within the larger organization.
- Including TDM in content licensing discussions. Every publisher takes a slightly different approach to licensing their content for TDM, and these conversations can be lengthy and technical. Both the information managers and the vendors are breaking new ground; the more that information managers bring this to the negotiation table, the more familiar all parties will be with the issues and concerns involved in TDM licensing.
- Identifying data silos and specialized resource collections. As noted above, this is particularly an issue in enterprises that experience mergers. In addition, information managers can work to identify specialized ontologies that internal groups have developed, and use them to enhance other internal and licensed content for more relevant retrieval. APIs created or licensed by one team may be of value to other groups within the organization as well.Ensuring that the right information sources are included in a TDM project. Information managers have a unique perspective on available resources, both internally and externally. Whether that is identifying an authoritative public ontology, licensing access to technical standards or patents, or incorporating customer data, other internal documents, clinical trial data, and scientific and technical publications into a KM project, information managers have a unique understanding of the best resources for each use case.
Of course, these roles require that all information center staff develop a familiarity with TDM issues and that staff members build expertise in specific areas of licensing, access, storage and preservation, training, tools and methods, and outreach. These may require significant investment in staff time and focus, which needs to be factored into any TDM initiative. Of course, this commitment to building and maintaining TDM skill sets within the information center can also be mentioned as a feature when conducting outreach and describing what the information center brings to a project. Strategic support for TDM projects both expands the impact of the information center within the enterprise and leverages the unique expertise that information managers bring.