Knowledge base citations and feedback: Why they matter

Article submitted by Becky Cowin, Knowledge Management Specialist.


Existing knowledge base (KB) content is under review to determine what articles will move to the new instance of ServiceNow in a few months. User engagement data tells us if an article is worth keeping, and this data will drive the decisions leading up to the move. KB users need to take action now to ensure the articles they use are not left behind. 

The WashU IT knowledge base works with the methodology of Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS), and one important principle is “Reuse is review.” Every time an article is re-used to successfully resolve or deflect an incident, this is verification that the article is helpful and should maintain its place in the KB. However, this process only works if the user lets us know by citing the article or leaving positive feedback.  

KCS also recommends starting a new instance fresh with an empty KB, but many of our articles have lots of positive feedback and citations, and we do not want to remove content that is helpful. We will not be following this recommendation wholesale, but more than fifty percent of our current KB articles have never had any user engagement beyond being viewed – no citations, no feedback. When we remove unused and duplicate content, we get cleaner search results and it becomes easier for users to find what they need. 

 It may seem easier to just glance over an article and use what you’ve read to solve a problem, then go on your way without any engagement. The ServiceNow KB data indicate when someone viewed the article and did not use it. Many, many articles have dozens of views over the last few months and no citations or feedback. This data suggests these articles might not be worth keeping if people are reading them and, as far as we know, not using them. Your feedback and citations matter – you are telling your KB team what is useful to you, and what to keep. Cite articles in your tickets, mark the articles useful, give them 4-5 star ratings. Without that data from you, KB articles you use are at risk of being left behind