Creating Knowledge Bases for Design and Facility Management

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Zimring, Craig
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Despite their increasing numbers, post-occupancy evaluation reports often languish on shelves rather than serving as the basis of future renovation, design, or facility management. One reason for this is that information is scattered and difficult to find, and knowledge bases appear to offer the possibility to solve these problems. In this workshop we examine several recent efforts to create paper and computerized knowledge bases of environmental design evaluation information. We briefly discuss: (1) the Archie Project, a five-year collaboration between environmental design researchers and computer scientists at Georgia Tech aimed at creating a computerized case-based design aid; (2) the US Embassies POE Database Project, a computer database being created to provide staff and consultants of the Foreign Building Operations with access to POE information and other lessons learned; (3) Younger Workers Housing Mementos, a French multi-year effort aimed at using evaluation to generate collaboration between designers and administrators; (4) a medical laboratory database. These efforts raise several theoretical and practical questions that will be discussed in this workshop session: (1) How does one get started in creating an environmental design knowledge base? (2) Who are expected audiences for these knowledge bases and how are they to use the information? For example, what should be different about knowledge bases for design students, professional designers, facility managers, or upper administrators? How does focusing on one audience or another affect the content, database structure and interface? (3) Where does content come from? Who enters information in a knowledge base? Who keeps it current? (4) How can information be categorized and indexed? (5) What software packages are available and what are their relative advantages and disadvantages? Participants include Michel Conan (Centre Scientifique et Technique du Batiment), Thierry Rosenheck (U.S. Department. of State), Wolfgang Preiser (Cincinnati), and Sonit Bafna, Saif-ul Hag, & Sharon Tsepas (Georgia Tech), and as discussant, Jay Farbstein (Farbstein & Associates).
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