SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650 326 6200

Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 14:43:18 -0700

Mr. Rod Welch
The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111 2496
Subject:   Research Projects for SDS and Communication Metrics

Dear Rod,

As we have discussed, I have recommended that SRI consider research on SDS-type technology and to pilot test the SDS program. Based on experience interacting with SDS records prepared for Doug Engelbart's OHS/DKR team that was meeting at SRI, shown in your record on October 17, 2000, I believe SDS technology and related work practices aim to accomplish a large part of what is commonly called Knowledge Management.
There is a large credibility gap to overcome because the usual sources for funding for development of systems like SDS are highly skeptical of anyone pedaling advances in communication. Peter Drucker laments that everybody has given up on improving communication because the problem is too complex, as shown in your record on November 30, 1993, but I believe that continued research on this important problem is worthwhile and urgent. You have pointed me to Dave Snowden's recent article in the May issue of the Journal of Knowledge Management, which reports findings by IBM that Knowledge Management has failed to meet expectations. This record makes understandable the common reluctance to believe that SDS succeeds where everyone else has failed, shown by Dave's letter to you on June 10. As a result, hesitation about Knowledge Management dominates the halls of government, industry and academia, as you and I discussed on April 26, 2001.
We are currently looking for an appropriate research project to experimentally deploy SDS. I believe research is appropriate for SDS at this time. While interacting with the record demonstrates self-evident benefits, those not directly involved retain appropriate skepticism about the viability of adding anything new to daily communications.
Gary Johnson, one of the contributors on Doug Engelbart's OHS/DKR project, also cited Buckminster Fuller's observation that it takes 50 years to introduce a new way of working into an established culture. Doug Engelbart began introducing SDS-type capability here at SRI over 40 years ago. Professor Terry Winograd, who teaches computer science at Stanford, and was familiar with Doug's work in the 1960s, commented on December 19, 2001 about SDS extending Doug's seminal work, as shown in your record. That's why I am supporting research on SDS-type capabilities.

Patrick Lincoln
Director of the Computer Science Laboratory