IAF Liaisons

Global Library of Intellectual Resources for Quality, Safety and Sustainability

Merih Malmqvist Nilsson
INetQI Chair

It is a well-known fact that it is difficult for any organisation or person to find a central location for relevant, appropriate and verified information on how to achieve quality, safety and sustainability of products and services. Internet searches do not necessarily give the most relevant results, and usually follow the previous search history of the person searching or prioritise organisations that have paid to be prioritised if a search is made with their keywords.

This leaves users of the Quality Infrastructure (QI), especially new users, with an unfortunate lack of information and guidance on topics relating to the core values to which we work and the deliverables that we produce. In particular, available resources are not gathered in a central library or platform facilitating accessibility of the information.

The first all-encompassing initiative to communicate with businesses and regulators on the use of the QI in a successful way was taken a number of years ago by IIOC, IAF and ILAC and resulted in the two websites www.publicsectorassurance.org and www.business-benefits.org. The aim was to provide a single reference point for evidence-based information about the QI. This very successful initiative brings together case studies and research materials pertaining to the achievement of quality, safety and sustainability on a single platform, giving organisations and regulators a spectrum of possible ways of using the tools of the QI to achieve their goals. These two websites are now under the auspices of INetQI and have been branded with the INetQI logo.

The next initiative came from ISO/CASCO STAR, Strategic Alliance and Regulatory Group, which provides a forum for industry sectors and regulators to interact with CASCO. ISO/CASCO STAR, in its December 2019 meeting, identified the need to create a library to gather in one place all intellectual resources related to the work and functions of the global QI including brochures, guidelines, videos and other communications. Such a library would provide relevant, appropriate and verified information and guidance for those seeking to achieve quality, safety and sustainability for their products and services. ISO/CASCO STAR identified INetQI as an appropriate custodian for such a library and INetQI has, since its meeting in December 2019, been working on the creation of this library, under the direction of project manager Mr Brahim Houla representing IAF.

One of the common mistakes of communication is our inherent inability to see ourselves with the eyes of others. To put it more bluntly, we take our own frame of reference as the absolute truth to define the needs of others and do not make any effort to see communication needs with the eyes of those who are looking for the information that we are privy to. This is the challenge! How does the “the information seeker” do a search? Per industry sector, per activity or some other perspective? We need to look at the material from different angles and in particular we need to look at it from the outside in and not from the inside out.

The output of a central library needs to be a meaningful combination of material and links that serves a specific user’s needs. The user should be able to easily find content corresponding to a specific need in a user-friendly package. A number of organisations have successfully categorised their information on their websites. We have taken those as a role model and have been looking in particular at the website of the World Bank Group under “Knowledge/Development Topics” where available information is categorised from the perspective of the user.

At this stage, there is already unanimous agreement among INetQI member organisations on the layout and architecture of the future library. The next step is to investigate the most appropriate IT solution, and we are currently in discussions with a potential provider. Once that is done, the most onerous part of the work will be to categorise the resources according to the layout and structure of the library to enable a thorough search, which will give relevant, appropriate and verified information to the users. We believe that this library will be one of the major footprints of the INetQI.

Finally, as in all efforts, the library will need initial financial resources and to that end we have been looking into various possibilities.  We have also identified a potential source of funding, and are encouraged by the interest in this project, and the speed with which it is progressing.

Should you wish to have any further information on this project, you are welcome to contact  Mr Houla  (brahim@gac.org.sa) or any of the members of the network.

Categories: IAF Liaisons