A couple of years ago, I was discussing the timeliness of training with a colleague. See said to me, "It would be ideal if we could have the right training ready when the employees asked us for it." I responded, "No, ideal would be that we have learning content ready before they ask for it."
Recently I ran across a tool that tries to do just that. Watson 2.0 is a nifty little search tool that sits in a sidebar on your desktop. When you work in any one of several programs (right now it supports Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer and Firefox on the PC), it analyzes the content in your document and automatically conducts a search on the key words it's come up with.
Watson returns the results from 5 domains of content - the Web, News, Blogs, Shopping, and Desktop. In the free version, which I have loaded for the time being - it searches are of the entire web.
With the professional (for pay)version, you can eliminate specific sites or specify sites for Watson to definitely include as high priority. You can also, in enterprise wide installations, have it search your intranet.
Check out the screen clip I took when I loaded my resume into Word and let Watson do it's thing. (click on the image to see a larger version.) Watson 2.0 is to the right. The terms highlighted in yellow are the search terms Watson used. Doing this with my resume has lead me to some very good professional, as well as developmental, resources that I had not yet stumbled upon. For those wondering what "Shopping" hits came up for my resume, it was primarily books on training. You wierdos!
This last feature really sounds like a potential winner. I can imagine working on a prosposal at work and having all the historical data that is related to my project presenting itself to me as I type! I wouldn't have to go research it. It'd be there as I need it. Talk about capturing corporate knowledge in a useful fashion!
Check out Watson 2.0. The free version has most of the functionality of the for a fee version, so you won't be out anything but your time.