Knowledge Navigator gets a refresh, modernizes for information and business excellence

January 23, 2023

— Data freeze starting Feb 6 — 

What is Knowledge Navigator? 

Knowledge Navigator (KN) is the University of Washington’s web-based application that displays business terms, their definitions, and data relationships used by everyone at UW. KN provides context to data used across the University and is UW’s one source for finding and understanding information across critical subject areas (Student/Academic, Human Resources, Financial, Research Administration) which enables informed decision-making. 

Knowledge Navigator

Why is Knowledge Navigator being redesigned? 

Since 2015, when Knowledge Navigator first launched, it has run in Microsoft Azure using a classic virtual machine. This virtual machine will no longer be supported by Microsoft after March 2023, so KN’s infrastructure is being redesigned and upgraded to use a cloud-based, database-as-a-service platform known as AuraDB by Neo4J, which provides expanded capabilities, minimizes costs and increases security. 

Bart Pietrzak, director for Enterprise Reporting & Analytics, notes, “To use and make decisions with data, it needs to be discoverable and understood. A centralized repository for the University’s data terms and definitions is essential to its decision-making capabilities. This redesign work ensures that Knowledge Navigator continues to be the University’s most critical and comprehensive tool that empowers end users to make informed decisions.” 

What changes will customers experience? 

Much of the redesign work won’t be visible on customer-facing pages; it’s the unseen critical infrastructure that will be upgraded and refactored, but which provides users with background benefits like maintenance efficiencies and increased security. And KN users will experience a new streamlined home page, while favorite and familiar features remain intact and run exactly as you expect. 

  • Streamlined home page 
  • Maintenance efficiencies 
  • Increased security 

Who’s working on the KN redesign? 

KN redesign work started in late September 2022 with experts from UW-IT’s Information Management division and the Program Management Office. The team includes:  

  • Developers: Moon Koslowsky, Tech Project Lead, Andrew Nelson, Senior Full-Stack Engineer and Indra Narayan, Data Engineer 
  • Business SME: Keith A. Van Eaton, Metadata Manager  
  • Quality Assurance: Jean Darlington, Tester 
  • Product Owner: Katayoon Moazzami, Business Systems Analyst 
  • Key Stakeholder: Bart Pietrzak, Director, IM: Enterprise Reporting and Analytics 
  • Sponsor: Anja Canfield-Budde, Associate Vice President, Information Management   
  • Project Manager: Colleen Butler, Project Manager, UW-IT Research Computing & Strategy, Program Management Office 

What’s happened so far? 

  • Home page modernization – a reveal will be coming soon!  
  • Upgrade of KN application with latest .NET and Neo4J client frameworks 
  • Migration of data to AuraDB 

 What’s happening now? 

  • Code refactoring to leverage AuraDB 
  • Implementing a new search engine using Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search 
  • Testing and debugging 

When will the redesigned KN go live?

The team is on track to launch the redesigned application in mid-February 2023. 

NOTE: Data Freeze starting Feb 6

In preparation for the Knowledge Navigator redesign launch in midFebruary, there will be a data freeze starting Feb 6. Please keep the following in mind: 

  • Favorites created during the freeze may not be available after the launch. 
  • Some of your current bookmarks may change after the launch.  


If you need more information or have questions, please contact us at with “KN Redesign” in the subject line.