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Published by: MELJUN CORTES, MBA,MPA on Aug 22, 2013
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Knowledge Management on the Web

Meg Tulloch Brent Mai
SUMMARY. Knowledge management is another valuable concept within the business world. The authors outline major Web resources for finding information on knowledge management as well as Web-based publications. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: <docdelivery@haworthpress.com> Website: <http://www.HaworthPress.com> © 2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.]

KEYWORDS. Knowledge management, Web sites

INTRODUCTION The origin of “knowledge management” (KM) can be traced to the early 1970s and the development of what, at that time, was called a “decision support system.” Terms like “management information systems” (MIS), “expert system,” and “artificial intelligence” (AI) soon joined the vernacular as advances in computer technology rapidly increased storage capacity, processing speed, and output options. Sprouting out of AI, the phrase “knowledge management” became the buzzword of the day in the mid-1990s. Despite KM initiative’s eighty percent failure rate, applications of these concepts continue to be reincarnated.1
Meg Tulloch is Information Services Librarian, Walker Management Library, Vanderbilt University (E-mail: meg.tulloch-ray@owen.vanderbilt.edu). Brent Mai is Director, Walker Management Library, Vanderbilt University (E-mail: brent.mai@owen.vanderbilt.edu).
[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: “Knowledge Management on the Web.” Tulloch, Meg, and Brent Mai. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship (The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 8, No. 3/4, 2003, pp. 213-221; and: The Core Business Web: A Guide to Key Information Resources (ed: Gary W. White) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2003, pp. 213-221. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: docdelivery@ haworthpress.com].

http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=J109  2003 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 10.1300/J109v08n03_08



The Core Business Web: A Guide to Key Information Resources

Knowledge management is the systematic process of finding, selecting, organizing, distilling, and presenting information in a way that improves an employee’s comprehension in a specific area of interest.2 KM is an effort to identify what is known so that decisions can be made about the risks associated with what is truly unknown. Applications of this process can be made for the benefit of any organization whether corporate, non-profit, governmental, or academic. In many organizations, the most difficult part of this process is capturing the knowledge, skills, and competencies of what the business community would call human capital. Until captured through some sort of knowledge management scheme, the knowledge, skills, and competencies of human capital are owned by individuals rather than the organization. A complete system of corporate knowledge management may also incorporate structural capital (i.e., the processes, structures, information systems, and patents that remain with a company when employees leave) and customer capital (i.e., relationships with customers and knowledge of their behavior relative to the organization’s reputation, products/services, and prices). The trend is moving from using knowledge management as a stockpile organization theory to one of managing the flow of knowledge. There are literally thousands of KM sites on the Web. Most seem to be associated eventually with some think-tank or consulting group. The three sites reviewed here are those that have been identified as the mega portals for the topic of KM: Brint.com; Knowledge Management Resource Center; and DM Review. There is original content to each one, but most of the topical information is found through links to other sites. A statement to their stability is that each of these three sites has been around for several years and each appears to be up-to-date. When tested with a 100 Mbps Ethernet connection, the pages of each site load without hesitation. Very few, if any, dead links were found. These sites were last viewed on 15 February 2002. Following the review of the three sites are direct links to organization and publication sites for KM. Most of these are included in the portal sites, but it is important to comment on them directly for a full understanding of the KM world on the Web. Brint.com (http://km.brint.com) In addition to knowledge management, Brint.com serves as a portal to resources in general business, technology, and e-business. Fast Company notes, “If BRINT doesn’t have it, then you probably don’t need

Meg Tulloch and Brent Mai


it.”3 BRINT’s KM portal touts itself as “The Premier Knowledge Management Portal and Global Virtual Community of Practice for the New World of Business.” That’s a mouth full, but many sources give it credit for being one of the most comprehensive for coverage of KM and its related components. Brint.com was established in 1996. Its stated mission is “Developing leading-edge thinking and practice on contemporary business, technology and knowledge management issues to facilitate organizational and individual performance, success and fulfillment.” The site does not identify its intended audience directly but does imply that its linked resources are vital to KM executives. A cursory knowledge of KM jargon helps when using this site, which suggests that it is not intended for a complete novice to the field. Brint.com aggregates content through arrangements with publishing houses, corporations, consulting firms, and experts on individual topics. BRINT’s KM site identifies itself as the “virtual library on knowledge management.” The KM Portal thoroughly explores many aspects of this specialty, including sections devoted to out-of-the-box thinking, a discussion list and archives, practitioner perspectives, an online magazine and forums, KM quotes, an event calendar, an executive’s network, and executive job listings. The discussion list is quite active with current additions on the day this review was written. Many of the discussions are driven by the postings to the “Out-of-Box Thinking” portion of the site. The archives of these discussions are extensive, going back to 1997, which is probably when they began. There is a box for keyword searching of the archived discussions. The Knowledge Executive’s Network (KEN) is an invitation-only group. Without admittance to this network, it is difficult to tell exactly what value it has, but the hype on the Brint.com site makes it sound critical to building and maintaining successful KM executives. At first glance, this text-heavy site appears quite chaotic with heavy use of “bolding” and frequent font changes. A second and third glance may not change this perception, but there is a pattern of presentation. Some links go directly to content items while others go to further lists of links. BRINT may have it all, but it takes some effort to find it. Recent articles grouped by topic are listed on the right bar. The left bar links to articles by BRINT authors and information about BRINT itself. At the top of that left bar is a search box that apparently searches the entire site. This box can be helpful when a unique word or phrase is sought. The center column of the screen is where the majority of the vi-


The Core Business Web: A Guide to Key Information Resources

sual confusion lies. There is, however, near the top of this column a listing of the major headings as they appear further down the page. This listing provides a quick link to the information below. The initial pages of the site make heavy use of acronyms (KM, CRM, XML, CIO, WAP, 3G, and B2B) so knowledge of KM and e-commerce related jargon is helpful for speedy navigation. Links to all four of the brint.com “channels” (general business, business technology, e-business, and knowledge management) are visible from many pages, and it is quite easy to jump from one area to another without realizing it. The BRINT Institute is the entity behind this sponsor-financed site. Like many other KM sites, the consulting services offered by the BRINT Institute are at the heart of its existence. BRINT is a well-respected player in this field; so well-respected that a report by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) stated, “In ten years, we may read a Business Week or U.S. News and World Report ranking of the top learning portals. It remains to be seen whether the names on this ranking will still belong only to traditional business education providers or whether newcomers such as BRINT will be ranked between Harvard and Wharton.”4 Knowledge Management Resource Center (http://www.kmresource.com/) The Knowledge Management Resource Center produced by the IKM Corporation provides background information about almost every area of knowledge management. It covers university KM sites, international KM sites, organizations, periodicals, news, community, and case studies links and is the first place to look for information about knowledge management. IKM Corporation is a research, publishing, and consulting firm specializing in knowledge management for a general and an experienced KM audience. Its mission is “to support the implementation of intelligent knowledge management through research, training, publishing, and consulting”5 with an emphasis on the use of KM in e-commerce, information technology management, and training.6 The Business 2.0 Web site (http://www.business2.com/webguide/0, 1660,8129,FF.html) recognizes IKM Corporation as a knowledge management service provider and mentions its Web site as an “extensive KM resource center.”7 The Knowledge Management Resource Center is a simple site. The home page is streamlined with only five content links to its main content areas: “What’s New,” “Explorer,” “Bookstore,” “Search,”

Meg Tulloch and Brent Mai


and “Feedback.” “What’s New” highlights recently added links to information, articles, case studies, conferences, and KM tools. The “Explorer” section covers a wide array of types of information about KM. The “KM Explorer” section is divided into the following categories: “Introduction to KM”; “Case Studies in KM”; “Knowledge Links”–links to articles, essays, white papers, reports, reviews about KM; “In the News”; “Community”; “Lots of Links”–collections of links in KM disciplines; “KM Sites”; “Related sites”; “Products & Services”; “Conferences and Events”; “International KM”; “Knowledge Markets”; “Periodicals”; “Professional Organizations”; “Search Engines” and “Portals.” Under each of these categories are about fifteen to thirty sites with reviews of each site under the link to them. The reviewed sites are a mix of commercial, educational, and organizational hosted sites. For more information about the different areas of knowledge management, the KM bookstore section of the Web site has a bibliography of 216 titles with links to reviews on Amazon.com. Under the site’s “Search” section the search engine allows for Boolean searching. The “KM Resource Center” is also interested in feedback about the site and provides a form behind the “Feedback” link of the site. It is very hard to tell how often the site is updated; it appears sporadically as new information is found. To check for the latest additions, go to the “What’s New” section. When viewed in February 2002, the Web site had been updated with a copyright of 2002, and some sites have definitely been added in 2002. Navigating through the different areas of the site is easy. The main navigational tool on all the pages except the Home page is a top right hand navigation bar. That top bar has links to the six main areas of the Web site that will help the user get back to any area of the Web page quickly. A brown box at the top of the screen identifies the path taken thus far with a “breadcrumb” trail and gives additional information about that page as well as making recommendations about other places in the site that could be helpful. The Knowledge Management Resource Center produced by the IKM Corporation is well organized, easy to use and thorough. DM Review (http://www.dmreview.com/) The DM Review Web site is based on the print DM Review and e-mail DM Direct Newsletter focusing on business intelligence, e-business, customer relationship management, and data warehousing. It is a hybrid of


The Core Business Web: A Guide to Key Information Resources

data management and knowledge management information and provides both technical and theoretical information about these subjects. Business Objects describes DM Review’s readership as “corporate executives, IT professionals, consultants, integrators.”8 Its mission is to provide “both business and technology perspectives regarding issues, trends and solutions of interest to corporate executives and IT managers.”9 The DM Review Web site is produced by the EC Media Group which is part of the Thomson Financial company. The material on the site is generated by the staff at EC Media Group and often comes from EC Media’s publications. DM Review offers white papers as well as articles, Web resources, and book reviews in each of its topic areas. While there are no stated criteria for inclusion of information, the coverage of the printed DM Review’s monthly publication would appear to apply to the Web site’s philosophy: “DM Review taps the top industry experts to explore the important issues and bring informative and timely articles, data warehouse success stories, executive interviews, and third-party product reviews to its reader.”10 Although the reader will most likely first notice the featured articles in the center of the home page, the sections outlined in the sidebar reveal the depth of information offered on the site. These sections are: • “Stay Informed” has the articles from DM Review (the magazine) and DM Direct Newsletter that are available on the Web. This section also has a Webcast Direct Newsletter, industry news, special reports from DM, an archive of articles, online columnists, an industry events section, a content alert section, and a career center. • “Resource Portal” takes different topics and provides a short description of each topic, articles about the topic as well as white papers and suggested books to read, associations having to do with the topic and additional Web sites that have more information about the topic. • The “General Resources” section is a reference library with information about vendors in the field, articles that readers liked, articles that the editors deemed “classics,” product reviews, software demos, a white paper library with all of DM Review’s white papers, online posters, a bookstore with 250 books featured and reviewed, an author index, a glossary, and additional Internet resources. • “Get in Touch” provides industry contacts to related associations and organizations as well as the opportunity to pose a question to the experts.

Meg Tulloch and Brent Mai


• “Corporate Information” is the last section in the sidebar. It provides the user with the normal array of contact information, customer service, subscription information to the DM Review magazine, DM awards, press release, and calendar information. The DM Review Web site is constantly updated. On 12 February 2002 there was already a column from 11 February 2002 on the home page. Many stories are updated monthly when the print DM Review is published. Also, content is added from the weekly e-mail newsletter DM Direct. Other sections of the Website are updated constantly, such as the “Events” and the “Editorial Calendar.” The most common navigational tool throughout the DM Review site is the left-hand sidebar. The parent (or home page) level sidebar reveals the contents of the site. You can navigate to any major area from it. The disadvantage of such an extensive sidebar is that it is long. However, it does make navigating throughout the site easy. In certain areas of the site, such as the portals, there are child level (or page level) sidebars that let the user easily reach more information on the page level subject. On every page the DM logo helps the user navigate back to the home page where the complete sidebar resides. The DM Review Web site provides in-depth technical and theoretical information on the data management and knowledge management fields. It is an excellent and relatively easy to use Web site. ORGANIZATIONS American Productivity and Quality Center (http://www.apqc.org) The American Productivity and Quality Center is a member-based organization that offers education, training, benchmarking services, action research, and publications. It sponsors regular conferences on KM issues. Knowledge Management Consortium International (http://www.kmci.org) The Knowledge Management Consortium International is a member-based organization that provides certification programs through the KMCI Institute. It publishes a quarterly journal and sponsors regular symposia around the world on KM concepts and practices.


The Core Business Web: A Guide to Key Information Resources

The Knowledge Management Professional Society (http://www.kmpro.org) The Knowledge Management Professional Society is a member-based organization that conducts training and certification programs and networking opportunities. Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (http://www.scip.org) The Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals is a member-based organization that supports those involved in creating and managing business knowledge through education and networking opportunities. PUBLICATIONS There are many publications which cover the world of KM or its components. Several of those most often sited are briefly examined here. CRM Magazine (http://www.destinationCRM.com) From the same publishers as KMM, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) focuses on issues and ideas that can help organizations better understand and leverage their customer knowledge. It is also available for free in several CRM focused areas via e-mail. KM Metazine (http://www.ktic.com) This Web magazine is cited by many sources as a premier publication in the field of KM. It appears, however, to be defunct as of this review. KM News (http://www.kmnews.com/) KM News is a free e-mail newsletter that has a Web site with back issues of the newsletter and supporting information about knowledge management. The technology chart with software categorization and linking Web sites is a unique feature.

Meg Tulloch and Brent Mai


KMWorld (http://www.kmworld.com) Formerly ImagingWorld, KMWorld appears in both print and electronic formats covering document, image, and workflow systems. Online issues are available back to its prototype debut. Of particular strength is its product information. Knowledge Inc. (http://www.knowledgeinc.com) Originally a Web-based newsletter for executives who are engaged in or exploring opportunities in knowledge and intellectual capital management, it no longer appears to be subscription-based. The site still includes many worthwhile case studies and interviews with executives. The focus of the site, however, has moved toward provision of consulting services. Knowledge Management Magazine (http://www.destinationKM.com) Line56 Media’s KMM inaugurated its new digital-only version on December 12, 2001. It is available via e-mail free of charge. The publication has an enterprise-wide focus. Do not confuse this title with Bizmedia’s Knowledge Management Magazine, which is primarily a print publication. NOTES
1. Fluss, D. (2002, February) “Why Knowledge Management is a ‘DIRTY’ Word,” Customer Interface, 15 (2), 40. 2. Knowledge Management Glossary. [Online]. Available at: http://www.bus. utexas.edu/kman/glossary.htm February 15, 2002. 3. Nerds Need Apply. [Online]. Fast Company.com. Available at: http://www.fast company.com/online/34/firstsite2.html February 15, 2002. 4. Learning Portals: Reshaping Business and Corporate Education. [Online]. At Issue. Available at: http://www.westerbeck.com/files/Issue.htm February 15, 2002. 5. IKM Corporation. [Online]. Available at: http://www.ikmcorp.com/mission. htm February 15, 2002. 6. IKM Corporation [Online]. Available at: http://www.ikmcorp.com/who.htm February 13, 2002. 7. Business 2.0 [Online]. Available at: http://www.business2.com/webguide/ 0,1660,8129,FF.html February 13, 2002. 8. Business Objects [Online]. Available at: http://www.businessobjects.com/news/ press/press2000/dmreview_readership2000.htm February 15, 2002. 9. DM Review [Online]. Available at: http://www.dmreview.com/marketing/ 2002/?NavID=42 February 15, 2002. 10. EC Media Group. [Online]. Available at: http://www.ecmediagroup.com/ Magazines/dmreview.cfm February 12, 2002.

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