To: Mr. Spacely Copies to: Dr.

Bajjaly From: Matthew Landau Date: March 7, 2007 Subject: The implications of knowledge management to information professionals The purpose of this memorandum is to explore the implications of knowledge management, abbreviated as KM, to information professionals. Motivating KM is the realization that organizations can better compete if they "know what they know." KM attempts to enhance the value of human capital by connecting what the organization knows to what is does. The Nature of Knowledge Knowledge exists on the continuum ranging from data, to information, to knowledge, to wisdom. Utility is maximized at wisdom, but managing wisdom is not applicable to most situations because wisdom requires experience, and that can not be transferred. Knowledge also has high utility, and it can be transferred. Knowledge can be categorized into tacit and explicit. Tacit is what resides in the heads of organizational members, whereas explicit is contained in the artifacts found both within and without the organization. KM is concerned with two main objectives: knowledge creation, and knowledge sharing. These objectives and correspond to processes as framed in Nanaka’s Four Process Model: Tacit to … Socialization - Sharing Externalization - Sharing Explicit to … Internalization - Creation Combination - Creation

Tacit Explicit

Eliciting tacit knowledge is a major hurdle to effective knowledge sharing. Not only is it intangible, and thus hard to manifest, but there are often cultural disincentives within the organization, such as intellectual ownership concerns and traditions of silence, that influence the amount and quality of knowledge transfer. The Value of KM Information professionals can manage knowledge in two contexts: within the organization and in the organizations service to the outside world. Considering KM within the organization, information professionals often are managers who must accomplish things through people. Having a handle on what the people know illuminates the path to success. • • • • To plan, one must understand the intellectual resources available. To organize, one must match talents with tasks. To influence, one must encourage a culture of knowledge sharing and creation. To control, one must utilize the techniques of KM.

Information professionals also need to manage knowledge in the context of what their organization does. Librarians, for instance, manage knowledge on a daily basis in their

responsibilities to patrons. KM is an innovative field whose tools and techniques can adopted to serve the public. Virtual reference services are a prime example of the externalization of knowledge, and OPAC’s are useful in combining knowledge. Viewing library services through the lens of KM can benefit both librarians and knowledge managers. Indeed, often there is little distinction. The Culture of Effective KM Effective KM requires the participation of those with or desiring to have knowledge. Getting around cultural disincentives to knowledge sharing and creation requires leadership. Some actions that ameliorate the cultural disincentives include: • • • • Define knowledge roles that signal the value of knowledge in the organization. Create communities of practice to encourage communication. Institute policies that recognize and reward intellectual effort. Implement social technology such as social networking software and blogs.

The Tools of KM The technological side of KM is booming. Almost every type of information technology can be applied to KM. Some examples are electronic water-coolers, video conferencing, digital whiteboards, data warehouses, information retrieval systems, etc. Every information professional should know about these technologies because they are changing the environment in which information resides. Understanding these technologies as knowledge tools further specifies the environment. Knowledge tools derive their value from what they support, as well as how they support it. Information technology can detract from effective KM if it is poorly designed, or if it supports invalid content. Content management is concerned with the question of “what,” and a new avenue of research is validation technology. The following examples illustrate how validation technology can affect KM: • • • Jimmy Wales revolutionized the Internet by creating Wikipedia. It relies on consensus to verify knowledge, and is currently of limited authority. Hewlett Packard created an economic market for knowledge about sales trends. It succeeded because they created an incentive for honesty in determining the value of specific knowledge. Luis von Ahn further created a game that harnessed the power of human computation to elicit and verify tacit knowledge. His paradigm may shift KM in novel directions.

On the Wealth of Knowledge Information professionals need to know about KM because it affects not just their organizations, but also the environment of their organizations. Removing the barriers to the sharing and creation of knowledge is the goal of KM, and also the goal of many information professionals. New behaviors, tools, and paradigms will not just remove the barriers, but will encourage the free exchange of knowledge. With proper management, knowledge is a resource that increases with use.

Anklam, P. (2006). Knowledge management and the social network. Inside Knowledge, 6(8). Retrieved on 3/5/2007 from Describes techniques to examine the social paths through which knowledge travels within an organization. Relies on survey methodology to examine these paths. Provides an example employee network, and a breakdown of the connection densities between various parts of the network. Fails to address incentives for dishonest survey responses. Fayyad, U., Piatetsky-Shapiro, G., & Smyth, P. (1996). From data mining to knowledge discovery in databases. American Association for Artificial Intelligence. Pp. 37-54. Hoffmann, K.L., Walter, T., & Herrmann, T. (1991). A design process for embedding knowledge management in everyday work. Proceedings of the International ACM SIGGROUP Conference on Supporting Group Work. Kambil, A. (2003). You can bet on idea markets. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge. Retrieved on 3/5/2007 from Describes attempts at Hewlett Packard and British Petroleum to elicit and aggregate critical business knowledge. Reveals striking successes in these attempts through the use of idea markets. Lists benefits of idea markets as being fun, eliciting honest opinions, providing a dynamic system, ease of implementation, and allowing for informative aggregations of predictions. Does not mention obstacles to this approach. Koenig, M.E.D., & Srikantaiah, T.K. (2002). Business world discovers assets of librarianship. Information Outlook Online. Retrieved on 3/5/2007 from minder=yes Lesser, E., & Everest, K. (2003). Communities of practice: making the most of intellectual capital. IBM Institute for Business Value study. Identifies problems in technological approaches to knowledge management. Defines "community of practice," and lists benefits to this approach. Identifies organizational behaviors necessary to support communities of practice. Specifies questions to ask in assessing the effectiveness of an organizations knowledge management processes. Marwick, A.D. (2001) Knowledge management technology. IBM Systems Journal, 40(4). Uses the Nonaka model of tacit and explicit knowledge processes to evaluate new knowledge management technologies. Analyzes tacit to tacit, tacit to explicit,

explicit to explicit, and explicit to tacit processes and relevant technologies. Claims to be comprehensive but fails to mention idea markets, folksonomy, and other human computation methods. McCurley, K.S., & Tomkins, A. (2004). Mining and knowledge discovery from the web. 7th International Symposium on Parallel Architectures, Algorithms and Networks, Proceedings. Provides an outline of the stages in the knowledge management trend: from technological implementation, to social and human capital interaction, to content management. Focuses on how librarians should seize the opportunity to engage in the third stage, because that stage is primarily involved with the organization of information. Provides only anecdotes and broad claims about these stages. However, does analyze the enthusiasm behind the trend. Ruggles, Rudy. (1998). The state of the notion: knowledge management in practice. California Management Review. Vol 40, No. 3. pp 80-90. von Ahn, L. (2005). Human computation. Unpublished masters thesis. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Retrieved on 3/5/2007 from