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11 imizing the use of knowledge. It involves the design, implemen- Additionally, it is certain that the skills of archivists, technical tation, and review of social and technological activities and writers and editors, web content designers, historians, instruc- processes to improve the creating, sharing, and applying or using of knowledge (p. 2). tors, and similar professionals regardless of job title, should also find a home under the general umbrella of KM, depend- Note that KM practices, as understood in this report, are ing on the needs of the organization. NASA at one time used directed not only to preserving historical information and the services of a cultural anthropologist. institutional memory, but also to facilitating the sharing of current knowledge and practices and enabling application of KM acts as an umbrella under which the skills of these his- prior knowledge to current work. torically separate disciplines are integrated in what may be hitherto unknown ways to create a single, increasingly coher- ent business management process. These disciplines have long PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES histories with disparate philosophies, professional cultures, habits of mind, and skill sets. In some organizations they may In this synthesis report, the term knowledge management or be in direct competition. The challenge of managers is to mesh its abbreviation, KM, refers to business management prac- the various necessary skill sets into a single integrated business tices that collectively maximize use of knowledge. process without destroying what is valuable and necessary from each. It is easy for professionals to be dismissive or even Just as the management of other asset types requires ignorant about the capabilities of professionals from other dis- specifically skilled professionals such as, in the case of finan- ciplines. For example, the librarian may underestimate the cial assets, accountants, budget experts, forecasters, bankers, skill needed by computer scientists for ensuring robust, reli- financial analysts, and so on, so too do certain professions able, secure handling of large databases with business-critical playing lead roles in the management of knowledge assets. content. Similarly, the HR manager may have a simplistic understanding of the complex practices developed over In our definition, KM is described as "trans-disciplinary." decades by librarians worldwide to properly procure, orga- This is an important concept; it implies that certain facets or nize, codify, maintain, and provide access to collections of functions of previously separate professional disciplines have literally millions of intellectual resources, including books, been intermingled to create something new, and indeed, KM periodicals (in hardcopy or electronic format or both), CDs, is a relatively new field. According to Chang-Albitres and videotapes, websites, virtual collections, content databases, Krugler (2005), KM emerged in the mid-1970s, beginning etc. In turn, the information technologist may be unaware or with the implementation of database management software, unappreciative of the HR professional's skill in forming moving into data handling in the mid-1980s, and in the 1990s high-performance work teams, managing succession strate- developing enterprise-wide database systems and document gies, and establishing cultures conducive to knowledge shar- management systems. It emerged as a business process in the ing. Moreover, to make matters even more complicated, each late 1990s. The authors list the disciplines having the most discipline's long-established practices must evolve as they profound effect on the development of KM concepts as orga- are pressed into service in new challenges and relationships. nizational science and HR management, computer science and management information systems, management science, That said, although the professionals described earlier lead psychology, and sociology (pp. 34). and drive the KM business process, all staff must be involved. Just as every employee shares responsibility for taking stew- The Australian standard AS 5037-2005 includes others ardship of the physical resources of an organization--using that should be added to Chang-Albitres and Krugler's list. AS 5037 includes the related disciplines of competitive intelli- facilities wisely, minimizing waste of space or utilities, con- gence, customer relationship management, human computer serving on electricity, storing hazardous materials properly, interaction, information management, intellectual property maintaining equipment under their care, etc.--so too must all management, market research, project management, quality employees engage in stewardship over knowledge assets as is management, records management, and risk management appropriate given their individual business responsibilities. (Australian Standard . . . 2005, pp. 6670). Over the years, the field of library science and information KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AS BUSINESS MANAGEMENT PROCESS management is perhaps the discipline most closely associated with KM in its generic sense. Practitioners in this field histor- History of Knowledge Management ically and currently contribute important techniques, stan- as Business Process dards, practices, and habits of mind for content and document management, especially for organizing, preserving, indexing, KM has a relatively short history as a recognized business and codifying, and for researching and retrieving large quan- management process. Conceptually, it has been discussed and tities of information and documents. Even a cursory review of written about, especially in the business literature, since the current trade publications aimed at librarians in specialized early 1970s. The Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov) business or government environments reveals articles on KM. apparently did not use the term "knowledge management" as

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12 an authorized subject heading in its catalog until about 1997. Creating or developing knowledge; As of this writing, the Library has applied the term to only 95 Transferring knowledge from one human mind to another titles published before 2000. It has applied the term to 519 in "non-tangible" form (often termed "tacit") through, for post-2000 works, including, as of January 2006, 38 with 2006 example, communities of practice, face-to-face discus- publication dates. Two 2006 publications are encyclopedias, sions, interviews, or roundtable sessions; which may signal a certain maturation of the field: Ency- Capturing knowledge in explicit form, as in written clopedia of Communities of Practice in Information and documents or in media such as videos, training films, pho- Knowledge Management and Encyclopedia of Knowledge tographs, graphics, presentations, and oral history inter- Management. views by trained transportation historians; Storing knowledge in some fashion for future use, as in databases or physical repositories; Categories of Knowledge Management Activities Providing finding and identification tools such as indexes, codification systems, or search software; This report focuses on specific practices for preserving and Using by applying prior knowledge to current work; and using institutional memory--that is, an organization's body Reevaluating, validating, modifying, or destroying of knowledge. Typically, these specific practices fall into the knowledge when it becomes obsolete or is found to be following broad categories of activity: erroneous.