Knowledge management can librarians do it
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Knowledge Management: Can Librarians Do It?. Lee Chu Keong Nanyang Technological University. Short Answer. Yes!. discomfort. But, some changes are needed!. Changes That Are Needed. A shift in perspective on the concept of “knowledge” A shift in perspective on the concept of “silence”

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Knowledge Management: Can Librarians Do It?

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Knowledge management can librarians do it

Knowledge Management:Can Librarians Do It?

Lee Chu KeongNanyang Technological University


Short answer

Short Answer

Yes!

discomfort

But, some changes are needed!


Changes that are needed

Changes That Are Needed

  • A shift in perspective on the concept of “knowledge”

  • A shift in perspective on the concept of “silence”

  • A shift in perspective on the concept of “intermediary”


Traditional role of libraries

Traditional Role of Libraries

  • Selection: Selecting and acquiring available information in the marketplace, based on user needs and quality standards, within the available budget

  • Storage: maintaining the availability of publications through long-term storage and preservation

  • Service: making the information resources available through facilities and procedures for on-site consultation, lending and document delivery

  • Support: giving the user guidance and assistance, including the development and maintenance of support systems such as catalogues, on-line help systems, websites, …


Traditional role of libraries1

Traditional Role of Libraries

  • Selection: Selecting and acquiring available information in the marketplace, based on user needs and quality standards, within the available budget

  • Storage: maintaining the availability of publications through long-term storage and preservation

  • Service: making the information resources available through facilities and procedures for on-site consultation, lending and document delivery

  • Support: giving the user guidance and assistance, including the development and maintenance of support systems such as catalogues, on-line help systems, websites, …

Books

Periodicals

documents

CD-ROMs

Databases


Knowledge perspective 1

Knowledge: Perspective 1

“As Object” vs “As Process”

Positivist Axioms

 knowability of the universe

 factual nature of scientific knowledge

 irrelevance of value judgment

Interactional

 environmental

 relational

 context


Knowledge perspective 2

Knowledge: Perspective 2

“As point” on a continuum


Knowledge perspective 3

Knowledge: Perspective 3

“As potential” of a very powerful sort


Information sources

Information Sources

Information Sources

dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, almanacs, handbooks, directories, atlases, gazetteers, biographies, abstracts & indexes – annual reports, patents & trademarks, statistical sources, market research reports, white papers, stock data, company information, …


Knowledge sources

Knowledge Sources

Knowledge Sources

human being(s)!


Knowledge a public good

Knowledge: A Public Good

non-excludable

non-rival[rous]

*****

  • Goods are excludable if a person can be prevented from using it

  • Goods are rival[rous] if one person’s use of the good diminishes another person’s use

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.


What is knowledge sharing

What IS Knowledge Sharing?

Knowledge sharing “takes place each time you communicate what you are doing, who you are, or what you know to one person or to many people”, and “covers a variety of activities – a talk with a colleague at the coffee pot, an educational situation, a document in a database, an email, an information board with notices, etc.”

Petersen & Poulfelt (2002)


Knowledge management can librarians do it

Knowledge sharing involves networking to become acquainted with what others know.

Wiig (1999)


Knowledge management can librarians do it

Knowledge sharing is the deliberate act in which knowledge is made reusable for one party through its transfer by another.

Lee and Al-Hawamdeh (2002)


Be careful

Be Careful …

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

Jefferson (1813)


Knowledge sharing critical to knowledge management

Knowledge Sharing – Critical to Knowledge Management


Why share knowledge

Why Share Knowledge?

  • To prevent the “reinvention of the wheel”

  • To minimise loss of knowledge through various means

  • To enable the spread of best practices

  • To construct meaning together

  • To build social capital

  • “The practical problem, however, arises precisely because these facts are never so given to a single mind, and because, in consequence, it is necessary that in the solution of the problem knowledge should be used that is dispersed among many people.”


Knowledge sharing types

Knowledge Sharing Types


Sharing knowledge reasons

Sharing Knowledge: Reasons

  • A need to learn:

     to “size up” a person

     to increase understanding of a complex issue/phenomenon/problem

     to clarify concepts

  • A need to tell

     to inform

     to express opinion or stand

  • A need to get another opinion from “outside the box”

  • A need to “short circuit”

  • A need to teach

  • A need to build or maintain relationships

  • A need to self-aggrandize

 Participation in knowledge sharing


Silence

Silence

  • Attitude of most libraries: “Silence Please”!

  • In knowledge management:

    “Silence denotes a lack of knowledge sharing”

    “Silence implies an unwillingness to share one’s knowledge”

  • Rethink the concept of silence!


The framework

climate

organisation

channel

actor

actor

knowledge

The Framework


Barriers attributable to actors

Barriers Attributable to Actors

  • Communication & People Skills

  • Absorptive Capacity

  • Reputation

  • Appreciation of Importance of Knowledge

  • Incompatible Personality

  • Disciplinary Ethnocentrism

  • Status Hierarchies

  • Technophobia

  • Cognitive  Hinds & Pfeffer

  • Motivation  Hinds & Pfeffer


Barriers attributable to channel

Barriers Attributable to Channel

Document

  • Inability of the actors to tailor the knowledge shared to the needs and situation of the user

  • Knowledge is fixed, sometimes for posterity

  • Low bandwidth (zero social presence)

    Face-to-Face (Unmediated)

  • Ability of the knowledge recipient to request customization, clarification, or elaboration of the knowledge shared


Knowledge management can librarians do it

  • The richest form of knowledge sharing (High BW)

  • The knowledge can be tailored directly and immediately, and made relevant to the needs of the user

  • Coincidence of both time and location is required in this mode of knowledge sharing

  • Often unrecorded (little or no permanence), therefore lending itself to distortion & attenuation

    Face-to-Face (Mediated)

  • Dependent of technology


Barriers attributable to knowledge being shared

Barriers Attributable to Knowledge Being Shared

  • TACIT vs EXPLICIT

  • Sharing one’s expertise can be risky because of the difficulty involved in articulating preferences based largely on tacit knowledge

    • user-interface specialists (simply “know”, but cannot explain)

    • nurses (“insistent inner voice”, hunch)

  • In organisations that insist on hard data, sharing one’s tacit expertise via opinions and intuitions can convey a lack of certainty or clarity, undermining one’s standing in the organisation

logic

rationale

evidence


Barriers attributable to organisational environment

Barriers Attributable to Organisational Environment

  • Organisational structure

  • Reward system and incentives for knowledge sharing  compensation for time & energy

  • Availability of time

  • Availability of knowledge sharing champions

  • Office layout (Third Space, storking)

  • Staff tenure or length of service

  • Management support

  • Organisational culture


Barriers attributable to climate

Barriers Attributable to Climate

  • Barriers arising from “the larger picture”, which may affect the “relationship with the organisation”

  • Economic condition of the nation, governmental policies, and societal culture

  • When jobs are at stake, networks are withdrawn and individual knowledge is closely guarded as protection against termination (Bonaventura, 1997)

  • Foreign talent policy

  • Societal culture (e.g. collectivistic pressure)


Librarian as barrier breaker

Librarian as Barrier Breaker

  • Traditionally, libraries have perform an intermediary function between publishers (and other information producers) and end-users

  • Can libraries now reinvent themselves and be intermediaries between knowledge source and knowledge source?

  • Can libraries break barriers and build people-to-people links

  • Can libraries be knowledge intermediaries


Conclusion

Conclusion

  • Libraries and their librarians CAN do knowledge management

  • Rethinking / repositioning / new perspectives are needed

  • Three areas have been suggested:

    Rethink the concept of “knowledge”

    Rethink the concept of “silence”

    Rethink the concept of “intermediary”


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