Intranets portals and organizational knowledge
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Intranets, Portals and Organizational Knowledge. Helena Loh INF 385Q Knowledge Management Systems, Fall 2005 KMS Topic Discussion 27 October 2005. Presentation Outline. Definition of Intranets and Portals Articles: Lee & Gaines (1996) Roberts-Witt (1999) Ackerman & Halverson (2000)

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Intranets, Portals and Organizational Knowledge

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Intranets, Portals and Organizational Knowledge

Helena Loh

INF 385Q Knowledge Management Systems, Fall 2005

KMS Topic Discussion

27 October 2005

Presentation Outline

  • Definition of Intranets and Portals

  • Articles:

    • Lee & Gaines (1996)

    • Roberts-Witt (1999)

    • Ackerman & Halverson (2000)

    • Vasconcelos, Kimble & Gouveia (2000)

    • Brinn, Carrico & Combs (2001)

    • Large, Beheshti & Rahman (2002)

    • Millen, Fontaine & Muller (2002)

  • Impact on Organizational Knowledge

  • Some Conclusions

  • Bibliography

Intranets and Portals

  • An Intranet is “a network within a single company which enables access to company information through the familiar tools of the Internet such as web browers.” (Chaffey, 1998)

  • A portal is “a single Web browser interface used within organizations to promote the gathering, sharing and dissemination of information throughout the enterprise.”

    (Detlor, 2000)

    • Web portals e.g. MyYahoo, Google News, UT Direct

Lee & Gaines (1996)

  • The use of the Internet as a tool for acquiring knowledge

  • Conceptual model of Socioware:

    • “computer-mediated environments for supporting community-wide processes which expedite virtual cooperative interactions.”

    • Goal to facilitate cooperative behavior for self-organized virtual collaborative communities

    • Time dimension: Synchronous/asynchronous/publication

    • Creation of interaction area -> shared knowledge

    • Analysis of the model suggests

      • Improvement of message quality

      • Incorporation of links to preserve discourse relationships

      • Awareness support - reduction of time in locating relevant information

  • Tools that develop models for discourse processes may result in improved use of Net resources


Roberts-Witt (1999)

  • Corporate portals as KM’s killer app

  • Knowledge worker control of information

  • What drives the corporate portal

    • Thin clients (i.e. web browsers)

    • Highly-dispersed workforce

  • 3 types of portals:

    • Data - structured, business

    • Information - less structured

    • Collaborative - group interactive functionality

  • Corporate portals lead to true consolidated computing enabling corporations to capitalize on what workers know and should know


Ackerman & Halverson (2000)

  • Study of organizational memory (OM)

  • Telephone helpline for HR questions

    • Use of CAll Tracking system (CAT)

    • Employee verification needed

    • Distributed memory - telephone, paper, CAT, EMPLOY, employee

  • Boundary objects

    • Dependence on external maintenance of employee records

    • Employee’s own memory - performs task correctly

  • Decontextualization

  • Recontextualization for reuse

  • No unified OM per se - mixed provenance

  • OM as both KM object (repository) and process (contextualization)

Vasconcelos, Kimble & Gouveia (2000) - I

  • Ontology as semantic network

  • Provides syntactic and semantic terms for describing knowledge about a domain

  • Organizational Memory (OM)

    • Defined as a computer system

    • A means for past knowledge to be brought into present activities

    • Enables organizational learning and continuous process improvement

  • Test and implement knowledge modelling techniques using ontologies - focus: manage Less Tangible Knowledge Assets (LTKAs)

Vasconcelos, Kimble & Gouveia (2000) - II

Group Memory System

  • Group Memory (GMe) ontology

  • Design rational system

  • Case-based reasoning

  • Application layer

Vasconcelos, Kimble & Gouveia (2000) - III

  • Encompasses individual and team-based knowledge

  • Displays different knowledge dimensions within organizational workgroups

  • Is used to analyze and evaluate competence levels within the organization

  • Allows the facilitation of communication

  • Creates and promote collaborative workgroups that can work together on projects

Brinn, Carrico & Combs (2001)

  • Cougaar (Cognitive Agent Architecture)

    • Software architecture that enables building distributed agent-based applications

    • Developed for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) by ALP (Advanced Logistics Project) for military logistics

    • Built for vast amounts of information that standard software modeling equipment cannot handle

  • Suited for domains that are hierarchical, complex, widespread, dynamic, modeled by emergent behavior of components

  • Uses distributed query/response system approach - clustered information

  • Powerful web-based interface

  • Agents become their own intranet, providing information across the society

Large, Beheshti & Rahman (2002) - I

  • Study of 4 focus groups - Web users (10-13 years old)

  • To identify design criteria to subsequently develop kids’ portals, including portal goals, visual design, information architecture, and personalization

  • Portals: Ask Jeeves for Kids, KidsClick, Lycos Zone, Yahooligans!

  • Should educate and entertain; be visually attractive; provide keyword search facilities and browsable subject categories; and allow user personalization

  • Prime use of Internet in schools: Web as information resource to support class projects

Large, Beheshti & Rahman (2002) - II

  • Conclusions:

    • Entertainment distractions

    • Clearly identified routes to information retrieval

    • Attention-grabbing colors - applied throughout interface

    • Portal’s name - easy URI to remember

    • No advertisements or revenue-gathering devices

    • Quick direct access to information e.g. linked subject categories, letters of the alphabet

    • Short annotations of retrieved sites

    • Disliked extensive scrolling

    • Personalization for children’s sites not extensive

Millen, Fontaine & Muller (2002) - I

  • Study of benefits and costs to Communities of Practice in collaboration, social interaction, productivity and organizational performance

  • Use organizational support and value as focus to base the study

  • Benefits: individual, community, and organizational

  • Community

    • Increased idea creation

    • Increased quality of knowledge and advice

    • Problem-solving

    • Established common context

    • Forum for free expression of creativity

    • Shared ideas

Millen, Fontaine & Muller (2002) - II

  • Organizational benefits: tangible business outcomes

    • Successfully executed projects

    • Increased new business

    • Product innovation

    • Time-saving

  • Costs

    • Participation time for community members - supporting community roles (other than own work roles)

    • Meeting and conference expenses - travel, accommodation, teleconferencing

    • Technology - group messaging, community websites

    • Content publishing - online content development, production of media and promotional materials

  • Measurement and demonstration is difficult

Impact on Organizational Knowledge

  • Due to communities of practice, organizational knowledge is inevitably heavily social in character (Brown & Duguid, 1998)

  • Annotate (a KMSS system) in an Intranet increases knowledge throughput by increasing the flow of relevant information across business units (Ginsburg & Kambil, 1999)

  • The data mining KX supports communities of practice that share and reuse knowledge (Liongsari, Dempski & Swaminathan, 1999)

  • Intranets support the creation, sharing and use of knowledge (Choo, Detlor & Turnbull, 2000)

  • Decentralizing of information via the Web and Intranet allows information to flow vertically and horizontally (Stenmark, 2000)

  • Portals provide a “shared information work space” (Detlor, 2000)

Some Conclusions

  • Collaborative work space

  • Information flow vertically and horizontally

  • More dispersion of knowledge, (ideally) more democratic the organization

  • Within organization - bottom-up structures

  • With external organizations - spider network

  • Asynchronous communication


  • Vasconcelos, J., Kimble, C., & Gouveia, F. (2000) A Design for a Group Memory System Using Ontologies. Proceedings of the 5th UKAIS Conference. Cardiff. McGraw Hill.

  • Millen, D., Fontaine, M., Muller, M. (2002) Understanding the Benefit and Costs of Communities of Practice. Communications of the ACM. 45(4), 69-73. ACM Press.

  • Lee, L.& Gaines, B. (1996) Knowledge Acquisition Processes in Internet Communities. Proceedings of the 10th Knowledge Acquisition Workshops, Banff, Canada November 9-14, 1996.

  • Brinn, Marshall; Carrico, Todd and Combs, Nathan. Every Agent a Web Server, Every Agent a Community Intranet. Proceedings from Agents'01. Montreal, Quebec, CANADA. ACM Press.

  • Ackerman, Mark S. & Halverson, Christine A. Reexamining Organizational Memory. Communications of the ACM. 43(1), 59-64. ACM Press.

  • Roberts-Witt, S. L. (1999, July). Making sense of portal pandemonium. Knowledge Management Magazine

  • Large, A., Beheshti, J. & Rahman, T. (2002) Design Criteria for Children's Web Portals: The Users Speak Out. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 53(2): 79-94.

  • Chaffey, D. (1998) Groupware, workflow and intranets: reengineering the enterprise with collaborative software. Boston, MA: Digital Press.

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