Librarians in KM

I've come across another librarian / knowledge management blogger, Mohamed Taher (through his pinging me in a recent post).  He turned up a research paper that delves into the Role of Information Professionals in Knowledge Management Programs.  In short, if KM is about access to recorded knowledge and how to record knowledge for the future, then information professionals have a lot to provide.

Role of Information Professionals in Knowledge
Management Programs: Empirical Evidence from Canada

[full article, in Adobe PDF]
Isola Ajiferuke
University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

The objective of this study is to provide empirical evidence of the role of information professionals in knowledge management programs. 386 information professionals working in Canadian organizations were selected from the Special Libraries Association's Who's Who in Special Libraries 2001/2002 and questionnaire with a stamped self-addressed envelope for its return was sent to each one of them. 63 questionnaires were completed and returned, and 8 in-depth interviews conducted. About 59% of the information professionals surveyed are working in organizations that have knowledge management programs with about 86% of these professionals being involved in the programs. Factors such as gender, age, and educational background (i.e. highest educational qualifications and discipline) did not seem to have any relationship with involvement in knowledge management programs. Many of those involved in the programs are playing key roles, such as the design of the information architecture, development of taxonomy, or content management of the organization's intranet. Others play lesser roles, such as providing information for the intranet, gathering competitive intelligence, or providing research services as requested by the knowledge management team.

This is interesting because I've always considered librarians to be one of the major groups of people involved in knowledge management (along with information technology and large-firm consultants).  Maybe this is the influence of my Searle / Monsanto history, which organized the knowledge management function to contain both library services and IT.

Interesting that the specific questions about the relationship between KM and librarianship suggested the survey audience leans toward conflating the two terms.  (Evenly split on "KM is a new label for ..." and more heavily leaning toward "... is just another aspect of KM.")

1 Comment(s)

I was just reading: Hall, H., & Goody, M. (2007). KM, culture and compromise: Interventions to promote knowledge sharing supported by technology in corporate environments. Journal of Information Science, 33(2), 181-188. And caught this little tid-bit: "in organizations where the strongest actors hold qualifications in library and information science, it is likely that the knowledge management implementation will be one based on codification, with knowledge sharing for the purpose of information reuse prioritized over organizational learning, and new knowledge creation and innovation" Interesting -- their take on the impact of librarians doing km

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