Chun Wei’s article, “Working with knowledge: how information professionals help organisations manage what they know” is written for a conference of librarians, but it focuses on business organisations. In her explanation of explicit knowledge (codified knowledge being the domain of libraries), she discusses how intellectual assets indicate the worth of an organisation, often because they’re the source of innovation. My question is, how does this work in libraries? Aside from a few exceptions such as private law libraries, libraries are public service institutions; they don’t earn money (aside from fines that commonly cover the cost of a loss), they don’t cost money to use, and they also don’t usually have intellectual assets. So how do we determine the worth of a library in terms of KM?

You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack

You’re All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack

Libraries do not own the intellectual property that has led to recent innovations in information science, such as the digitalization of print media and increasingly convenient access points to information on the internet, so how can they bank in on the worth of it? Libraries have certainly benefited from these innovations and their needs and the needs of their users have stimulated new knowledge management innovations, but the only value is in the third point Chun Wei discusses, an increase in the organisations reputation and accountability.

One of the other articles we had to read this week was “A Review of Knowledge Management in the Irish Civil Service” by Joanna O’Riordan who displays KM in a completely different way. O’Riordan focuses more on KM as a process rather than the types of knowledge being managed. In fact, the KM process reads a lot like a system analysis of the type I’m learning about it my Systems Analysis and Design class where you study the system in place, identify issues, design a solution, test it, and implement it.

The case study of the Knowledge Audit at SEI wasn’t very helpful because I don’t know anything about the kind of data an energy organisation would be working with so even though this was a real-life example it was still abstract and theoretical to me. As such, I’m having trouble thinking of a KM project that I’ve been involved in personally. I have done plenty of inventories in bookstore and libraries, which at a stretch could be described as a knowledge audit, but at best these were audits of the codified knowledge. Basically, I’ve only ever managed the containers of knowledge.

I also found this article by Failte Ireland really interesting:


Chun Wei, C. (2000).Working with knowledge: how information professionals help organisations managewhat they know. Library Management, 21(8), 395.

JoannaO’Riordan. (2005). A Review of KnowledgeManagement in the Irish Civil Service. Institute of Public Administration.