Introduction to Library and Information Science/Annotation of Blair, David C. "Knowledge Management: Hype, Hope, or Help?"

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Blair, David C. “Knowledge Management: Hype, Hope or Help?” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 53 (2002): 1019-1028.

Knowledge Management is an outgrowth of data and information management. Increased competition and a mobile workforce with analytical skills and reduced loyalty to the organization make the concept of knowledge management and retention, appealing to managers.

The author contends that early attempts to manage knowledge failed because they attempted to improve or replace human decision making. Knowledge management does not replace human decision making but facilitates it. Experts are part of the system. The author persuasively argues that data and information management offer limited returns to an organization and that artificial intelligence projects and systems without human experts have not proven successful.

The author contends that knowledge management requires “communities of practice,” a culture in which experts share knowledge with novices. Additionally, a wide variety of informative media must be available through technology to support Knowledge Management. Knowledge workers require strong critical thinking skills and the ability to find and evaluate information from a variety of sources.

The greatest challenges to implementing knowledge management are creating an organizational culture that facilitates the sharing of knowledge, the treatment of tacit knowledge and the legal issues concerning the nature of intellectual property. The author contends that though tacit knowledge may be inexpressible, rules-of-thumb and “best practices,” case studies of problems and methods of resolution can provide experts with the knowledge to make informed decisions.

Some aspects of Knowledge Management have already been implemented. The Knowledge management is one of many emerging information technologies that organizations employ to remain competitive.