Knowledge Management

It seems like the term Knowledge Management or KM
is popping up everyone these days. Knowledge
management is simply the capturing of knowledge
among employees in a company and using it as an
asset. We all know knowledge is power, so why are
businesses suddenly using the term? The answer is
something that librarians have known all along--that
sharing knowledge among others is beneficial to
everyone and unshared knowledge means nothing.
Librarians fit into this scheme because we possess
the wonderful ability to gather, organize, and analyze all
the information effectively. Librarians constantly share
their knowledge with other every day so why should
businesses be any different.


The most important resource a library or a company
holds is the information it holds. There are many
sources of knowledge in a company: documents,
spreadsheets, e-mail. presentations, etc. Failure to
effectively manage this knowledge in a company hurts
the company because the company can suffer loss of
income due to a lack of communication. This lack of
knowledge management can weaken relations with
clients. Many companies are creating intranets where
employees can post resumes, presentations, projects
online to spread their knowledge. Intranets are a easy
form of technology to begin handling this wealth of
knowledge. Another tool created to manage the
knowledge is a document management system which
can have intranet and internet capabilities. These tools
enable employees to have equal access to information
and apply it anywhere. Knowledge tools are not
knowledge management. In order for knowledge
management to work effectively, everyone much be
willing to share their experience and ideas. A company
must be willing to commit to this change. As an
incentive for employees to share their knowledge some
corporations are offering incentives such as cash,
vacations, or another type of reward.


The benefits of knowledge management is that it gives
companies a strategic advantage by harness ing the
knowledge and experience of its own employees. The
sharing of knowledge creates better internal
communication in a company by harnessing a
teamwork environment and this knowledge can be
used to make better business decisions. The bottom
line is the more value you can create, the more valuable
your company has to its customers. Knowledge
management strengthens the organization and can
improve productivity and is simply a smart business
tool.


Knowledge management can affect the way many
companies do business in the future and librarians can
be a key player in making it happen. Librarians
understand the way people communicate their need for
information and are in a profession that interprets
knowledge every day. Information professionals need
to realize that we are qualified to manage this
knowledge and can be such a valuable asset to their
company.


Perhaps some people may not like the term knowledge
management but you can call it what you
want-librarians have always done it. I heard there is
some debate whether or not is is part of a librarian\'s
job-well once, html and managing web pages was not
part of our jobs either but we adapt. Librarians need to
embrace this concept and use it to become a
indispensable member of the knowledge management
team, not just a consultant to apply the knowledge.

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