A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Paths to the e-Knowledge Future   © SCUP 2003
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The e-Knowledge Imperative (continued)

 

 


Chapter 3

Paths to the
e-Knowledge Future

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Networked relationships — collaborative expert networks, communities of practice, teams, working groups — also demonstrate value added and the creation of unique experiences particularly suited to the issues that are the subject of the collaboration. The power of the network grows in relation to the number of engaged participants who have insights to contribute. A network with global reach and rich connections has the potential for high latent value. In the networking game, answers to questions such as “Whom do you know who . . . ?” are often easier to find within an online community of practice.

Adding Value in an Atmosphere of “Less is More.” The economics of abundance also is at play in the Knowledge Economy: abundance of connections, information, and choices. Time and the attention of busy consumers has become the one scarce resource; timeliness and ease of use are recognized as keys to economic advantage. Unlike the economics of scarcity of the Industrial Age, where physical resources are in short supply, the Knowledge Age operates in a context of abundant information supply. But in this new scenario the processes of value added are even more critical, adding new choices and criteria for selecting among choices. Consumers of e-knowledge desire seamless expedited processes of search and acquisition. Consider the following current examples of new value-add mechanisms.

  • Crafting metadata to describe information resources adds value to those information resources. But the value doesn’t stop there. In the Knowledge Economy, one person’s data is another’s information is another’s knowledge. In other words, one person’s metadata is another’s data. Metadata repositories will be developed and managed as services.
  • Search capabilities and strategies must be developed. Web technologies now make it very easy to store search strings or “strategies” for later use. The search queries may be used across multiple,
    distributed repositories of content. These search strategies can be viewed as codified knowledge acquisition methodologies. When well crafted, they have high value.
 
  • Content syndication is a useful, value-add service. Through aggregating digital copies of journal articles within a primary portal (e.g., Emerald Full Text), researchers can easily locate and compile collections of specific articles. Another example is MeansBusiness where the content used is more granular than an article; this company successfully aggregates composite texts based on key search concepts, aggregating summaries, and abstracts that deal with these concepts. It is an adaptation of an earlier publishing approach used by Executive Book Summaries.

Syndication of e-knowledge promises to be an integral tool in making knowledge content available to new and broader marketplaces.

 

  • Portals provide efficient access, interactivity and delivery. Educational portals are a multi-directional value web involving an institution, the learner, and a multitude of information services. Institutional portals integrate institutional information services and processes and provide personalization. Sophisticated portals are more than mega-directories. They utilize client usage to inform and enhance future services. They provide for personalized access to a select range of information services (directories, news, courses, communities of practice).
  • Aggregators facilitate search & access. As use of the Web develops, repositories and registries of aggregated information in targeted areas have also developed. Examples include: Achieve Inc. (a US-based repository of state competency standards mappings). www.achieve.org/
  • Engaging communities of practice in feedback loops adds value. Amazon has been doing this successfully with its system of book reviews. MERLOT does this with its approach to collecting metadata on course materials in the academic community, giving emphasis and easy expression to the age-old academic tradition of “peer review.”
     

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  Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me and I'll remember. Involve me and I'll understand.
Confucius