A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge   © SCUP 2003
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Internet Culture Drives the e-Knowledge Industry (continued)



Chapter 4

Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge

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Many dot.com ventures failed to understand the implications of the Internet culture for e-business — among many other factors. It comes as no surprise that some of the most promising initiatives regarding learning object exchanges and e-knowledge marketplaces are following the values of Internet culture that Castells describes. There are three primary vectors of technological development that are enabling the development of an interoperable global infrastructure:

  • Infrastructure Development of the Semantic Web, the Grid, and Internet2. These technologies deal with emerging infrastructure capabilities, or capacities, of the World Wide Web and Internet. They are relevant to all organizational infrastructures and users of Internet technology, even if they are connected to local area networks rather than the Internet. This future will not be mainstreamed without technical standards and protocols.
  • Integration through Web services-related Technologies (e.g., XML, SOAP, UDDI, WSDL) that will enable disparate applications and platforms to communicate and exchange data easily and seamlessly. These developments will enable seamless integration of enterprise and Web-based applications.
  • Standards. e-Knowledge-related standards (metadata, learning management, content modularization, knowledge management, workflow, and performance support) enable e-knowledge to be captured, understood, shared, and re-applied in new contexts.

This chapter describes the nature of these technological developments; how to understand key emerging standards and the Internet culture that pervades their development; the emergence of enterprise repositories and e-knowledge marketplaces, building on these technologies and standards, and some of the policy implications for organizations and managers.


Internet Culture Trumps Enterprise Prerogatives

Many enterprise leaders are accustomed to treating knowledge resources like a centralized computing resource in the early days of computing. Setting local rules for allocating access to knowledge resources and restricting who has access to what is treated as a local prerogative. But in the world of the Semantic Web, grid computing, Web services, peer-to-peer sharing, and interoperability, the rules are set by the Internet culture. As Richard Hunter points out in World Without Secrets, even information that organizations want to keep secret gets shared (e.g. in communities of practice and other channels of secondary access). One implication is that the competitive advantage gained from any single innovatory product or service (e.g., a new course) is now short-lived, because the know-how that was used to create that product or service will leak out.

Enterprises must play as part of a global knowledge structure if they are to compete in the e-Knowledge Industry. Enterprise leadership, infrastructures, processes, and cultures must reflect that reality.

Applying the Lenses of Knowing

The technologies, standards, and marketplaces for e-knowledge are best viewed through the primary “lenses of knowing.” The lenses of “what,” “who,” “when,” “where,” “how,” “why,” and “if” are deployed through the remainder of this book.


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  Beware of the man who won’t be bothered with details.
William Feather