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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Standards Incorporate Consensus and Create Value



Chapter 4

Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge

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It’s this simple. Research and development produces the promise and proof of concept but the new generations of e-knowledge-related standards will be the enduring foundations of the emerging
e-Knowledge Industries. Standards signal consensus and marketplace maturity whether they exist formally as de jure or informally as de facto standards. These standards will enable networks, computation and communication devices, applications, and data to communicate with one another and interoperate in ways that have not been previously possible. Whether standards arise through extensive collaboration among standards bodies or through de facto acceptance by the marketplace, their endgame is to foster commonly accepted ways for networked devices to communicate and share data.

Standardization as a valued human activity achieved its first documented milestones in the field of engineering where it helped drive the industrial economies of the nineteenth century. By comparison, standardization in the area of ICT to support e-knowledge is in its infancy. It is just over a decade since small groups of aviation industry specialists began laboring in relative obscurity to develop the first generation of standards for “computer-based training.” Following their lead, a broader base of stakeholders (computer engineers, software vendors, the military, educationists, publishers, and government agencies) have in more recent times laid robust foundations for the evolution of infrastructure that will support and promote e-learning.


Meanwhile, other specialists have toiled on defining standards pertinent to knowledge management, electronic commerce, and other e-activities. Over the past five years, these standards development efforts have grown in intensity, importance, and visibility. In a de facto manner, these previously disparate collaborations are discovering synergies in their efforts for standardizing e-learning, knowledge management, and e-business.

Example: National Health
Services University

Many institutions and learning enterprises are adopting the emerging e-knowledge standards and engaging their communities in a dialogue on their strategic significance. For example, the National Health Services University (NHSU) in the UK has recognized the importance of standards in establishing consensus and a clear vision about the direction of e-learning and e-knowledge. The NHSU Project Management Group developed a white paper suggesting that adopting e-learning standards would enable NHSU to:

  • mix and match content from multiple sources;
  • develop interchangeable content that can be assembled, disassembled, and reused quickly and easily;
  • ensure that NHSU is not “trapped” by proprietary learning technology;
  • increase the effectiveness of learning by enabling greater personalization and targeting of the right content to the right person at the right time;
  • improve the efficiency and return of investment of learning content development and management; and
  • increase the quality and quantity of e-learning content.

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  If the (enterprise’s) application creates a trust with the user and a trust with the provider of the Web Service, then a trust arrangement — referred to as transitive trust — is created.
Bernard Gleason