A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?   © SCUP 2003
  Page 10      

Understanding e-Knowledge (continued)



Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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Digital Marketplaces for
e-Knowledge are Gestating

Today, proprietary, vertical channels for distributing e-knowledge have been initiated by traditional publishers, direct-to-digital publishers (purely digital), learning management system providers, and others. Globally, hundreds of different channels have developed using their own content repositories, proprietary authoring tools, and learning management systems. These channels have failed to attract a groundswell of users sufficient to effect cultural change. And they won’t until proprietary silos are replaced by open, interoperable, and scaleable marketplace mechanisms for e-knowledge. These mechanisms will create “horizontal” channels that enable the combination and repurposing of content held by different publishers, learning content management systems, and digital content repositories in general.

Today’s vertical channels are merely an evolutionary step in the migration path toward horizontal channels based on more robust, interoperable mechanisms for knowledge sharing. Today, the knowledge industry is very much like the computer industry in the 1980s as described by Andrew Grove (1998) in his book, Only the Paranoid Survive. The vertical, proprietary channels in the computer market were transformed by the shift to a horizontal computer marketplace that enabled cascading innovation, fast growth, keen competition, and reductions in price.

In the not-so-distant future, advances in e-knowledge will enable the creation of horizontal marketplaces in the Knowledge Industry. They will facilitate the seamless exchange of formally rendered, explicit, and tacit knowledge, slashing across today’s publishing and intellectual property boundaries, while metering and paying for the use of intellectual property. Innovation, competition, growth, and cost reduction are likely to thrive as well.


The Power of e-Knowledge:
From Value Chain to Value Net

The fundamental value chain of the Knowledge Economy is familiar and proven: the related and bi-directional processes of computation, cognition, context, and communication that create the hierarchy of data, information, and knowledge. Yet as leading-edge practitioners have applied network-based tools of knowledge management and sharing, they have discovered several transformative new insights.

First, e-Knowledge Chunks are Malleable, Expandable, and Fungible. e-Knowledge tools enable the unbundling, reprocessing, and repurposing of data, information, and knowledge in ways that can render them into other forms. Data becomes information when organized in a way to give it meaning; information is codified as knowledge when presented within a context. We say more on this subject later when we discuss new ways of experiencing e-knowledge. Conversely, codified knowledge can be decontextualized and disaggregated to form data-like chunks of content that can then be re-aggregated or re-purposed. The tools of e-knowledge can be used to combine content and context to create knowledge chunks that are malleable, expandable, and fungible (see graphic page 15).

Digital publishing technologies and extensive global networking—coupled with an increasing volume of scientific research and decreasing satisfaction with a dysfunctional economic model—change the fundamental structure of scholarly publishing by allowing its various components to be de-linked, both functionally and economically. When the functions are unbundled and begin to operate separately, each can operate more efficiently and competitively.

Raym Crow


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  By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.