A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?   © SCUP 2003
  Page 14      

Pioneering Examples of e-Knowledge (continued)



Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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Pervasive computing provides mechanisms to capture and replay every aspect of what we know and what we do. This has implications for people throughout their lives. Important applications in elder care include empowering older people and enlarging the knowledge base of “what works” in assisted living.

In a possible scenario, our individual retirement plans would go beyond financial considerations to include provision for cognitive augmentation. If we learned a skill that we wanted to have available to us years later, we would use pervasive computing to assemble rich data on our peak level of performance on that skill. This could be possible through the combined use of webcams and data gloves. Webcams can capture video records of that performance from multiple vantage points (including what we see when we perform a task). Data gloves can capture data on how our hands and fingers move during performance of a task. The various data streams can be analyzed by “remembrance” agents to identify key elements that could be replayed years later to stimulate recall of the elements of that skilled performance. For example, recordings from data gloves might be replayed through force-feedback (“haptic”) gloves to convey how it felt to perform the task. Prospectively, this could be shared with others immediately (to demonstrate what a skill entails), and used by us in later life (to re-establish our original level of competence).

As an indication of the wider implications, eldercare environments that use pervasive ICT are being progressively improved by outlinks from patients’ facilities to their families and others. One result is that families can participate in the monitoring of their loved ones’ progress, activities, and condition. They can also provide more frequent contact and interactivity through electronic communication and large- screen visual displays that enable resident and family to see one another.


An unexpected outcome has been the involvement of elder care residents in family history projects and oral history projects involving children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren. Such developments will be facilitated if pervasive computing is used routinely to capture day-to-day experiences in a whole-life diary.

Professional Society as an
Indispensable Knowledge Resource

The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional society serving 4,000 pharmaceutical scientists as members and another 50,000 customers. AAPS has evolved a knowledge portal that members and non-member customers use to access the latest findings in research and practice in pharmaceutical science. Using the portal, users can create “my professional journal” using the portal’s personalized search capabilities to assemble relevant data (author, title, key terms, etc.) on all recently published articles in topic areas that they can enumerate. Such data is typically stored as “metadata” following standards. Subscribers can extract not just the metadata/abstract, but the entire article—or in future, just key portions of it. AAPS began by digitizing its own journals, but has since added links to other scientific journals, including 20 from Elsevier. The personalized portal also features a specialized news service dealing in new developments in the field.

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  A knowledge advantage is a sustainable advantage.

Thomas H. Davenport and
Laurence Prusak