A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge  
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?
© SCUP 2003
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Understanding e-Knowledge (continued)


Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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Issues of publisher prerogatives and intellectual property rights have complicated the combination of content from different publishers, even under the most favorable conditions. At worst, publisher prerogatives have scuttled most cross-source content exchanges and combinations of intellectual property from different publishers.

Advances in ICT, coupled with greater flexibility within and between organizations, are providing the means to overcome these barriers and transform the practice of combining and sharing of knowledge. The technology is not just making content exchange more efficient, it is enabling the emergence of e-knowledge and an industry dedicated to its creation, storage, enhancement, updating, combination, and exchange. These concepts and the associated technologies and standards enable processes that have never before been possible, such as instant, automated, Web-based negotiation of copyright clearance to use third-party material in e-content.

e-Knowledge Requires the Codification and Exchange of Digital Content

e-Knowledge is rendered from digital content where “content” itself can take many forms depending on the user or application—as data, metadata, transactions, performance logs, structured and unstructured information, etc. Following on, one person’s “information” may be another’s “knowledge” due to the intrinsic malleability of things digital. Digital content becomes e-knowledge through the dynamics of human engagement with it. It is easily repurposed and recombined with other e-knowledge. All the while, the intellectual property rights of e-knowledge can be monitored, metered, and charged to users.

e-Knowledge includes two distinct types of knowledge that can be rendered digitally:

  • Explicit knowledge is knowledge that is transmittable in a formal, systematic manner. It consists of objective content (structured information and codified knowledge). In digital form, it is derived from all kinds of sources—from databases to information “atoms,” from purposed modules and aggregations of content that can be stored, shared, described, combined, repurposed, syndicated, metered, and exchanged for fee or for free. These sources are available in a full spectrum of forms and characteristics, ranging from highly granular (paragraphs, individual images, video clips), to chapters and topics, to full texts and anthologies. When such content is modularized and coupled with learning objectives, it is typically referred to as “learning objects” or “knowledge objects.”

  • But the lumping of digital resources into modular objects also demands that attention is given to the details of ensuring that the learning objects can be learned from. This involves understanding the organizational routines, tradecraft, and other inputs that give learning objects meaning in particular contexts. Providing these details will be the “new frontier” of learning object exchanges and marketplaces.


  • It brings the prospect of mining those details to determine generalized ways to re-purpose learning objects to suit new contexts. It also makes more feasible the routine association with learning objects of data on their effectiveness for learners, both when used by themselves and when combined with other learning objects.


e-Knowledge is digitized content and context that can be “atomized,” repurposed, updated, recombined, metered, and exchanged. e-Knowledge includes explicit knowledge and means of dealing with aspects of tacit knowledge, such as its transfer. e-Knowledge enables the development of processes and marketplaces for the exchange of digital content that have never before been possible.

The e-Knowledge Industry consists of all of the parties involved in the creation, storage, enhancement, combination, and exchange of e-knowledge.

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