13:51 11/06/2004 Mathemagenic: Mathemagenic
...giving birth to learning...


  Sunday, February 29, 2004

  Discovering the iceberg of knowledge work: A weblog case

Finished. Submitted. Happy :)

Discovering the iceberg of knowledge work: A weblog case (.pdf), paper accepted for OKLC04 (earlier title - What's in it for me? Using weblogs to understand knowledge workers)

The term knowledge work has been used for decades, but to date there is not much understanding what knowledge workers do and how this work can be improved. This paper contributes to the development of our theoretical understanding of knowledge work by exploring use of weblogs for professional purposes: as personal knowledge repositories, learning journals or networking instruments. We draw on the results of a weblog adoption study to explore knowledge worker activities and to propose a framework for analysing knowledge work.

In other words: I discuss what's wrong with existing knowledge work models, present and analyse examples of "knowledge work" weblog uses from my weblog adoption study for BlogTalk and propose "3 circles" model of knowledge work (AKA personal something management).

Thanks to weblog community for inspiration and continues conversations on ideas behind this paper and especially to Jack Vinson for spending precious weekend time to review "close to final" version.

This post also appears on channel weblog research


Everyone knows that if you leave teabag in your cap you'll get tea that is too strong to drink. This makes me wondering why nobody invented teabags with less tea?

Just too much tea drinking while trying to finish the paper :)))

More on: fun 

  Saturday, February 28, 2004

  Radio Userland: what I love and hate about it

Things that I love about Radio (and what it does better than e.g. TypePad):

  • real WISIWIG formatting (and not buttons that add the code)
  • including the fact that it preserves formatting while copy-pasting (this is bad if you copy from Word, but I have my workaround ;)
  • lists as formatting options
  • shortcuts (in fact I use them to style quotes, so almost in every post!)
  • trackbacks to my own posts (= if I link to my earlier post, the trackback is shown there, so all my posts get bi-directional linking)
  • liveTopics
  • built-in News Aggregator

Things that I hate about Radio:

Radio is a mix of many great "user experience" ideas, but most of them are half done. For example, I stopped using categories only because they produce broken RSS. I really don't understand why these guys are not paying enough attention to their customers :(((

The bottom line: if TypePad developers add something like liveTopics (not k-collector in its current functionality) and provide easy way to migrate from Radio with comments and trackbacks I'd probably move. Or may be I just wait for Tinderbox for Windows :)

  Research on learning effects of (web)browsing?

I'm looking for any existing research on learning effects of web browsing.

I'm interested most in incidental and implicit learning, learning about things we were not going to learn and learning that we are not aware of. For example, I may browse through A-list blogs in search of specific information, but on the way I learn who is who, who fights and befriends with whom, learn about events they are invited to, pick up a couple of memes, learn what's hot about RSS and Atom, find out about Dave's new design, etc.

Of course, it connects with my interests on lurking and weblog reading :)

So far I found only Incidental learning during information retrieval: A hypertext experiment, which is 15 years old. May be I just don't know right terminology to search for :) Any recommendations are welcome...

  How Bob manages his conversations

The value of persistence: A study of the creation, ordering and use of conversation archives by a knowledge worker by Christine A. Halverson, IBM T.J. Watson Research in HICSS'04 proceedings

This paper argues that designers of Computer Mediated Communication Systems (CMCs) need to pay attention to the storage, organization and retrieval of conversations. It presents an ethnographic study of 'Bob', an expert consultant to consultants in a large organization, and examines the ways in which he fashioned what he calls his "external memory pack" from the thousands of conversations he has had via instant messaging, email, and other forms of CMC. Particular attention is paid to the way in which he organizes, searches, and weaves together conversations to achieve his ends. We conclude by outlining the design implications of his use.

If you need an example of personal information/communication/contact management and of a blend of tools used for it read this one.

My main takes:

  • Good as an example of the role of personal information management in knowledge work
  • Justification of a single individual study :)))
  • Awareness as a result of e-mail reading - "Having read them he often remembers when he read it as much as what he read, or where."
  • Use of saved communication for reconstructing events.
  • Coexisting of short-term (~goal focused?) and long-term (~learning?) conversations
  • Interplay between personal and public spaces
  • Visual representation of Bob's conversations and use of tools
  • Going from e-mail as habitat to a blend of multiple tools
  • NoteTab light (free powerful editor)

Main question that bothers me is a suggestion to study lead users to guide future product designs. I don't say that we don't need studying early adopters, I believe that we have to remember about the chasm between them and the majority. To be fair, the author does not forget about it:

Bob is unusual in many ways: his technical skills and willingness to search for and cobble together many technologies, a job for which performing that overhear makes sense, and perhaps for not making notes on paper. However, he is not so unusual that we can not see their seeds of a possible future there for all of us. Bob's example opens our eyes, not just to having conversations, but designing in order to support doing something with them later: that is, the storage, browsing and retrieval of conversations. Right now, Bob is going to great lengths in order to do so. That need not be the case in the future.

To be fair, from many papers I read, I like most those very similar to this one: ethographic research on how people work, clear, practical, with clear literature connections and descriptions of methods used (usually these papers come from R&D labs of hightech companies and not from academic research :) Next to all these qualities, the paper about Bob is full of humor :)))

What does it mean to be a consultant to consultants? Do you fly twice as much or dress twice as nice? Are you twice as smart? Or perhaps you know twice as many people? At least in Bob's case, it may mean that you have twice as many conversations, and you save them.

  Friday, February 27, 2004

  Paper writing: panic attack

I have a panic attack. I'm finishing a paper for OKLC04 and I'm not sure about anything anymore. I'm not sure about strengths of my arguments, proper references, enough theoretical connections and even correct language (which is more likely to be the one real problem :) This is the first paper purely on my PhD research, it's less about presenting results of a study (which is much easier for me) and more about theoretical suggestions. The worst thing is that I attempt to connect bits and pieces from different theories without being confident in each of them (my fault: went for a multidisciplinary research ;). And I'm finishing it at the last moment, so can't ask colleagues for a feedback...

I wonder why blogging is so much easier? It should be more difficult with public archives that everyone can see, while a conference paper will dissappear in the proceedings available for a few hundreds. Still, writing the paper feels scarier :)

More on: PhD writing 

  Reference to a wiki page???

Does anyone know how to refer to a wiki page in a scientific paper given collective authorship?

A complicated case: how to refer to the list of KM bloggers, which is (I guess) a collective work with clear leadership of one person (explicitly saying "started by DenhamGrey" and "my evolving list of KM / eLearning / sna blogs")?

More on: PhD wiki 

  Thursday, February 26, 2004

  We, weblogs and learning at EdMedia 2004

Good news: our proposal for a simposia on weblogs and learning at EdMedia04 has been accepted. I'm looking forward: it's going to be a good crowd and lots of interesting conversations.

For the simposia I'm preparing a paper/presentation on learning from reading weblog, but I'm not happy with its title and abstract. I'll invent something better, but here is my plans so far:

  • I'm curious to know what weblog reading does to us. I'm thinking about learning effects of reading weblogs, learning in a wide sense, close to changing.
  • I don't like writing purely theorethical stuff, so I'm working on data collection instruments (thinking of  survey/interviews/something else). You can expect my begging for participation in a few weeks :)
  • Hopefully, I can connect this study with research on implicit learning and lurking, and develop a better understanding of weblog networking and weblog apprenticeship.

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Wednesday, February 25, 2004

  Views from above

Airplane view of fields in snow I'm back with many photos taken during my flight.

With digital camera I'm getting more addicted to capturing things that can't be captured - moments, reflections, feel of flying...

Views from above (from towers, hills, planes) are my favourite. I guess it has something to do with perspectives that open once you climb high enough and with the magic of flying. 

One of my secret pleasures during KM Europe was an exposition of photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand in the center of Amsterdam called Earth from above.  I don't think that I will be able to capture my views from above at such professional level, but hope I can find time to learn how to do it better. 

More on: travel 

  Monday, February 23, 2004


One of the things I like about Moscow is public transport. It could be crowded (and even life-treatening :(, but it gives you a lot of time for reading. This time my one of my public transport companions was a book by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton - Now, discover your strengths.

The book is written around the idea that our performance is guided by talents, which are "highway" connections in our brain formed in our childhood and teens. It says that top-performers are those who shape their work to make use of their talents (~strengths) and that working on improving weak areas never leads to above average performance.

I need a bit more time to write about the book in more detail, but so far you can check books excerpts and additional info. The book comes with a code that allows you to take StrengthsFinder assessment, which is supposed to identify your strengths. My results are:

Strategic. People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

Activator. People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.

Communication. People strong in the Communication theme generally find it easy to put their thoughts into words. They are good conversationalists and presenters.

Self-assurance. People strong in the Self-assurance theme feel confident in their ability to manage their own lives. They possess an inner compass that gives them confidence that their decisions are right.

Ideation. People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

I'm thinking how far I should belive the book (although it seems to be research based), but this list triggers a lot of thinking anyway.  It also provides extended descriptions of each theme and guidelines "how to manage a person with strong X theme" (I guess I should show them to all people who try to manage me :)))

My working experience shows that I'm good at "start-up" situations, developing scenarios and then turning them into reality, which correlates well with the results above. I also know that usually I can achive more working together with "people-oriented" colleagues as I tend to pay less attention to relations then ideas. One of such examples includes a very funny case: with one of my colleagues we worked as two project managers of one project for 3 years. We were not able to draw a formal line between our responsibilities, but informally they were quite clear: I was the one to take care of deadlines and making things happen and my colleague made sure that our team was happy and able to cope with stress.

Next to triggering reflection on my own strengths the ideas behind the book seem to be connected with my quest about knowledge work, but I don't know yet how :)

More on: passion 


I'm in Moscow, that's why I wasn't writing...

More on: life 

  Tuesday, February 17, 2004

  You need to walk this country to see it

Some of my colleagues are starting weblogs. Last week we had a walk-through TypePad session. I consider it to be the easiest weblog tool and I was surprised how difficult it was. It's not much about usability, it's about learning the whole new domain: posts, permalinks, trackbacks, pinging... It's could be so confusing...

Today we had a Bloglines intro. I'm alway talking about RSS and news aggregators and I guess that my colleagues know the mantra "do not start a weblog without RSS feed", but still... reading and hearing about it is one thing and watching one click subscribe and one page picture of who is updating is different.

Jill is right, you need to walk this country to see it. If you want to help someone starting blogging, do not spend time talking. Sit next to them when they register and make their first post. Be a guide - experience better than words...

More on: introducing blogs 

  AOK discussion on IPKM

Reading AOK discussion on IPKM instead of working (I guess I can say it's my "PhD work" :). If you have an interest in the topic (or othe in-depth KM conversations), you may be interested to join.

Of course, some KM bloggers are already there David Gurteen, Denham Grey , Jim McGee, Dave Pollard and I guess others will join. I'm curious to see if our "losely coupled" weblog conversations will turn into something else in the mailing list format...

  Monday, February 16, 2004

  My personal KM

From Three thousand communities of practice by Steve Barth

But for me, the accusation that personal knowledge management is somehow antisocial or discounts the importance of collaborative learning and innovation is entirely inappropriate. The whole point is that collaborative work requires more of the individual—not less. And we are ill-equipped to handle those obligations and responsibilities.

The more people there are in a formal or informal network, the more connections and interactions each of us are likely to have. The more interactions we have, the more kinds of interaction we have, and therefore, the more kinds of interaction we have to be capable of handling. Meanwhile, the more interactions we have, the more obligations we have to share our knowledge with other people in the network.

No two members of the community will see that community in the same way. Each of us is the center of our own universe. Even if our communities have the same members, the difference between my community and your community is that I’m in the center of my network and you’re the center of your network. We can each only perceive our networks from the perspective of our own nodes.

I'm 100% agree and to be fair I do not undestand (again) why Denham contrasts personal and social sides in PKM instead of looking for synergies between them:

[source] PKM to me is a paradox -- knowledge in my world is socially constructed -- it is not about organizing your thoughts, learning to use tools or developing individual competences -- it is about dialog, community and collaboration.

[source] Getting into a personal huddle, organizing your thoughts and reflecting on the personal past can easily take you away from awareness of real flow and emergence - where it all happens.

I made an updated version for my personal something management model, I'll call it personal KM untill we come up with a better label. I place conversations in a middle (because, as Denham, I think they belong there), but I believe we have to account for the things around it as well. For me personal KM is about being aware of conversations you engage in (both actively and by being exposed to as a lurker), relations that enable them, and ideas that you take from and bring into these conversations.

Personal KM model updated

And I'd love to hear from Denham what's wrong with this pucture (conversations with him is my very important source of inspiration ;)

  IPKM: Inter-Personal Knowledge Management

This is not fair: David Gurteen is starting a two-week discussion at AOK on Inter-Personal Knowledge Management. And I'm off to Moscow for five days, have to finish a paper within 10 days and on the top of it can't change my AOK maillist subscription to individual messages or simply read it on-line...

Anyway, I hope I'll be able to contribute.

So far you can enjoy Three thousand communities of practice by Steve Barth and (usual :) sceptical reaction by Denham Grey.

  Number of weblog posts per month

Mathemagenic: number of weblog posts per month

Thanks to Matt Mower for the script (read installing instructions).

More on: Radio 

  Sunday, February 15, 2004

  Bringing a bit of magic into your life

If you are not reading Passion Catalyst Curt Rosengren yet you probably should start doing it. Curt is blogging about things that can help you to find your passion and to make a living by doing things you like.

Some of the recent posts:

On Friday a lot of my memories were triggered by Make your own luck pointing to an article with the same title. I have a very special relations with luck: some of people around me think that I'm lucky, but I do not think so. I just think that your dreams come true if you believe in them and start doing something, and it works for me :)

I guess it started when I was a teenager. At that time I have a lot of influence from "new age" magazines and books that started to appear in post-Soviet Russia. Between other things I've found there something about effects of visualising things you want in your life... Then I remembered myself in the university explaining my fellow students how get the best marks during exams. And then, a few years later, telling to a friend my own theory about magic, only to discover a year after that it was quite close to NLP Walt Disney technique :)

So, how to bring a bit of magic into your life according to my theory:

  • Think about something you would like to be a part of your life.
  • Think about your dream as it is already part of your life, imagine all kind of it, feel as it is real.
  • Now think about ways to get it in your life. Do not limit your imagination, think about all crazy and impossible things that can bring your dream to you.
  • Look at all these crazy ways to make your dream coming true and think about small steps that can bring you dream a bit closer and fit your current reality.
  • Make one of those small steps towards your dream :)

The components of my "magic theory" are simple - believe in your dreams, think of them as they are real and act to bring them into your life - yet I'm discovering them again and again :))) 

More on: fun passion 

  Saturday, February 14, 2004

  RSS Neighborhood

RSS Neighborhood by Thomas Burg - I do not understand German, but I can follow the links. Check this out:

Similar Feeds uses Share Your OPML! data to produce Readers who subscribe to Mathemagenic also subscribe to...

The way to get it is not very obvious, so:

  1. Go to http://grumet.net/syo/findThatFeed
  2. Type the name of your weblog
  3. Find your RSS feed (if there are several) and then click on <sim> next to it
  4. Enjoy :)

Thanks go to Andrew Grumet :)

Update 1: Andrew says 

The query uses a fudge factor to filter out the most popular weblogs, which otherwise would show up every time.

You can play with including/excluding more popular weblogs by using Tweak results on the left of the list.

Example: weblogs more popular and less popular between subscribers of my RSS feed

Update 2: Try selecting a number (x) that follows every weblog title: it gives you a list of people reading both weblogs.

Example: people reading both Mathemagenic and Ton's Interdependent Thoughts

Do not forget: all these nice things are built based on RSS subscription lists in Share Your OPML!, so not everything is there ;)

More on: blogging tools RSS 

  Friday, February 13, 2004

  Deadline silence 2

Please, forgive my silence with many blog-related e-mails, I'll reply soon.

I was wrong, thinking that paper deadlines were almost over, and forgot that two others were approaching. Today one more paper is getting ready to be submitted and now I only have to come up with the draft of paper on weblogs and personal something management before Tuesday... Looks like writing on Sunday :)

More on: PhD 

  When I'm done

It's probably a long way to go, but when I'm done with most of my PhD studies, I'll do one more. I would analyse my weblog posts and follow lines of thinking to see how they appear, mature and connect with the rest (or dissapear). From a very selfish perspective it would be the most interesting case to study :)

It's too late here. If it's early in your part of the globe, do read a comment on Context and attribution by Alex Halavais. And may be when I wake up I'll see my thinking about it written down by you :)))

More on: PhD 

  Thursday, February 12, 2004

  Context and attribution

Dwight Shih:

I can't begin to enumerate the reasons to make content available on the web. But I can confidently say that people work better when their work is appreciated. And links, in context and with attribution, are how we show appreciation on the web.

RSS feeds are freely available. That doesn't give you all rights to the content in those feeds. Please add context and attribution when incorporating items from RSS feed in your weblog. Attribution via a title link to the author's weblog is not enough – add enough context to identify it as another's work.

There are some quotes from my weblog in other places that do not make me happy... So, if you care, I would appreciate the following while quoting from my weblog:

1. Permalink to weblog post: click on a post title or # next to it to get the link (I know that I should add explicit "permalink" link, but I have to find a macro that does it in Radio).

2. Blockquote/color/bold/italic or another visible way to differentiate my text from your own words.

3. I'm not very happy when my whole post is quoted without any comments, but I can leave with it if you take care about points 1 and 2.

4. Images: please, make sure that image is linked to the post from there it taken (=you'll get to my post clicking on the image).

More on: blogging etiquette 

  danah boyd: notes on Revenge of the User talk

danah boyd: detailed notes on Revenge of the User talk.

The technology will not solve the social, but each design decision made in the technology affects the social. There is no formula though, no clear algorithm. No social scientist can predict what social behavior will emerge from each technology you build. But we can make sense out of what is going on and we can help you iterate.

The biggest trick in social software is to realize that, just like we can't predict the behavior that users will have, we can't force them into behaving the way we want them to behave while simultaneously giving them freedom to be social. The only thing that we can do is try to understand what is motivating new behaviors and figure out how to adjust the technology accordingly.

Read it yourself. It's about social theories, YASNs, tech-social interplay and the role of research in this whole thing.

  Wednesday, February 11, 2004

  Several RSS feeds into one?

Is there a tool that can be used to make one RSS feeds from several feeds I select?

If I have it I can use Feedroll to display "15 latest posts from KnowledgeBoard bloggers" or "10 latest posts by my colleagues"...

It's should be so easy to make one, but I wasn't able to find any :(

More on: blogging tools RSS 

  Monday, February 09, 2004

  Deadline silence

When I'm quiet this usually means paper deadlines :) Today is a deadline for submitting extended abstracts for I-KNOW04. I'm done with one of them and hope to finish another soon (somehow it's always the last day even if deadline is extended :))) The titles are:

  • Searching and finding in-house knowledge: patterns and implications (context)
  • Legitimised theft: distributed apprenticeship in weblog networks (context)

I won't post abstracts on-line (as there are too many others involved and I didn't see much interest to posted abstracts anyway), but you can always ask.

When I'm done I hope to post a lot on weblog research, research bloggers and blog as research instrument. Thinking is piling up... and reminds me to share link to Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD comics)...

More on: fun I-KNOW PhD 

  Friday, February 06, 2004

  Rethinking apprenticeship

Andy Boyd comes back to blogging with Croeso (one more Welsh word to learn :) and with a reflection on modern day apprentiships:

I have just returned home from my funiture making lessons with Hans Koot in Renkum, here 6 of us learn the old hand skills of furniture making and a little about design. It struck me that what we are often trying to do with Knowldge Management is to transfer experience and maybe the old fashioned apprentiships may give us some clues to tried and tested techniques.

I'm not surprised with a lot of synchronicity recently. Here is my "definition" of KM in a paper-to-be:

In a simple way the purpose of knowledge management could be defined as supporting learning from and building upon experiences of others in a company in a way that crosses geographical, hierarchical or time borders.

The paper is on rethinking apprenticeship :) I'll share some bits that inspire me...

Jim McGee on knowledge work as a craft:

The indirect values of improving knowledge work visibility may be the heart of realizing the promise of knowledge management for the organization. [...] The first will be increasing the value of knowledge work as a learning environment for other knowledge workers. As craft work, knowledge work fits more into apprenticeship learning models than in conventional training approaches. Making the work process and its intermediate products more visible will make the apprenticeship process more effective.

John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid in Stolen knowledge:

The means to build connections between learners and to the world of full-blooded practice are essential. In the workplace, learners can, when they need, steal their knowledge from the social periphery made up of other, more experienced workers and ongoing, socially shared practice. [...] A preferable goal, it seems to us, is to design technology that provides an underconstrained "window" onto practice, allowing students to look through it onto as much actual practice as it can reveal, to see to increasingly greater depths, and to collaborate in exploration. The closer such technology can come to making theft possible, the better it is likely to be.

Me and Sebastian Fiedler in Learning webs:

Distributed apprenticeship. Regular reading of other weblogs provides novices with opportunities to learn from experts' "thinking in public", selecting role models and engaging in conversations beyond geographical or disciplinary borders.

I do experience blogging this way and I wonder if it could work in a corporate KM settings...

  Thursday, February 05, 2004

  BlogTalks book

Just in case you don't know yet: the book BlogTalks will be available in around two weeks via Amazon and other catalogues. Thomas, thanks a lot for making it happen!

Make sure you update you references:

  • Reference: BlogTalks, Thomas N. Burg (ed.), Wien 2003, pp255. ISBN 3901806008
  • Table of contents with page numbers and links to on-line versions (if you are an author, make sure you add yours ;)

It's so hard to wait a bit more to see the paper copy...

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Tuesday, February 03, 2004

  7 pages description of my PhD research

As I promised earlier: the outline of my PhD research (. pdf, 7 pages). It's far from perfect, but I'd like to have something in public to explain what I'm trying to do. Of course, comments are welcome.

I'm thinking about creating "PhD RSS feed" for notifications about publications and major events in my PhD research, but I wonder if anyone who doesn't read my weblog (where I have all these anyway) would read it.

See also: more about my PhD research.

This post also appears on channel weblog research

More on: knowledge networker PhD 

  Monday, February 02, 2004

  Publishing preprints on-line

I did some browsing following Seb's post about twelfth declaration of independence from a costly publisher. Between other things I found an answer to my earlier question about publishing preprints on-line:

EPrints.org - Self-Archiving FAQ: The author holds the copyright for the pre-refereeing preprint, so that can be self-archived without seeking anyone else's permission. For the refereed postprint, the author can try to modify the copyright transfer agreement to allow self-archiving, or, failing that, can append or link a corrigenda file to the already self-archived preprint.

There is more to read there, so I know where to start to work on my "academic publishing awareness" :)

See also:

More on: research 

  Your feedback...

It feels so good finding many comments and blog-related e-mails after a long off-line day. It feels like being connected, like being a part of this very strange tribe where weak ties are often stronger then strong ties...

May be the greatest reward of blogging as you feel and not caring much about your audience is in the feedback you get. It gives a feeling of being accepted as you are, without a need to conform, to behave, to play others' rules...

Thanks to you all :)

More on: bloggers 

  Don't tell me how to blog

Wizbang! by Kevin Aylward, Don't tell me how to blog:

I've been at this blogging thing for a relatively short period of time compared to many of the other bloggers I know. In that time I've seen bits and pieces of a set of norms, or "rules" if you will, scattered around the blogosphere. These "rules" are mostly unwritten, but some are buried in the archives of the blogosphere. For new bloggers they lurk like tiny land mines waiting to be stepped on.


Wizbang is whatever I feel like it should be that: week; day; or post. Nothing more, nothing less. Some day's it will be funny (I hope), other days it will serious, some times it will get personal, often it may be lame (sorry). One thing it will never be is sanctimonious. My way of blogging works for me, your way works for you. I'm not going to tell you how you're doing it is wrong, and you sure as hell better not try to tell me I'm doing it wrong.

I will listen the views and thoughts of those I respect and make changes to how I blog at my discretion. If I want to pull cheap stunts to drive up traffic; I will. If I want to start posting the Communist Manifesto one page at a time; I will. If I want to start posting my breakfast menu; I will. In short, I'll do what I please, thank you very much...


The one rule I will respect is the NIMBY rule. I'll treat your blog like it is your house; I'll wipe my feet before entering and not make a mess while I'm visiting. But at my blog I'll lounge around; leave trash and laundry on the floor; forget to mow the lawn for a few weeks, etc. if that's how I'm feeling. I expect you to treat my blog like I would treat yours. Sorry, the only one who gets to leave dirty dishes on the coffee table is me.

I wonder how many bloggers share this position (I do :) vs. writing for the audience and closely monitoring what the audience wants...

More on: blog writing bloggers 

  Sunday, February 01, 2004

  Research on lurking

I'm still thinking about the power of lurking. My interest was triggered by discussions about activating lurkers in on-line communities and by some of our research suggesting that for many people lurking and not active participation is enough to get what they need. Since then I'm on a trail :)

I found some research on lurking (thanks to the great work done at CPsquare - Let's get more positive about the term 'lurker' (.pdf)). You can check my del.icio.us links on lurking or go directly to the papers by Blair Nonnecke and start reading from Silent participants: Getting to know lurkers better (.pdf).

I would blog it properly, but it's a bit late, so you can enjoy it yourself. I'll be back with my thoughts on it.

More on: lurking 

  Personal something management from my PhD perspective

Instead of adding links to my previous post I decided to draw my own picture of personal something management. I tried to connect together bits and pieces from my reading and thinking about knowledge work for the paper I'm writing. Comments are welcome.

Model of knowledge work that I can't explain in words yet

See also: earlier thinking about this model in Knowledge worker spaces and other posts on knowledge networker.

Later: paper with updated version of this model and comments - Discovering the iceberg of knowledge work: A weblog case

  Personal something management

Seb Paquet (also linking to User-Centric Distributed Social Software by Eric Gradman):

For about a year now, I've had the phrase "Personal Interaction Manager" intermittently sticking in and out of my mind. Never took the time to define it, but something keeps telling me this is what I really need. Talk about fuzzy logic. As I write this, Google returns zero hits for the phrase. (I have a hunch that this will change soon. :)

This is one more thing heavily connected to my PhD thinking. I'm interested in understanding "what do we do when we do knowledge work?" or as I put it now personal productivity in knowledge-intensive environment, and I'm constantly coming across things called personal something management (sometimes "personal" is implicit).

Things that I came across that have to do something with my PhD questions:

  • personal knowledge management
  • personal information management
  • contact management
  • conversation management (e.g. Whittaker et al, 2002 - Managing long term conversations: Conversation and contact management)
  • relation management
  • idea management
  • time management
  • more specific things: managing YASN profiles, paper archives, e-mails, bookmarks, scientific references...

I'll probably add a bit more links later...

  The role of information in knowledge sharing

Denham Grey comes with two thought-provoking posts: The KM spectrum and IM -- KM.

The first one talks about "the spectrum from knowledge creation (awareness, learning, community) to intellectual capital (knowledge assets, branding, knowledge exchanges)", so you can think where you would position yourself (and I guess most of us here in blogosphere are sharing "knowledge creation" side with Denham ;).

The second one is about distinguishing information management from knowledge management:

As we get to know each other, you will come to appreciate I'm quite a radical 'knowledge' person. Most folks in the KM business do not worry too much about what they are dealing with, i.e., information or knowledge. I think the IM -- KM difference is indeed a critical distinction. Folks that have a good understanding of the difference are better positioned to see emergent knowledge related opportunities in the workplace and market.

This one is more challenging as it is about the issue often labelled "let's not discuss the difference between information and knowledge in this meeting (paper, project, etc.) because if we start we don't get things done" :)

I think the most difficult thing is not distinguishing "knowledge creation" and "intellectual capital" ends of the spectrum and even not in agreeing that information systems should be not sold under KM label. It is more challenging to come up with fine-grained distinctions in thinking of people sharing the same end of all these spectrums (e.g. Denham and me think differently about community vs. individual perspective in learning).

I believe that there is more value in finding out the role of information management in KM, rather then saying that one is not the other. I'll share my comment to Denham's post here to explain where I stand:

I guess the problem is that KM has to do something with information next to knowledge.

I believe that knowledge doesn't exist "out there", it is always bounded to people. I also believe that knowledge is not shared (=I give it to you and you have it), but (re)constructed. One, who shares, helps (often unintentionally) another person to learn.

From this perspective, no tech tool contains knowledge: there is no knowledge in weblogs, wikis, on-line community tools, e-mails and even in the air when we talk. I tend to think about "sharing knowledge" in technology-mediated settings as about sharing information with an intention of being understood. So, my weblog post is "information", but in a way it is information that it easier to "convert" into knowledge at your end. The funny thing for me is that many people call this "easy to convert into knowledge information" knowledge. I do as well and it adds to the confusion :)

For me, on the learning side, knowledge starts with information, with ability to find, organise and process information bits while constructing knowledge. Sometimes a bit of information serves as a clue that we need to recall what we know or as a missing connection to weave our "half-insights" into knowledge. Of course, personal IM is not the only one of the components that we need for learning (think of relations and trust, shared language to start with, abilities to learn and to "share" in a way that helps others to learn...)

In my own definition to a certain degree KM includes rethinking and reusing IM for the "higher level goal", in the context of understanding what role information flows play in knowledge flows.

A bit later: I think the story from Jack Vinson about personal knowledge/information management is a good illustration of my point about close connections between information and knowledge.

© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Last update: 6/30/2005; 11:25:58 PM.