Updated: 6/23/2005; 9:37:26 PM.


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  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.

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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.

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