Knowledge Management in the Blogosphere

Knowledge management (KM) is an active topic online. Librarians and management professionals actively discuss various aspects of KM, reflecting on work experiences and observations to explore the topic. While there are few talking about KM in public libraries specifically, the discussion is transferable and well worth knowing. 

A Couple Posts of Interest

Let’s start with two posts I found particularly interesting. The first is Dale Stanley’s guest post on the SLA’s blog, Does Your Professional Future Include KM and Knowledge Services? Dale presents aspects of knowledge management that relate directly to librarianship, showing that special librarians are perfectly suited to step into a KM role. Since KM is now present in information environments, further resources and information are recommended.

The second post is Sarah Nichols’ post, KM Has an Image Problem. This is a post about how people react to hearing that you work in KM. In fact, she now pretends to be an audiobook narrator. I found this post interesting because the glazed over and sometimes derisive response she describes is similar to what I get when I say I’m studying to become a librarian. Instead of giving a title, she gives a few taglines that indicate the impact or point of your job as it relates to the listener. So instead of saying she’s in KM, she may say “I capture, organize and share all the information that our scientists need in order to develop lifesaving pharmaceuticals.” That is a great way to communicate the value and importance of a role that people are likely to remember. For a public librarian, you might say “I capture, organize and facilitate access to historical information that is important to the legacy of our community.” (Ok, mine needs work, but you get the idea—prepare a statement that leaves your title out until you have them hooked.)         

Law Libraries and KM

While this is not directly discussing public libraries, it is possibly the most active dialogue online spanning numerous blog posts in 2010. It seems to have been sparked by a reflective post by Morgan Wilson about a specific environment. He describes how KM has greatly diminished the role of the law library, causing him to reevaluate the potential for KM and librarianship to co-exist. The responses and related posts range in content and tone. Most reflect on personal experience and propose questions that easily translate to a public library environment:

  • At Above and Beyond KM, V Mary Abrahams asks if it may be due to the law library “caste system,” poor management, or the training/personality common to librarians. Are both KM and librarianship the last stages of our previous systems, leading to a new information professional of the future?    
  • Nina Platt of Strategic Librarian responds to the above post and reflects on her experience in both librarianship and KM. She brings the discussion to personal skills and innovation rather than expected roles of librarians vs. KM teams. Do you have skills to offer your firm and do they know it? Similarly, can you use these skills in innovative ways? 
  • On 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, Greg Lambert brings the dialogue together. He touches on the fluid nature of what it means to be a “librarian,” ever a sticky wicket, and calls on KM and librarians to work together to navigate the information challenges today. His post contains a reading list of posts related to this dialogue—be sure to check it out for more info!     

Again, this is a small sample of the content online. Another common topic for the online KM discussion is software, which we’ll explore that next time!

Pic is Sharing Is Caring – Fotosöndag by Niklas Wikström.


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