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Extras - Getting out of the Box: The Knowledge Management Opportunity - A Summary/Review of the SLA Videotape

By Sue Taylor, Published on October 1, 1997

Sue Taylor has been a private law librarian since 1977. Sue is the Reference Librarian at the Los Angeles office of Katten Muchin & Zavis.

(Archived November 1, 1997)

For information on purchasing this Special Libraries Association videotape, visit SLA's Virtual Bookstore where it can be purchased for $45.

I recently attended a video presentation of the above SLA program hosted by our Lexis Librarian Liason, Gail Robbins. If you have a chance to see this video (it is for sale from SLA, but Gail tells me that she is planning on sharing it with her Liason counterparts in other parts of the country), don't miss it. Below are a few highlights to whet your appetite.

Knowledge management is the creation, capture, exchange, use and communication of an organization's intellectual capital.

John Peetz, Chief Knowledge Officer at Ernst & Young made the point that you can't have one librarian for every 3 users. Users must be self sufficient in retrieval of basic information. He has developed EY/InfoLink to empower each person "with the use of externally-generated, electronic knowledge ... direct to the desktop, without interfacing with a librarian..." He also spoke of knowledge navigation which is to train the requester (or caller) to find the answer rather than finding the answer for them. And finally he commented on the barriers. One of the toughest things to do is to contribute to the organization's or department's knowledge base. It is hard to sit down at the end of a long day or on the weekend and summarize or report on what you have learned so that it may benefit others. Yet, without this sharing, the knowledge base will not increase.

Lois Remeikis at Booz, Allen gave us the four unnatural acts required for knowledge management. They are:

  1. Sharing - creating awards for sharing will help it to increase
  2. Using - it takes courage to use someone else's "product"
  3. Collaboration - need to break down the knowledge silos
  4. Improving - need to constantly weed out the old and superseded thinking, just as we do for our print materials

Kris Liberman from Lotus Development spoke of her product designed to put customized content at the user's desktop. She mentioned that the human brain is still the best filter. She also spoke of the container. An appealing container, the graphics, links etc., compels the client to look at the content.

Nancy Lemon at Owens Corning spoke about her knowledge product. But what caught my attention was a question from the telephone audience which asked about her policy of allowing users to order their own documents via a document delivery service. The question was how can she control costs and aren't there lots of duplicates. She answered that it works extremely well. The document delivery service they use has a list of Owens' publications and will refer the user to their own library for those requests. The end user is ultimately responsible for allocating and justifying which weeds out unnecessary requests.