Capturing, structuring and maintaining knowledge: a social software approach
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Business and Law
Knowledge capture from experts is important when that knowledge is of value, scarce, and threatened by loss, as is the case with the expected departure of “baby boomers” from the workforce. This paper seeks to provide a theoretically grounded, practical methodology for initial knowledge capture and ongoing maintenance of this knowledge using “Web 2.0” technologies. Design/methodology/approach – The paper used a participatory action research project in which a methodology was developed for the capture of knowledge from experts in an organization experiencing both knowledge loss and rapid growth. The methodology used simple, affordable technologies such as digital cameras and digital editors, Wikis with a “semantic web” and social tagging. Findings – The paper was able to integrate an initial knowledge capture into an ongoing cycle of knowledge organizing, sharing and maintenance. It was found that, whilst it is an economical and appropriate solution to problems of knowledge loss and knowledge sharing, sustainability of the information capture and its validation and ongoing maintenance by others require explicit management attention. Research limitations/implications – This methodology provides a process model for investigating the conversion of tacit to explicit knowledge and the effectiveness of knowledge capture methods for inter-generational knowledge in particular, but knowledge capture from experts in general. Practical implications – The knowledge capture methodology derived in this project can be used by managers and practitioners to address knowledge loss and under-utilization. Originality/value – The methodology is original and based on a process model of tacit-explicit knowledge conversion. It uses cheap accessible tools, integrates an initial capture into an ongoing lifecycle, and uses modern, lightweight Web 2.0 tools and concepts.