David Buchan has been doing some interesting thinking on knowledge management and personal knowledge management. This entry is motivated by some internal discussions about how colleagues share what they know with one another without burying them in emails (or "interesting" hard-copies). How to share knowledge like a librarian
And so the idea of becomming librarians was born.
To research a topic I ask an librarian who will direct me to the most appropriate resources within their knowledge management system. Just because it is publically accessible does not mean it is my knowledge management system. We can do the same in the office.
I particularly liked David's thoughts about the problems with centralized systems. We are not all the same, even if we work within the same environment. We have different levels of expertise and interest in the topics of importance to the business (and to us). We tend to categorize and file things differently, based on our personal contexts.
David's solution for his colleagues is the promise that when there is a request, help will be given. I like the thought that if an organization is going to encourage its people to be knowledge workers and develop their own personal knowledge management routines, then the other requirement is that these people be required to help one another. This relates to Ton Zijlstra's recent post on his Information strategy: filtering. I am not the only filter in my information space: everyone around me filters their own information and provides it to me in conversation, email, web feeds, etc. What they collectively find interesting acts as a filter for me in terms of new things I might find.
The other piece that David doesn't mention is that close colleagues, like those who share a lab or an office, must also share enough of themselves that I know what kinds of answers to expect from them when I pose a question. This suggests I have seen the ebb and flow of their ideas and have a fair feeling for their interest areas.
Also, have a look at David's thoughts about del.icio.us in Some side-benefits of opening up your personal knowledge management system.