Knowledge banks... how to establish them and are they worth it?

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Title

Knowledge banks... how to establish them and are they worth it?

Introduction

(Original message by Nadia von Holzen) What aspects and key KM principles one has to keep in mind while establishing a knowledge bank?

Has anyone experiences conceptualising a knowledge bank?

To me it seems clear that knowledge needs a community. And I would say that this is also valid for knowledge banks. It needs to be oriented towards (re)use, and ideally knowledge bearers and users are in a way connected. I see a challenge in sense-making and contextuality (as problems in dev. are gaining increasingly complexity....).

What has one to consider in putting knowledge in a bank? If you could share some hints and tips would be very valuable.

Many thanks! Nadia


Keywords

Knowledge bank, data, information, knowledge, KM, knowledge management, knowledge sharing, community, KM manager


Detailed Description

A vibrant, living bank connecting and involving the different users based on trust: Knowledge needs action and effective use to realise it's potential. This implies effective understanding, refinement, and redirection. A bank that facilitates the connection and interaction, the discourse between knowledge users and bearers is lively and based on trust. In this perspective KM4 could be seen as knowledge bank (KB)?

From storing to hoarding - that's not what it is about: Big data and information hoarding, categorising cataloging and storing are trendy... Take care not to become 'data- horny'. From storing to accessing/ sharing - how does the bank organise this?!

Oxymoron or mission impossible: Knowledge and bank doesn't work. We cannot treat knowledge or insights as a commodity we can put in a bank. Knowledge is mysterious. A special stuff, knowledge is fluid, gas-like or stean-like: you can't arrange it successfully in a bank. Information is storable but not knowledge. To make knowledge storable you loose its characteristics, its quality (knowledge as frozen steam, you cool down to solidify. It evaporates...)

Bank managers and bank curators: What would the characteristics of a bank manager be? What about a knowledge curator making sure knowledge is proper before getting out? The head of KM as finance minister or chancellor stimulating a knowledge economy, putting in place the environment for people to but and sell.

Putting knowledge to work, knowledge needs transaction: The money is not in the bank, its out working. Banks create value, they make money work, lend it out, make it circulate, get value out of knowledge. Interaction enriches knowledge. There are different type if banks (deposit, investment, trading). What sort of bank are we talking about? With knowledge it's the same as with money: under the mattress it's worthless.

Banking can be risky: If the borrowers won't or can't pay back, or the lenders lose confidence and withdraw their funds the money bank has a problem. In a knowledge bank: If borrowers don't contribute back then the lenders start to get annoyed with the one-way flow.

Knowledge needs a markets not banks: In markets knowledge is presented, visible

Librarians are not just cataloguers, they are knowledge supporters: Trained and experienced librarians know about how to make information available, so that users can pull out what they need. Librarians are busy connecting and linking, relating to their community of users, using IT and social media. Specialist intermediaries or librarians may be a more fully prepared searcher an inquirer who know how to find, classify and organize the knowledge wanted to achieve a specific aim.

Bank accounts of knowledge should be open to everyone: Storing knowledge in networks, both physical and social: Knowledge is by its nature a social and distributed phenomenon. Knowledge is mostly tacit and context relative; knowledge exists only inside peoples mind, and imbedded in social dynamics. Local knowledge is full of tacit knowledge.

Property rights: Take care of intellectual property rights, especially when content is added.

What a harvest! And more hints are keeping coming in... I don't feel like a bank manager but as a question lender harvesting insights, metaphors, more questions... Thanks!

Best, Nadia


KM4Dev Discussions

  • That bank must facilitate connected users and knowledge bearers. The development sector is getting 'data horny'. You might want to focus on 'more knowledge helps' and connecting conversations for communication and exchange. (Jaap Pels)
  • Perhaps in a Knowledge Bank everyone has an account even if I have not deposited any knowledge. You may want to emphasize co-creation. The knowledge bank could be a collection of all knowledge pools from Australia to Zamunda. (Charles Dhewa)
  • I agree if your definition is about having a central place, online or offline that acts as a primary resource for storing and making available desired information, sometimes for public but other times for private use. Mind intellectual property rights though. (Ednah Karamagi)
  • 'Knowledge bank' is an oxymoron: If you want to "bank" knowledge, you need to cool it down to solidify it, so that you can store it. But then it loses the typical characteristics of steam (or of knowledge for that matter, which is the whirling around, the highly dynamic, energetic nature). (Marc Steinlin)
  • Do not put knowledge in a bank - take it out to the market - and put it on the most visible display. Let people use it, reshape it and hopefully you will have been the conduit of generating something bigger and better. (Roxana Samii)
  • To avoid intellectual property issues, develop Terms and conditions where content providers allow you to publish their information to the public. (Bruce Kisitu)
  • Does the knowledge bank need a knowledge curator to make sure it is proper before it gets published to intended audiences? (Sony Arianto Kurwanian)
  • we often believe in a couple of "myths" - that knowledge somehow comes with an EXE file, and that everyone has read the software manual and will know how to use it. "Knowledge" for me implies effective understanding, refinement, and redirection of information or someone else's "knowledge", and then some actual "action", even if that action is cerebral and not physical. A resource is effectively useful in my mind if its potential is realized. I think we still focus too much on the supply rather than to its effective use, which implies focusing on how the user perceives the potential resource. (Tony Pryor).
  • Some of the principles from Learning_from_Libre_Knowledge_Initiatives (http://wikieducator.org/) may apply and contributions there will be welcome. (Kim Tucker)
  • Banking is very much about putting money to work to make more money, and they are a fundamental mechanism in the market economy. I see a lot of consistency with the ideals for getting value out of knowledge. (Patrick Lambe)
  • What bank are we talking about: retail banking (lending money to customers at low risk), old-style investment banking (financial services for businesses) or investment banking (high risk/reward banking)? (Matt Moore)
  • Yes, we make deposits, we make withdrawals, we reuse the asset and it appreciates in value else the bank goes bust. (Geoff Parcell)
  • Knowledge is more like a capacity, not a commodity. Better bet on knowledge markets and information banks? (Ewen Le Borgne)
  • Money == Information. So storing information in a bank is ok with me; storing knowledge is not what I think is possible / handy / do-able. (Jaap Pels)
  • Maybe it would be worth looking at the basic principles and what is known about running traditional libraries to think about how a knowledge bank could improve upon an old-fashioned library. (Chase Palmeri)
  • You can stretch the metaphor about Knowledge Suppliers and Knowledge Customers and putting in place the environment for people to "buy" and "sell" knowledge as they need it across the organisation - the head of KM is the Chancellor of Exchequer or Finance Minister, keeping "interest levels" (in knowledge) at the right level to stimulate a vibrant knowledge economy. (Paul Whiffen)
  • The library analogy is a very good one, especially since here in the UK there is an emotive debate going on at the moment about the future of libraries. (Paul Corney)
  • This is a tricky metaphor when talking about knowledge flowing between people and between people and institutions, where the currency is trust and equal-exchange. Plant/seed banks might be a better analogy. Knowledge dies in cold digital silos. Back to libraries thus, what are the low-cost alternatives to specialist intermediaries, those who make sense of knowledge banks or libraries? Especially when a lot of the content isn't classified and stacked, but agglomerated in unsorted heaps. (Pete Cranston).
  • That alternative could be: a more fully prepared searcher an inquirer who knows how to find, classify and organize the knowledge wanted to achieve a specific aim + the ability to learn from others individually and in groups, as well as a sense of when to rely on others' knowledge, rather than seeking one's own. (Linda Morris)
  • There's a lot of material out there on information literacy that's relevant to this conversation. Some of it is universal, some of it is culturally specific. The rich literature on communities of practice is also probably relevant. (Matt Moore)
  • Indeed we come back to the role of libraries. Our goal is ‘one source of truth’ in our systems. That way, you get it stored and categorized properly, links to interesting information can be used in a multitude of KM activities and tools. But we have to keep training and educating and putting links on the intranet and having contests. However, in the end, our staff lead the field in producing evidence-based work. Librarians are not just catalogers, they are knowledge supporters. (Julia Cleaver)
  • Why not talk about a knowledge base instead, where we can have interactivity, ask questions and have soon an answer or being connected to someone who knows the answer. Yes I would you for knowledge base as it is a basis for sharing and discussing... For learning from each other. (Sophie Treinen)
  • The difference between money and knowledge is that a) knowledge is a non rival good, meaning that we all can use the same knowledge without problem, b) Knowledge is by its nature a social and distributed phenomenon, c) 99% of tacit knowledge exists only inside peoples mind, and imbedded in social dynamics, it is impossible to store people inside any institution, d) most knowledge is context relative, so it cannot be fully grasped separately of its (cultural, geographical, ecologica, etc.) context, and it is impossible to store all the context inside an institution and e) all knowledge has a particular frame, a particular way of approaching reality, so it is difficult to grasp other people's knowledge without interacting to check. (Sebastiao Mendonça)
  • An alternative analogy: a cooking pot with all the guests contributing a little something to make a tastier whole ... "With knowledge goods, everyone gets a copy of the whole pot" (not just a small bowl each). (Kim Tucker)

Examples in Application

N/A

Related FAQs

Further Information


Original Author and Subsequent Contributors of this FAQ

  • Nadia von Holzen (original author)
  • Bruce Kisitu
  • Charles Dhewa
  • Chase Palmeri
  • Ednah Karamagi
  • Ewen Le Borgne
  • Geoff Parcell
  • Jaap Pels
  • Julia Cleaver
  • Kim Tucker
  • Linda Morris
  • Marc Steinlin
  • Matt Moore
  • Patrick Lambe
  • Paul Corney
  • Paul Whiffen
  • Pete Cranston
  • Roxana Samii
  • Sebastiao Mendonça Ferreira
  • Sony Arianto Kurniawan
  • Sophie Treinen
  • Tony Pryor

Dates of First Creation and Further Revisions

15 February 2012 (Nadia von Holzen)

FAQ KM4Dev Source Materials

Dear Nadia,

Your going in position to rationalize KM principles in respect establishing a knowledge bank opens many issues to discuss.

That bank must facilitate connected users and knowledge bearers. The latter are humans for a lot of KM-thinkers, but I guess there is also a relation between the K-bank and information. bearers, possibly to information sec.

And lately the dev. sector seems to be 'data-horny'; the WBs' pay off line is on data and open (http://search.worldbank.org/all?qterm=open%20data) and big data is hot: http://www.slideshare.net/

victori98pt/big-data-the-next-frontier-by-mckinsey. I predict Twitter is going to be the next data collection conduit. Twitter is second in the Google http://www.google.nl/search?q=%23data&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en- US:official&client=firefox-a. Is all this part of the KB?

Quote "(Problems in dev. are gaining increasingly complexity...)". That to me is a hint to use the Cynefin framework and look-up how to "navigate complex situations". The latter is more often part of dev. vacancy ToRs and absolute a strange attractor to join the dev. industry.

Last I think you need to chose an approach, a paradigm, a theory of change and purpose respective ITIL, distributed editing with a wiki, 'more knowledge helps' and 'to offer a platform for communication and exchange'.

My opinion is that KM4Dev must be pretty close to your KB. Man, one can do a PhD on this thread you started. Best, Jaap

==

Hie Nadia,

Thanks for an interesting, thought-provoking question. You have made me imagine all types of banks ranging from village banks to the world bank.

Banks tend to be formal with more emphasis on hierarchical ways of creating value (think of the Bank Manager and a lot of staff below him/her). On the other hand, as km4devers, we seem to concur that knowledge is so mysterious that you can't successfully arrange it hierarchically. It is also shy which is why important failures may only be shared through informal networks rather than through formal presentations. If we mimic real commercial banks, we are likely to miss very important nuances and intuitions which are very difficult to classify.

Perhaps in a Knowledge Bank everyone has an account even if I have not deposited any knowledge. But again, if you give farmers knowledge for free, sometimes they don't value it. May be the Knowledge Bank should emphasize co-creation. What would be the characteristics of a bank manager? May be we can say, someone who starts a thread like what Nadia has done is the bank manager for that transaction?

The knowledge bank could be a collection of all knowledge pools from Australia to Zamunda.

Really interesting!! Best wishes, Charles

==

Hello

If your definition of a knowledge bank is having a central place, online or offline that acts as a primary resource for storing and making available desired information, sometimes for public but other times for private use, then yes, i have been involved in the making of a knowledge bank. When we reached a stage where we wanted to share it with a few selected people before it gets available to the public, something that came up every so often was the issue of intellectual property rights. This is because the people involved in the adding of content were from all over.

Hope this helps, ednah

==

Nadia, I still think the term "knowledge bank" is an oxymoron. There cannot be something like a knowledge bank.

It is something like "frozen steam". If you cool down steam, it becomes water and eventually ice by definition.

If you want to "bank" knowledge, you need to cool it down to solidify it, so that you can store it. But then it loses the typical characteristics of steam (or of knowledge for that matter, which is the whirling around, the highly dynamic, energetic nature).

So if you will need to mainly solve the problem of condensing and freezing, as well as defrosting and evaporating...

Cheers (see you on Wednesday!), -marc

==

Dear Marc Your analogy is spot on!!!! I could not but smile in reading and re-reading your message.

We all seem to want to categorize, catalogue and store everything. I know I will be lynched by saying this.... but is that one of the characteristics of hoarders..... we can store and categorize, but if we do not share, then we have not done what we are supposed to do.

A bank is a safe place to put things away. While a market is a place of exchange, where people come together to share, to learn, to see, to explore, to test.

So Nadia, I guess what we are saying is do not put knowledge in a bank - take it out to the market - and put it on the most visible display. Let people use it, reshape it and hopefully you will have been the conduit of generating something bigger and better.

Ciao Roxy

==

Ednah,

You should develop Terms and conditions were content providers allow you to publish their information to the public. This is what we have done with FAO's TECA teca.fao.org. It means they retain all information they do not want to share with the wider public. It also means in case those sharing information are not the authors, then they have to seek permission from the authors - lots of work.

Bruce

==

Is the knowledga bank needs a knowledge curator? So it makes sure it is proper before get published to intended audience. Sony AK

==

As a great lover of analogies and metaphors, I can't resist this discussion; I, had much the same reaction as Roxy's, ie. a Sunday smile.

At the great risk of abusing the steam "vision", let me add that, for steam to be truly useful it does need to be directed and, heaven help us, managed. Sitting here in a city which still uses steam heat, steam doesn't just exist in anything but an ephemeral state unless it is somehow put to use And some of that process implies a boiler, pipes, pistons, etc etc. Anyway, enough of that, but I do think, at least for some things, there can be value in the boilermaker (the person, not the drink). And in that analogy, the boilermaker helps to generate that steam, and direct its flow so those who need to use it can tap into it. There's no such thing as steam in a market; having knowledge outside in the ether, or found within a google search, doesn't mean it truly can be accessed and used.

One final comment though: this gets to a key point for me in all of the KM work many of us do; we often believe in a couple of "myths" - that knowledge somehow comes with an EXE file, and that everyone has read the software manual and will know how to use it. "Knowledge" for me implies effective understanding, refinement, and redirection of information or someone else's "knowledge",

and then some actual "action", even if that action is cerebral and not physical. This leads me to a very useful but confusing term in economics, potential. A resource is effectively useful in my mind if its potential is realized; having a great swath of acacia senegal trees in Sudan for instance has potential value for farmers IF the international market is robust, if quality control exists, and if the walk from the farmer's residence is not too far. Having something which is potentially a resource does not make it so, without thinking of the context of the farmer. While we all say we don't view ourselves as planters of acacias and not the gum arabic farmer, I think we still focus too much on the supply (slipping back to the previous analogy, to the generation of steam) than to its effective use, which implies focusing on how the user perceives the potential resource (the steam, the acacia, etc etc etc).

Tony

==

Hi Nadia and all,

I have just started a page on WikiEducator which might be of interest: http://wikieducator.org/ Learning_from_Libre_Knowledge_Initiatives Some of the principles may apply and contributions there will be welcome :-).

Thanks, Kim

==

Well I know banks are in bad odour right now, but to me the metaphor of a bank works. Banks are not about hoarded stashes of money - banking is very much about putting money to work to make more money, and they are a fundamental mechanism in the market economy. If we take that interpretation, I see a lot of consistency with the ideals for getting value out of knowledge.

Patrick Lambe

==

So riffing around Patrick's comments. There are at least 3 kinds of bank.

Retail banking is mostly about taking deposits from consumers to loan to other consumers. Its core business is all about providing liquidity and managing relatively simple risks (e.g. default risks). It's not a very sexy or highly profitable business but in most societies, it is a necessary one.

Old-style investment banking is about providing financial professionals services to businesses - e.g. floatations, M&A, some investment mgt. It is high-status & can make you wealthy but not filthy-rich.

Since the 80s, investment banking has been about trading & creating new things to trade. It can make you filthy rich. It is also riskier than many people claimed & can destroy whole economies if done badly.

What sort of bank are we talking about when we mean a "knowledge bank". Matt Moore

==

Yes Patrick, we make deposits, we make withdrawals, we reuse the asset and it appreciates in value else the bank goes bust. Too many knowledge stores are like putting the money under the mattress, worthless if the knowledge is not reused. Geoff

==

Dear all,

Nice point here Patrick. One key difference between the banks we know and this type of banks: in the physical banks we know, money grows by keeping still. Here, following your nice analogy, there is a good idea to enrich knowledge, but that happens through interactions, not by keeping still in the bank's vaults.

But back to Marc's excellent point, I can think of information banks (where indeed stashes of cash could be converted into gold ingots - as information threads could be pulled into a dense information item capturing consolidated insights) but not really of knowledge banks. Because knowledge in my eyes is more like a capacity (the capacity you resort to in order to apply information to a given context and put it to use). Perhaps it's even more useful to think about 'insights' which hint at the transient 'gaz-like' form that knowledge takes in Marc's words. The word 'knowledge' too quickly evokes images of a commodity. In any case, I don't think we can capture insights (or knowledge) and put them in the bank. And like Roxana said, there's much (more) value going out to the market to generate more insights by sharing and learning together. So perhaps we should aim at knowledge/insight 'markets' and information 'banks'. In both cases there would be a gradual enriching (and mutually reinforcing) mechanism at play.

Such an interesting thread - reminds me of the DIKW discussion we had 2 years ago too: http:// wiki.km4dev.org/wiki/index.php/DIKW_model

Would anyone be happy to summarise this thread? The 'what is knowledge' issue is one of what I call the KM phoenixes' because it keeps reappearing as different avatars. That very fact shows that we need to document and understand better what we mean to delve deeper and deeper in the matter.

Cheers, Ewen

==

Hi Ewen, In fact .... money == Information. So storing information in a bank is ok with me; storing knowledge is not what I think is possible / handy / do-able. Jaap

==

Dear Nadia,

In the past I guess that libraries were our "knowledge banks. Or, at least they served some of the same basic functions that a 'knowledge bank' such as you want to create might serve.

If so, to respond to your questions, perhaps it would be worth considering the experiences in conceptualising a library, how good libraries related to their community of users, and how the people managing them (knowledge brokers of another age) considered what books to put on the shelves.

As much fun as it is to use the bank analogy to stimulate creative thinking processes....maybe it would be worth looking at the basic principles and what is known about running traditional libraries. Then one could move beyond to take on some of the constraints and weaknesses they have. In this, simply re- examining how Wikipedia improves on the Encyclopaedia Britannica - by using IT and social media - might help think about how a knowledge bank could improve upon an old-fashioned library.

Best regards, Chase

==

I use the Knowledge Economy analogy quite a lot, with Knowledge Bank as a part of that.

You can build on the idea by talking about Knowledge Suppliers and Knowledge Customers and putting in place the environment for people to "buy" and "sell" knowledge as they need it across the organisation.

I even relate the Head of KM role to being like the Chancellor of Exchequer or Finance Minister, keeping "interest levels" (in knowledge) at the right level to stimulate a vibrant knowledge economy.

Best to all (and anyone that remembers me from this community from some years ago!) Paul Whiffen

==

Hi Chase that's a very good analogy especially since here in the UK there is an emotive debate going on at the moment about the future of libraries.

Sparknow and The Futures Company joined the debate last week. This is the blog that's been receiving a lot of attention as a result: http://stories-and-organizations.sparknow.net/post/ 17095530580

All the best, Paul

==

Hi

What a wonderful and wacky thread, thanks Nadia for sparking it off, I'm looking forward to how you make sense of it all!

Metaphors are so context specific. I can see how banking and the knowledge economy, the concept of investing and return, appeals to many institutions. I have problems with the banking metaphor if we are outside bounded institutions. Banks, after all, are primarily there to make profits for bankers and stakeholders from lending money which is a tricky concept in terms of knowledge flowing between people and between people and institutions, where the currency is trust and equal-exchange.

Plant banks came to my mind, especially those which live in glass-houses like you find in research or agricultural institutions. You know, those warm, most, slightly foetid smelling places where species of plants are grown and crossed and harvested, ensuring that species don't die out and that plants adapted to particular conditions can be shared with people in new places. Apart from the fertility and creativity that implies, there's also transformation - the air is full of water vapour, not quite steam, Marc, but a circulation from plant to dripping window to plant, nourishing. (And for heaven's sake don't let the bankers in, they'll patent the plants for profit)

Apart from cheering me up on a cold, damp, night that metaphor includes as a necessity the community you start with, Nadia: intermediaries (and gardeners, sorry Jaap) who gather, maintain, share, experiment. I think one of the lessons we have learnt from the technocratic phase of KM is that knowledge dies in cold digital silos. But it also implies diversity - archives of tweets, blogs and other social media for later analysis; all those videoed exit interviews and leaving-party exchanges (from that great thread on job handovers http://bit.ly/x92xl7); evaluation and project closing reports; internal wikipedia, a bit random like our own KM4Dev wiki but well worth sifting through for records of exchanges and discourse (dis-putes) etc etc

Which brings us back to libraries, and how they adapt to current contexts, as Chase says, and bring us back to how sense-making can work without librarians - intermediaries. Like everything else public, the libraries in the city where I live have had huge budget cuts. I am educated and know what books or other media I want, can use the catalogue and the card reader for borrowing and lending. There are very few librarians of the kind who used to direct children to new reading, or students to reference works.

What are the low-cost alternatives to specialist intermediaries, those who make sense of knowledge banks or libraries? Especially when a lot of the content isn't classified and stacked, but agglomerated in unsorted heaps.

Cheers, Pete

==

Pete,

You asked: What are the low-cost alternatives to specialist intermediaries, those who make sense of knowledge banks or libraries? Especially when a lot of the content isn't classified and stacked, but agglomerated in unsorted heaps.

My first thought was: "We should have an APP for that!"

You and others have aptly described the rich context laden knowledge environment of the world we live in and the many sources of facts, information, knowledge (and perhaps insights). What comes to mind is that a low-cost alternative to specialist intermediaries or librarians may be a more fully prepared searcher an inquirer who knows how to find, classify and organize the knowledge wanted to achieve a specific aim. Interestingly, I asked a friend who was in the forefront of knowledge management what he thought would prepare people for dealing with the knowledge era and he said "research skills."

To that I would add the ability to learn from others individually and in groups, as well as a sense of when to rely on others' knowledge, rather than seeking one's own.

I also wonder about creating a dynamic metaphor, e.g., the universe. I can almost picture knowledge spinning around and through people and groups, I am wondering what will appeal to our newer citizens. My grand children really don't have the experience of the post office and with sending and receiving mail. They might not view banks as we do, as well. Yet they zoom through cyberspace while I plod!

Thanks Nadia for asking this interesting question. Linda

==

There's a lot of material out there on information literacy that's relevant to this conversation. Some of it is universal, some of it is culturally specific.

The rich literature on communities of practice is also probably relevant. Nancy might want to plug her book here ;-)

Matt Moore

==

If, as Ednah says “If your definition of a knowledge bank is having a central place, online or offline that acts as a primary resource for storing and making available desired information, sometimes for public but other times for private use” then I would say that this is a library. Librarians have been involved in collecting, organizing, adding metadata, searching, retrieving and sharing knowledge for thousands of years. We use whatever the best software and cataloging/indexing scheme available in that situation and then actively make that information available to users.

Our goal is ‘one source of truth’ in our systems. That way, you get it stored and categorized properly (call us hoarders if you want), links to interesting information can be used in a multitude of KM activities and tools.

If you can find a trained librarian, they will be able to give you lots of guidance on making sure that you put information into a system in a way that users will be able to pull it out. But basically, it is the human effort that you put into the system is what is going to achieve success. Both up front by investing in good cataloging so folks can find information easily, and then later with ongoing help in remembering to look, and having the skills to do it. Nothing that really works is going to be effortless. But it really can be very valuable, as our library is. And it is being used by staff in 14 countries, many in low resource settings. But we have to keep training and educating and putting links on the intranet and having contests. However, in the end, our staff lead the field in producing evidence-based work.

Librarians are not just catalogers, they are knowledge supporters. Julia

==

I wonder if we can choose another word. Rather than bank why not use base knowledge base, which is not really a database, which is not really a library or a very modern one where we can have interactivity, ask questions and have soon an answer or being connected to someone who knows the answer. Yes I would you for knowledge base as it is a basis for sharing and discussing... For learning from each other.

Regards to all, Sophie

==

Thank you Nadia, for your question.Indeed, it is harder to come up with a good question than to react trying to answer the question. The flow of answers was amazing. They covered elements of concept of knowledge and a little bit of finance.

What is explicit knowledge but frozen steam? For those concerned about freezing steams, all written word a a frozen expression of a flow of air from our mouths. We have over 5 thousand years freezing steams on ceramic, stone, papyrus, paper and computer desktop. Language was invented to communicate knowledge through a common set of symbols. What is surprising is that we learned to express our ideas and insights through a sequence of symbols (transforming thoughts into symbols), and other people could listen or read those symbols and, in some way, grasp our ideas and insights. This was an extraordinary achievement of our ancestors.

The idea of bank, repository, library or pool is useful to thinking about ways to store knowledge. The first difference I have with the analogy of knowledge and money is that knowledge is a non- rival good, meaning that we all can use the same knowledge without problem, but we cannot do the same with money without getting in trouble. Each account in a bank is for exclusive use, the accounts of knowledge should be open to everyone. The second difference I have is with the idea of one place for storing knowledge, and I believe that more and more knowledge will be stored in networks, both physical and social. Knowledge is by its nature a social and distributed phenomenon. A third difference I have is that 99% of tacit knowledge exists only inside peoples mind, and imbedded in social dynamics, it is impossible to store people inside any institution. Local knowledge is full of tacit knowledge. The fourth difference is that most knowledge is context relative, so it cannot be fully grasped separately of its (cultural, geographical, ecologica, etc.) context, and it is impossible to store all the context inside an institution. The fifth difference is that all knowledge has a particular frame, a particular way of approaching reality, so it is difficult to grasp other people's knowledge without interacting to check if what I am understanding is similar to what is being communicated to me.

Despite these differences all Rosettas stones, encyclopedias, wikis, Journals, KM4Dev, are good to make knowledge a commons. Any idea that help us to think about our wealth of knowledge as a commons deserves to be explored.

Sebastiao Mendonça Ferreira

==

Hi all,

Another analogy (thanks to Rishab Ghosh): a cooking pot with all the guests contributing a little something to make a tastier whole ... "With knowledge goods, everyone gets a copy of the whole pot" (not just a small bowl each).

http://www.flossproject.org/papers/20070917/tacd_rishabghosh.pdf

Kim