Knowledge Management – Tools


Information is the new currency in the world economy. We are in the age of knowledge, which is a crucial asset for organizations and society (Green, Liu, & Qi, 2009). In almost any setting, a person or organization needs a good toolset and excellent resources to manage the knowledge being acquired or created. This is true even if it is as simple as pulling a paper and pen from a desk drawer. Still, effective and more efficient tools and resources must also be sought when efficiency is desired.

For clarification purposes, it must be made clear that there is a stark difference between a tool and a resource. A tool is a specific thing being utilized regarding the particular task undertaken. On the other hand, a resource is a place to find the desired tool. It is not to say, however, that one cannot be the other or cannot be used cohesively when seeking a desired or specific result.


There is an ever-increasing toolset regarding KM (Knowledge Management). As a species, we have continued to add to our toolset since the dawn of civilization, and the realm of KM is no exception. The foundation of KM is built via tools that create synergistic relationships between the needs of the people and the organization (Beard, 2003). From either a professional or non-professional perspective, there are a few tools that stand out as exceptional.

Data Mining is a highly effective tool in many fields if appropriately employed. Data Mining is collecting raw data and turning it into useful information. There are a few different types of mining: data mining, text mining (TM), and web mining (Zhang & Segall, 2010). Mining can be done in numerous ways but tends to be most effective when using computer software designed to seek out patterns inside large batches of data.

Businesses can discover more about their customer’s habits and advertise more directly based on the customer’s wants and needs. This is often done via “loyalty cards” or discount cards provided by different commercial entities. Communication organizations such as Cox or AT&T could discover viewing patterns and play commercials more in line with the customer’s interests, making it more advantageous for the advertiser.

There are also some non-commercial aspects to be considered regarding Data Mining. Certain organizations can track or learn more about an individual’s buying habits, personal habits, political leaning, affiliations, etc. These organizations could include government, security, law enforcement, etc. However, it does not end there. Criminal organizations have the same capabilities.

Mashups are a great way to present information. Regarding web-based applications, a blog, for instance, could integrate maps, Youtube videos, aggregate news sources, and so on into one seamlessly integrated application (Dalkir, 2013). These are extremely handy when dealing with complex issues or even when needing to provide reference materials regarding a specific topic. Today, these mashups are doing so with a particular point of integrating social media.

Social Media is a great tool when it comes to both knowledge dissemination and retrieval. While some of the information is irrelevant when something significant occurs, such as a world event, people who utilize social media can spread information very rapidly and to almost any part of the world in a matter of minutes. Of course, social media has, in many ways, become its own “mashup,” We are beginning to see integration between multiple formats becoming the standard.

Google +, for instance, is now fully integrated with Youtube, and you must have one to have the other. Both provide the option to integrate with Facebook, blogs, etc. On a similar note, one of the more ignored benefits of Social Media is that an organization can utilize social media applications to get information from external sources into the organization (Vuori & Okkonen, 2012). Examples include competitor positions, trends, reviews, etc.


In all of the available KM resources, few fulfill multiple specified functions that successfully produce a desired or intended result regarding professional and non-professional KM.

Websites, in general, are great resources regarding KM. Depending on how a website is built and for what purpose it serves, it can provide many resources within itself. There are thousands of KM sites on the Web. Three of these have been identified as the mega portals for the topic of KM:; Knowledge Management Resource Center; and DM Review (Tulloch, 2003).

A website is nothing more than a location connected to the Internet that maintains one or more pages on the World Wide Web. So basically, this could include sites such as Deets Library or even Youtube, which are undisputable resources with a vast amount of information on numerous specific topics.

More specifically, Blogs and Wikis are great places to locate information and are considered great resources, according to Dalkir (2013). This can be due to several reasons but include the idea that the originator of the information can be provided and scrutinized in one location. The originator often provides resources found by the originator within the text provided. Hence, these make great resources regarding a specific set of data. On the other hand, blogs can also be applied as tools for knowledge management (KM) (Din et al., 2012).

As mentioned previously, Youtube is another excellent resource for numerous reasons. It retains and distributes videos that users from around the globe upload. It has integrated social media and general media to the point where if someone likes the information being provided, a simple click of the mouse can launch the video to that specific user’s entire list of connected users. Furthermore, the platform allows users to take and integrate videos into their websites and blogs, which only adds to the ability of information distribution.


There appears to be confusion or differing beliefs regarding the “tool versus resource” paradigm. For instance, Dalkir (2013) lists Youtube as a “Visual Resource,” while Makkonen, Siakas, & Vaidya (2011) address Youtube as a Knowledge Management tool.

This should not take away from the power of either. While it is true that there is a stark difference between a tool and a resource, that difference tends to be based on the perspective of the individual or organization using it and how exactly it is being used. One can be the other, both can be used cohesively when seeking a desired or specific result, and both appear to create value.

In the end, “knowledge” is probably better defined as the resource being sought, and anything employed to gather or distribute it can be a tool and a resource as well.

Check out my article titled “Knowledge Management – Value.


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