Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Knowledge and a commitment to Openness

I am very interested in the growing debate that is developing concerning
Open Knowledge on the Web.

I was drawn by a colleague to read a very interesting article in
The New York Times 'Libraries shun deals to place books on Web'
of 22nd October 2007

In particular, I agree with the following quote, especially too, from a KM Consulting context,

“There are two opposed pathways being mapped out,” said Paul Duguid, an adjunct professor at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. “One is shaped by commercial concerns, the other by a commitment to openness, and which one will win is not clear.”


To a degree, I understand the arguments that have been put to date, that information and knowledge developed from public funds should be available for the common good, and "some libraries and researchers worry that if any one company comes to dominate the digital conversion of these works, it could exploit that dominance for commercial gain.", and I understand the need for commercial concerns to make a profit to live and grow, but I think there are several other issues that are emerging on the Web that are just as challenging and fundamental.

I believe that the greatest challenge to a KM Consultant is to take his/her own medicine too and 'think differently about knowledge'.

I fully accept that "many in the academic and nonprofit world are intent on pursuing a vision of the Web as a global repository of knowledge that is free of business interests or restrictions." and I would suggest that this will extend further into the profit world than we, perhaps, realise.

As a KM Consultant, I have realised that I will never be able to develop and compete on knowledge, personally, compared to developing knowledge through open collaborative knowledge communities. It's insane to keep thinking in competitive ownership terms.

Where I believe I can excel as a 21st Century KM Consultant, is in my experience gained, and in my competencies developed, around applying the best available knowledge.

I think that increasingly, the Web will certainly be a growing global repository of knowledge for all, that is free to use for both business interests and non-business interests.

Maybe it will be the case that people will continue to 'compete' on ideas and innovation, and 'collaborate', for the common good of creativity and innovation on knowledge development?

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