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Text Preview Feature article Knowledge management, librarians and information managers: fad or future? Brendan Loughridge

This article considers some of the principles and practices commonly associated with ``knowledge management'' (KM) in so far as they seem to be of potential importance or relevance to library and information professionals. Competing claims and counterclaims about KM as expressed in a selection of recent professional and academic publications are reviewed, though a truly comprehensive survey of the topic would, as Holtham (1997) suggests, have to take into account the domains of information systems strategies, information policies, computer science, knowledge-based and expert systems, the economics of information and knowledge, intellectual capital, human resource management and organisational culture and learning. While various definitions, or attempted definitions, of KM are quoted or referred to, the complex conceptual and epistemological aspects of, for example, the meanings of and relationships between data, information, knowledge, expertise, know-how and wisdom, which are often confused or ignored altogether in much of the literature of KM, are beyond the scope of this article (but see, for example, McGarry (1993) and Badenoch et al. (1994) for interesting discussions of these topics). Although terms like ``knowledge economy'', ``knowledge worker'' and ``knowledge management'' have been in circulation for a considerable time, there appears still to be no real consensus of opinion about how, and to what extent, KM differs clearly from and/or represents an advance or improvement on established librarianship or, more specifically, information management or information resources management theory and practice (see Drucker,1967; 1969; Machlup, 1980; Svieby and Lloyd, 1987). There are also differing views about both the validity of the conceptual foundation and framework so far developed for KM and the claims made for it as a major paradigm shift in the theory and practice of information resources management and its credibility as an approach to the management of human and intellectual resources in organisations. Some commentators have been inclined to dismiss KM as yet This article is based in part of a paper presented at the 3rd British-Nordic Conference on Library and Information Studies in Boras, Sweden, 12-14 April Ê 1999.

The author Brendan Loughridge is Lecturer at the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. Keywords Knowledge based systems, Training, Librarians, Information management Abstract This paper reviews some recent professional and academic publications on aspects of the theory and practice of knowledge management, with particular reference to the curriculum of professional education for library and information management and the career roles and prospects of information professionals. Some commentators dismiss knowledge management as a fad; others view it as a major paradigm shift in the management and exploitation of ``intellectual capital''. It is concluded that many aspects of knowledge management practice bear a close resemblance to wellestablished practices in librarianship and information management. However, the emphasis by knowledge management theorists and practitioners on the importance of knowledge elicitation and knowledge creation, groupwork and team work, greater involvement in organisational strategy development and support and IT may require greater attention to the personality, motivation and career aspirations of potential entrants to the profession in order to prepare them better for widerranging, multi-role careers. Electronic access The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at New Library World Volume 100 . Number 1151 . 1999 . pp. 245±253 # MCB University Press . ISSN 0307-4803


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