It seems like a lot to tackle. Almost on par with "Life, the Universe, and Everything." So points for ambition. Of course, some points will be deducted when I start to cut corners in order to keep this post manageable. In casting such a wide net, and then tailoring it down, what I really want to focus on is the central role of responsibility - or what I sometimes refer to as the "R-Word". This makes it feel suitably unpopular, even threatening. I guess I could even call it "R-Rated" which just makes matters worse. This would normally send me... Read more →

Prologue I have a bad habit of tackling unnecessarily big topics at inopportune times. After a year of near-complete silence, I will make a gesture in that direction once more. As this is a particularly bodacious topic, I suspect that I will be coming back to it several times both with revisions to this post and with follow-on posts. But in just the same way as applies whenever you are confronted with seemingly overwhelming challenges, the best way to start is to start. One of my less welcome aphorisms goes something like this: Think about something long enough and you... Read more →

There is no shortage of material written on the nature of the book. The accelerating growth in eBooks seems to have excited even more discussion just as I remember the appearance of the Web did some twenty years ago. A couple of chance occurrences have brought me back to this subject. And I think that with this revisiting, I have stumbled onto a surprisingly clear take on the topic and perhaps even a useful one. Recently I was reminded of a specific event that very neatly distills the nature of the book for us. I picks up on a small... Read more →

A question that comes up from time to time, and indeed one I pose to myself quite regularly, is how does the investment in industry event participation pay off. The first answer is usually that it is a way to generate business leads. This is true but it is also superficial. If that is the only goal then there are definitely more effective ways to proceed which are also less taxing. So what then might be another potential benefit that we could use to justify the investment of time and energy that is called for? At the recent Intelligent Content... Read more →

Some recent inquiries, which I had initially seen as separate, have been converging at several points. These inquiries have included projects delving deeply into the application of Lean Manufacturing principles to business functions historically unaccustomed to this level of rigour (or perhaps any level of rigour). These inquiries have also included professional development excursions into the deployment of Agile Scrum software development practices. And these inquiries have included the digging up and re-reading some of older papers marking out the emergence of a loose collection of ideas that travels under the banner of Knowledge Management (KM). The point of convergence... Read more →

This is a picture of the London Library after being damaged, rather substantially, during the blitz. I came across this image when re-reading The History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. When you take the time to consider this picture you are struck by how incredible it is and how much it can tell us about the nature of books. This is exactly what Manguel does. We can do the same right now. For starters, we see one of the features of printed books that is always noteworthy and that is their robustness. Certainly many books would have been obliterated by... Read more →

It is not uncommon for discussions of content management (CM) to drift over into discussions of knowledge management (KM). And no, these are not only discussions in which I happen to be participating. In fact, it is interesting to note when these discussions typically do happen - whether I am present or not. Rather oddly, they tend to happen when discussing the goals and benefits of content management with senior business executives. Many of the usual garlands that we hang around the neck of CM, often bespeckled with promises of dollars saved here and staff positions reduced there, don't seem... Read more →

There are some structures that seem impossible to escape. The Data – Information – Knowledge hierarchy seems to be one of them. This representational structure is one that depicts information standing above data and knowledge standing on top of both. Sometimes it is finished with wisdom as a mystical cherry-on-top but I generally prefer to avoid such heart-warming embellishments. Encounters with this Data – Information - Knowledge pyramid, as I sometimes term it, generally fall into one of two categories. It is often invoked as a given – something that is self-evidently true and of obvious utility. Just as often,... Read more →

Many will be familiar with the idea of the seven liberal arts and even with their division into a foundational three arts (Trivium or three roads) of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and then the four arts (Quadrivium or four roads) of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. In medieval Europe, they comprised the core subjects of higher learning and provided the preparation for those who would move onto studies in law, medicine and theology (at that time the main “professions”). I have been thinking about what the modern equivalent of the seven liberal arts might look like – what core subjects... Read more →

For various reasons, I have again found myself thinking about the interesting dynamic that exists between experience and education as two separate, and quite distinct, domains. As a measure of the difference between the two, experience by its very nature is highly situational and particular, while education, at least in principle, reaches towards the more universal and the more general. Experience, accumulated over time, ultimately provides much of the material that education seeks to convey in a condensed, accessible and reusable form. Education, in turn, informs experience by setting it into a broader context and supplying tools that ideally make... Read more →