April 20, 2004

How do you think about knowledge?

James Fallows applied an interesting (and amusing) distinction to some current knowledge management software in last Sunday's New York Times Business Section Techno Files: Humans vs. Computers, Again. But There's Help for Our Side.

The underlying intellectual question about knowledge management is whether people actually think of knowledge as a big heap of laundry just out of the dryer, or as neatly folded pajamas, shirts and so on, all placed in the proper drawers. The "big heap" theory lies behind some of the programs: we don't care where or how things are stored; we just want to find certain pairs of socks - or P.D.F. files - exactly when we need them. The "folded PJ's" theory guides a variety of programs that let you mark information as it shows up - for instance, tagging an article you know you want to refer to later, when shopping for a new car. Brains work both ways, and the ideal K.M. software will, too.
Posted by Bill at April 20, 2004 5:35 PM