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Question: more often than not km practitioners find themselves facing an...

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More often than not, KM practitioners find themselves facing an organization that is convinced they need KM but cannot say why. In one large business unit, the stakeholders repeatedly insisted that knowledge sharing was blocked and no one knew whom to turn to for expert advice. They were convinced that “KM issues” were preventing them from carrying out one of the major mandates that was to assess the environmental health of a particularly sensitive area. Upon conducting an audit, the results quickly aggregated into one very strong theme: that of information management. Most respondents felt that they were great at sharing knowledge but they just could not get their hands on the data and information they needed. Some data sets were found to be over fifty years old but still critically needed to do trend analyses—and these old data sets were on a medium that no one had a reader for. One was eventually tracked down in an archive and the data was transferred to more modern media for preservation. A second data set was sitting in card- board boxes because the scientist in charge of the project had retired. Actually, the boxes were originally in the scientist’s basement and his family contacted the company when he passed away, asking if they would like the boxes. The only drawback: the encryption key needed to decode the data was nowhere to be found. A Library and Information Studies intern had developed the key as a classification and finding aid fifteen years previously, and no one had thought to make a backup of the key.

Question: What problems are shown by the knowledge audit? What potential action plan does this particular organization need take?

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