Knowledge Management

Delicious II

Yahoo sunset 2010

That image from last December.

And after the “decision” to sunset, what? Rumour and speculation. And … a service that began to seem like a ghost town, as far as my network went.

So a little while ago (15 March), I moved over to Pinboard, decoupling, at last, the feeds for my Delicious account and this blog. Maybe Delicious will gain a good new owner and there’ll be life after Yahoo!. But I’m not banking on it.

Pinboard is reliable, fast and lithe. It’s incredibly easy to use and responsive to search. I’m using it far more than I had been Delicious — because it’s so quick to come back at me with the goods. But I miss the social, the enhanced chance of discovery. In Sticking With Delicious, Paul covered well the reasons why one might stay: ‘what’s always made Delicious most useful to me is its network pages in general, and mine in particular … [Pinboard] has a network, but you can only see your own, and friend finding is basically impossible’. (You can always ‘enter someone’s nick and see if they exist’ — The Post-Delicious World, of course, and there’s the independent Delicious → Pinboard username mapper.) Or, as Matt Haughey put it, ‘my Pinboard feed is personally useful, but socially uninteresting. And therein lies the rub … As a personal archive tool, it’s pretty impressive, as a shared space to find interesting bookmarks, it’s problematic. In the end, I’ll likely continue using Delicious to track bookmarks with Pinboard as a backup/archive tool that I’ll gladly continue to pay for’.

Well, time came to move on. And in truth, my network had mostly migrated to a number of other scattered sites, services and feeds.

(Previously, as they say, in Delicious (I), I picked out this by Paulsnagged via my Tumblr:

This fracturing of the network is a huge loss, no matter whether all the people you’re following wind up on the same service you do or otherwise.


Pinboard support is also fast — and personal (Maciej is patient, even with my stumblings). And I really like the way it aspires to archive not just pages but dependencies (find the post, ‘Bookmark Archives That Don’t’, dated 25 Nov, 2010: ‘in 2010 I don't believe it makes any sense to try to archive bookmarks if you’re not willing to resolve dependencies’). It’s sometimes proved better at this than Evernote.

Moving over, importing all my data from Delicious, was straightforward.

You can find me on Pinboard, or subscribe to my Pinboard feed

Thomas Vander Wal at St Paul's

A great pleasure yesterday to have Thomas speak at St Paul's — on 'Going Social'. A talk written for us, but anticipating Thomas' FoWA talk tomorrow, it was a great overview of social software and social networking and, no surprise, of social tagging. It meshed with much of what we're now trying to do at St Paul's, from our programme for our first year students (13 year-olds) with its introduction to online, collaborative working, to the work throughout the school on social software (now fully available to students).

Folksonomy Triad        Dual Folksonomy Triad       

Those attending the talk may want to explore further some of its more technical aspects — eg, folksonomy triads. Thomas has a number of key talks and blog postings online: Folksonomy (Online Information, 2005), Folksonomy Definition and Wikipedia (November, 2005), Understanding Folksonomy: Tagging that Works presentation posted (September, 2006), Understanding Folksonomy (d.construct, 2006).

Given the current impact of Facebook, it's important to gain a perspective, see its origins and limitations (specifically, but also in the context of the general state of social networking sites — let us extract our data; give us portability; let us refind stuff)

P1012102b       P1012101

and remember (or discover) that quite un-Facebook-like sites are ... social. I'm grateful to Thomas for setting out all of this and more. Like him, and like Demos, I place a lot of value in social bookmarking sites (such as for educational use.


David Weinberger:

I do tend to believe that the Web touches us so deeply because it more clearly expresses what we’ve known all along. That was the point of Small Pieces Loosely Joined.

Tim Spalding:

Learning and knowledge, at least important learning and knowledge, are a conversation. … The education of scholar is an ascent through this conversation. We start with encyclopedias and straightforward books of facts—books that talk at us; certain books. We move to monographs, which seem at first like books of facts, but which we soon learn are really "arguments." We learn to write papers that are arguments too—"Don't just say what you know, have a thesis!"

At some point we discover academic journals, and our eyes are opened to just how complex and contentious and uncertain this certain thing is. And, if we go on long enough, we graduate to conferences, and we learn that knowledge is an actual conversation, usually with alcohol.

Conversations work because, at their best, they know more and produce more than their members. They work because the knowledge is in the conversation. It happens in the very interplay of ideas—asserting, contesting, extending, simplifying and complexifying the dizzying whirl of fact and opinion, creative and synthetic, smart and dumb, right and wrong, from this angle and that. Literature works like this too, but can be even more meaningless without "conversational" context—genre, allusion and imitation and so forth.

So, quiet or not, the library is a buzzing cocktail party—better and better the more people are there and the more they interact. It is already "hive" this session promises. It is, in point of fact, very much like the web.

And on libraries and their catalogues:

… the greatest thing the library has to offer—has ever had to offer—is not the relative fixity and contested reliability some now stridently set against the web, but the bubbling river of conversation it embraces.

… in finding books, we ascend through a conversation. The library catalog is too often an encyclopedia, talking at you. It's useful in the first staged of discovery. But as we ascend through a topic we gravitate to more conversational forms of discovery—reviews, articles, footnotes, bibliographies and the recommendations of others. And, I think, we leave the catalog behind. For some things, like finding new fiction, almost everyone skips the catalog right off, and reads reviews and talks to friends.

I find all that to be very good. (As is Spalding's footnoted point about David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous: "Digitization has kicked things up a notch—made us more aware of the arbitrariness of categorization, the necessity of thinking for yourself and the value of conversations—but these are old lessons.")

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Messiness and Education

Preparing for Microlearning 2007

Back in 1999, the CEO of CISCO said, ‘The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail look like a rounding error’ (John Chambers at the COMDEX '99 conference; cited here). Eight years on, the killer app has not yet appeared and this despite massive investment in ICT within schools (see my earlier post). 

For some time now, the best voices in the world of e-learning have been saying something else. In 1998, Marc Eisenstadt was arguing (see his summary post, Show-time on Death Of E-Learning), 

… the Web even at its most ideal is a pretty awful medium for studying and undertaking course work. … Even when the interfaces are stunning, and connections are smooth and ultra-fast, we need to remind ourselves that we are still, after all, only looking at a computer screen. … there are creative things we can do with those stunning interfaces that put books to shame: we can motivate and empower learners, reach disabled students, simulate existing and as-yet-unimagined worlds, forge new relationships, create communities, and launch whole new endeavours of study. All of this is wonderful, but we mustn’t let it go to our heads. ‘Studying courses on the Web’, in our experience, is a sad misconception.

And in 2004 (KMi: Chief Scientist: ‘E-Learning is Dead’): 

In a presentation of “what works”, “what fails”, and “what’s next” … Prof Eisenstadt listed E-Learning itself as a prominent item in the “fails” column. [He was] equally dismissive of “Learning Management Systems”, “Learning Objects”, “Virtual Learning Environments” … Items in the “what works” column included star teachers, social networking, simulations, peer-to-peer networks, certain “banned” games, and tasks that engendered creativity and content ownership directly in learners … The greatest challenges, argued Eisenstadt, were to “attain results at large scale, maintain a degree of warmth and humanity that is often lost in digital media, and ensure the buy-in of the highly over-stretched teaching workforce.”

A WSJ piece of 2001, No Substitute: the internet does NOT change everything, explored the criticisms of e-learning (distance- and online-learning) voiced by Marc Eisenstadt, John Seely Brown, Donald Norman, Alvin Toffler and Seymour Papert, and then commented on what online learning can do for education: 

  • ‘make learning more interactive and more interesting than standard lectures and textbooks’
  • ‘In fact, by making it possible to “customize” curriculums to suit the needs of individual children, online education could invert some of the main assumptions of traditional education. “The key thing is that you don’t have to have the same curriculum for everyone,” says Seymour Papert, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has studied the interaction of kids and computers for decades. “It is being able to take charge of learning and feel that you’re in control, that makes the difference.” ’
  • help enable ‘lifelong learning’
  • provide access to ‘distributed knowledge’

Today, we need to pay renewed attention to what Marc Eisenstadt, John Seely Brown, Donald Norman, Alvin Toffler, Seymour Papert and others have been saying. 

And, of course, it is not only educators and educational theorists who are saying things which can teach teachers how to make better use of ICT. As we move into the age of everyware, designers are no longer promoting seamlessness as the desirable goal of ubiquitous computing. Seamfulness is the new meme: it’s not always good to seek to tidy away mess. 

There is a lesson here for teachers. Seamless, monolithic virtual learning environments are what systematisers should be dreaming of, not educators. 

Recently, Dave Winer, commenting on the significance and value of Twitter, wrote (Twitter as coral reef), 

Calling a technology a coral reef is the highest compliment I can pay.

Evolving e-learning within educational institutions is to seed and cultivate a coral reef. It’s what Dave Snowden meant when he said (quoted by Euan): ‘You can’t manage knowledge but you can create a knowledge ecology’. It’s what John Seely Brown means when he speaks of ‘learning ecologies’. 

To achieve this, to put digital technology to good use in education, requires, of course, that schools learn. To adapt John Seely Brown’s question (ibid.), substituting ‘schools’ for ‘universities’: schools are institutions of learning but are they, themselves, learning institutions? 

In truth, as John Naughton, writing in the Observer earlier this year, has said, 

Our schools are providing ICT training, whereas what is needed is ICT education.

This year at Microlearning, I would like to explore further some of these issues.

Edging the enterprise forward

Thinking about schools, enterprises and intranets, I wanted to jot down here some things I've been reading in the last few days that make a lot of sense to me.

Headshift (1):

I am sure organisations will eventually be able to create, within their online spaces, the sort of interaction, collaboration and sharing that takes place in the "wild world" of the Internet. Until then, we just have to help them make the most of the tools they have (or get) and provide them ideas on how to, slowly, start rethinking their internal processes, culture and view of the world. 

That is one of the reasons developing the system is just one of the steps in the work we do. Engagement is the other big one.

Headshift (2 — Lee, 'Last week, a group of us at Headshift spent a day at the Blogging 4 Business 2007 conference'): 

In addition to the tools, success is also about: 

  1. concrete business use cases
  2. engagement & people support
  3. a connected infrastructure

This is why we focus primarily on use cases, and the mapping between a task and information analysis of these use cases and the behavioural characteristics of the tools, in order to find the right blend of social modes in each project we undertake. During the session, we announced that we are about to open source the use case library that we use internally to capture these examples, so hopefully this will help others get to grips with the many practical applications that currently exist for enterprise social tools.

Blogging 4 Business (via Lee's post and covering the same conference): 

Got to applaud Bryant for saying all this technology is really all about the people at the end of the keyboard. "With social tools, you get immediate payback because you use lightweight tools to organise information in a way that means something to you." Example - social tagging (picking your own keywords to identify and structure the information you post, not having to adhere to a hierarchy picked by those know-nothings in the IT department).

Representative of BT asks if all this new stuff means "the end of internal communications" as we know it (and I feel fine). Paraphrasing Lee Bryant: "Every generation of technologists see themselves as Luke Skywalker zooming in to destroy the Evil Empire" - but it's more about "layers".

Mike Butcher asks how the existing knowledge in company intranets can be adapted to new wikis. Fitch says we'll all move to "using the web to create communities of collaboration" - from a situation where companies have relied on static intranets for the last eight years.

Bryant says out-of-date material will simply naturally "fade in to the background".

Perfect Path (again, same conference): 

Q: MB: Lots of companies have huge intranets - should we just wipe them away?
DF: very familiar with this - there’s a huge wealth of material that’s useful but just couldn’t be found - so we did some work about improving search and findability but also looking at using lighter infrastructure to start again, which will involve some pain, people will have to go back and look at relevance for example, but that change is going to deliver the benefit that we’re moving towards creating communities and connecting people rather than just producing static content.

Q: GC: How do you deal with info that becomes out of date?
A:LB: different approaches - the most interesting is that in a mature implementation anything acquires its own context, tags etc so out of date stuff falls down as sediment in these systems. So then you need some sort of review system, but it’s more about letting more timely stuff come to the fore.
DF: it’s also so much easier to keep your stuff up to date, even for lawyers :), so just using lighter tools helps a lot.

Many things link to/flow from all this, but there's a core here — about people, concrete use cases and change-through-engagement — that I wanted to highlight and remember. 

And, to round off on the intranet theme, this from Read/WriteWeb

Finally I mentioned intranets - and how ContentExchange will integrate or complement them. Mark [Suster, Koral founder/CEO and now in charge of Salesforce ContentExchange] quoted me a stat from Forrester that only 44% of people can find what they want on a corporate intranet, whereas 87% can find what they want on the Internet. So ContentExchange will help raise that 44% figure, says Mark. survey

The team have blogged today about a survey they're inviting users to take:

As mentioned recently in this blog, we’re working on a lot of improvements for We’ve just posted a survey as a way to get feedback and opinions from you, the users. We want to make sure that we’re focusing on the right things, fixing what’s busted and not busting the stuff that already works. It’s not very long as surveys go, and hopefully it’s not too über-corporate. Thanks for taking the time to tell us what you think. We’ll be posting a summary of the results a few weeks after the survey closes.

I value greatly and use it … a lot (for which I've had my leg pulled more than once). I agree with Alan Dean who asked (comment on the blog posting cited above) that the survey be amended somewhat ('For example, on the first question I would like to select a "Research" or "Reference" option, but none of the available choices are really descriptive of this, the major way that I use your site.'), but whether this is done or not I hope lots of users of will take the five minutes required to complete the survey.

Right at the end you do get to an option where you can submit "other" points. These were mine:

1) 'Search' definitely needs to be improved — it needs to be quicker (searching within my own bookmarks for a term is often very slow and frequently results in a blank page), and pages generally need to load faster.

2) I'd also be interested if you made it possible to save a copy of a web page (as ma.gnolia does).

3) My data, and that of my network, really ought to be integrated (as and when I want it to be) with the web searches I perform through (eg) Google or Yahoo!. This is a great and obvious "gap".

4) The social aspect of needs to continue to evolve. For example, I'd welcome something like a network/open notebook stream where I could be scribbling brief notes like 'Anyone else puzzled by this?', etc. I find the notes we are entering often strain towards doing this, but they're a bit like a conversation in a soundproof room and (even then) you don't generally "hear" the replies, assuming there are any.

I'm sure that in a day or two I'll realise I would like to finesse these comments somewhat (they've received minimal touching up as posted here), but even Wiltshire has its fast currents and I'm currently speeding along … 

Above all, I want to shout from the roof top because we live in a time when knowledge can be readily shared — and that's exciting. Getting excited about and around ideas and knowledge ought to be a fundamental trait of our culture, and I find my network on indispensable as a way of unearthing new, challenging and unexpected ideas. Steven Johnson wrote:

Thanks to the connective nature of hypertext, and the blogosphere's exploratory hunger for finding new stuff, the web is the greatest serendipity engine in the history of culture. It is far, far easier to sit down in front of your browser and stumble across something completely brilliant but surprising than it is walking through a library looking at the spines of books.

A great part of the appeal of for me is that it is a semi-guided (my network — absolutely crucial) knowledge discovery machine that again and again surprises me with new material and the interconnectedness of it all. It's a search engine that finds me things I hadn't yet thought of looking for.

How best to develop to let this all live even more fully? Twitter may or may not be rightly described as microblogging, but I want to microblog around knowledge. Will Yahoo! (this last week making great developments with their APIs and email) be brave enough to develop to allow this ecology to grow accordingly? (I've long given up on the bookmarks extension for Firefox — and have been amazed by the continuing flow of emails about the various instantiations of this add-on and the problems surrounding these.) is a fantastic innovation, Yahoo! — look after it!

Exponential information growth

On 1 January last year I posted about information trends. I had been reading 'How Much Information? 2003' (School of Information & Management Systems, Berkeley), led to that study by Alex Barnett. (There's a summary of the 2003 findings here.)

Now comes a new study, The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010, also found through Alex — The Expanding Digital Universe. These points are from the executive summary:

YouTube, a company that didn’t exist just a few years ago, hosts 100 million video streams a day. Experts say more than a billion songs a day are shared over the Internet in MP3 format. Digital bits. London's 200 traffic surveillance cameras send 64 trillion bits a day to the command data center. Chevron's CIO says his company accumulates data at the rate of 2 terabytes – 17,592,000,000,000 bits – a day. TV broadcasting is going all-digital by the end of the decade in most countries. More digital bits. …

  • In 2006, the amount of digital information created, captured, and replicated was 1,288 x 1018 bits. In computer parlance, that's 161 exabytes or 161 billion gigabytes … This is about 3 million times the information in all the books ever written.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, the information added annually to the digital universe will increase more than six fold from 161 exabytes to 988 exabytes.
  • Three major analog to digital conversions are powering this growth – film to digital image capture, analog to digital voice, and analog to digital TV.
  • Images, captured by more than 1 billion devices in the world, from digital cameras and camera phones to medical scanners and security cameras, comprise the largest component of the digital universe. They are replicated over the Internet, on private organizational networks, by PCs and servers, in data centers, in digital TV broadcasts, and on digital projection movie screens.
  • IDC predicts that by 2010, while nearly 70% of the digital universe will be created by individuals, organizations (businesses of all sizes, agencies, governments, associations, etc.) will be responsible for the security, privacy, reliability, and compliance of at least 85% of that same digital universe.
  • This rapidly expanding responsibility will put pressure on existing computing operations and drive organizations to develop more information-centric computing architectures.
  • IT managers will see the span of their domains considerably enlarged – as VoIP phones come onto corporate networks, building automation and security migrates to IP networks, surveillance goes digital, and RFID and sensor networks proliferate.
  • Information security and privacy protection will become a boardroom concern as organizations and their customers become increasingly tied together in real-time. This will require the implementation of new security technologies in addition to new training, policies, and procedures.
  • IDC estimates that today, 20% of the digital universe is subject to compliance rules and standards, and about 30% is potentially subject to security applications.
  • The community with access to corporate data will become more diffuse – as workers become more mobile, companies implement customer self service, and globalization diversifies customer and partner relationships and elongates supply chains.
  • The growth of the digital universe is uneven. Emerging economies – Asia Pacific without Japan and the rest of the world outside North America and Western Europe – now account for 10% of the digital universe, but will grow 30%- 40% faster than mature economies.
  • In 2007 the amount of information created will surpass, for the first time, the storage capacity available.

This incredible growth of the digital universe means more than simply the fact that as individuals we will be facing information explosion on an unprecedented scale. It has implications for organizations concerning privacy, security, intellectual property protection, content management, technology adoption, information management, and data center architecture.

The growth and heterogeneous character of the bits in the digital universe mean that organizations worldwide, large and small, whose IT infrastructures transport, store, secure, and replicate these bits, have little choice but to employ ever more sophisticated techniques for information management, security, search, and storage.

Ray Ozzie

This (which I got to via Jon Udell) is from 2003:

Many years ago, in the mid 70's at University of Illinois, I was fortunate enough to have been touched by something called PLATO - an acronym for Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations. At the time, PLATO was a mainframe-based time sharing system with about a thousand custom multimedia terminals - that is, 512x512 graphics, touch screen pointing device, synchronized microfiche and audio, and "always on" connectivity - quite an achievement for the time, particularly given that I was still using coding sheets and Hollerith cards to do classwork.

Although primarily intended as a computer-assisted teaching system, PLATO evolved into the first large scale "online community", with eMail, online discussions, instant messaging, chat rooms, remote screen sharing, and massive multiplayer gaming. We established long-distance relationships for work and for love; we balanced the duality of our real and virtual lives. In short, the tens or hundreds of thousands of us who had a chance to experience PLATO in those days were afforded a preview of what was to come in the Internet era - an era of global ubiquitous communications and interaction.

As many of us who had spent years immersed in the PLATO environment left and entered the "real world", we were shocked and dismayed to find a world lacking electronic connection. And as I entered the business world, it simply made no sense to me that computers were being used solely for computing and "data processing"; the collaborative online work environment that I'd taken for granted, that I'd used day in and day out, was simply missing in action. Our work lives are all about interpersonal connections, our businesses processes are structured into connections amongst people and systems that must be coordinated. What better use of technology than to help people to connect?

And so, for most of my life since that time, it has been my goal to explore what lies at the intersection between people, organizations, and technology. To attempt to utilize technology - to mold it, to shape it into a form such that it can help organizations to achieve a greater "return on connection" from employee, customer, and partner relationships, and to help individuals to strengthen the bonds between themselves and those with whom they interact - online. Because - empirically - collaborative technology has substantive value, in reducing the cost of coordination, in providing shared awareness across differences in space and time.

The way that I explore is to build products, and to see how they are used. To see what works, and what doesn't. To listen, to interact, to refine. Because cooperative work exists at the intersection between people, organizations, and technology, collaborative systems are truly fascinating: in order to serve people effectively, technologists must, for example, understand social dynamics, social networks, human factors. …

The bottom line to "why?" To create real value in a dimension that I passionately believe in.

I'm staying out of the Lotus Notes quagmire ('We spent years and years at Lotus trying to convince people of the "higher order" value of collaborative processes, sharing, and KM.  And I learned the hard way that fighting what appear to be natural organizational and social dynamics is very tough'), but am just recording here something I read today, found inspiring and really rather astonishing — not as much for its content as for how Ozzie traces the roots of his vision back to something he was working with in the mid-70s. It made me look out again his more famous posting about Live Clipboard:

I’ve been wondering, “what would it take to enable users themselves to wire-the-web”? … The world of the Web today is enabled by the power of a simple user model – Address/Go or Link, Back, Forward, Home. And certain “in-page” models have emerged from the ether: clicking the logo in the upper-left is Home, search in the upper-right, Legal/Corporate/Privacy/etc at the bottom. How we interact with shopping carts is now fairly standard. But each site is still in many ways like a standalone application. Data inside of one site is contained within a silo. Sure, we can cut and paste text string fragments from here to there, but the excitement on the web these days is all about “structured data” such as Contacts and Profiles, Events and Calendars, and Shopping Carts and Receipts, etc. And in most cases, the structured form of this data, which could be externalized as an XML item or a microformat, generally isn’t. It’s trapped inside the page, relegated to a pretty rendering.

So, where’s the clipboard of the web? Where’s the user model that would enable a user to copy and paste structured information from one website to another? Where’s the user model that would enable a user to copy and paste structured information from a website to an application running on a PC or other kind of device, or vice-versa? And finally, where’s the user model that would enable a user to “wire the web”, by enabling publish-and-subscribe scenarios web-to-web, or web-to-PC? …

I’d like to extend the clipboard user model to the web.

Of course, that was posted in March last year and since then everyone's been asking 'What happened to Live Clipboard?' and 'Where's Ozzie?'. We may have some answers to both these questions this year.

There's only so much partisan OS/platform war one can take. The really important question is that one about the read/write web: 'What would it take to enable users themselves to wire-the-web?'. I love the way Ozzie set that question in the context of 'the wild world of the web', mashups and all: 'mashups demonstrate how quickly a “mesh” can form when the process of wiring together components is made easy'.

The value in tags

My interest in Dave Sifry's State of the Blogosphere update of 1 May (previous post) lay primarily in the report that 'About 47% of all blog posts have non-default tags or categories associated with them'.

Joshua Porter, who gave us the lesson in a post last December, Learning more about Structured Blogging, writes now in The Lesson: tags aren’t like meta keyword tags because of the Lesson. Meta keyword tags provide no personal value whatsoever. All of their value is social. They’re for aggregation engines to find and tell other people about. In other words, they’re for getting attention only. tags, on the other hand, provide personal value each time someone uses them to recall a bookmark. … the Lesson might help us parse Dave’s statistics, especially this one: 47% of blog posts have tags or categories associated with them. If the Lesson is predictive, it would suggest that nearly all of that 47% would be categories that users are applying for their personal value on their blog, rather than tags applied for attention only. Any way to separate out those numbers, Dave?

Joshua Porter's new post is interesting in its own right (the second half is particularly valuable) and it links to a number of articles I hadn't come across before, including Rashmi Sinha on why tags are easier than categories:

… the beauty of tagging is that it taps into an existing cognitive process without adding add much cognitive cost. At the cognitive level, people already make local, conceptual observations. Tagging decouples these conceptual observations from concerns about the overall categorical scheme. The challenge for tagging systems is to then do what the brain does - intelligent computation to make sense of these local observations, and an efficient, predictable way to ensure findability.

Tagging is something I'm getting my students to use and I'm hoping that it will have a good future in our work. I take to heart Joshua's advice:

Just don’t try and make it the primary thing to do. Instead, make sure personal value precedes network value. Then you’ll have plenty to aggregate.

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Sharing and enticing

David Weinberger:

I continue to believe that for many companies the best path to blogging is by using them internally as a knowledge management tool. The dream of KM has been that people will write down what they know. KM regimes, however, have assumed they would have to discipline people into doing that. Blogs entice people to write down what they know and to share it widely. A project blog or a department blog not only surfaces and shares knowledge, it also makes it searchable and archives it. And once a company gets used to internal blogs, it's only natural (if anything about a corporation can be said to be natural) to open up some blogs to trusted customers and partners, bringing them into the intellectual bloodstream of the organization. And then why not open some blogs more widely? Thus companies inch their way into the blogosphere.

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