ASIST K-Blog Panel

Friday, November 19, 2004

Christina's slides, in outline form

This might actually be more useful for some. I'll still try to get them up somewhere in PDF or PPT. This post will mutate until I'm happy with the final format.
Blogs for Personal Knowledge Management (PKM)
Christina K. Pikas

  • What is PKM?
  • Why Blogs?
  • Nuts and Bolts of Blogs for PKM

What is PKM?
  • Taking personal responsibility for lifelong learning and organization of ideas
  • Requires individual ownership and motivation (see note 1, below)
How is PKM different from personal information management (PIM)?
  • Facts
  • Documents
  • Addresses (URL and geographic)
  • Connections
  • Analysis
  • Conversations
  • Ideas
  • Selection
  • Sense Making

How is PKM different from KM?
Organizational KM: Unlike personal KM (see definition [below]), which centres on the individual, organizational KM depends upon an enterprise-wide strategic decision to actively manage knowledge through a range of processes, tools and people. Personal KM: A set of concepts, disciplines and tools for organizing often previously unstructured knowledge, to help individuals take responsibility for what they know and who they know.
From European Guide to good Practice in Knowledge Management Part 5: KM Terminology (

  • Organizational/Enterprise
  • Doing for
  • Top down
  • Knowledge as an object that can be identified, stored, used out of context
  • Public
  • Personal/Individual
  • Enabling
  • Bottom up
  • Knowledge as part of your habitat in your organization’s information ecology Straddles public/private domains (see note 2 )

Why Blogs? What I mean by blogs
Blogs for PKM are defined here as internal, enterprise-supported individual efforts

From: Frederik Wacka, Corporate Blogging Blog, August 10, 2004, (see note 3 )

PKM blog posts may be as simple as a link, or may be part of a long collection of analytical essays
Seven Blog Posting Formats
  • Link-only
  • Link blurb
  • Brief remark
  • List
  • Short article
  • Long article
  • Series postings
From: Amy Gahran, Contentious, September 22, 2004,

Why Blogs? - Voice
  • Blogs are inherently personal
  • Encourages contributions from lurkers
  • Low technological barrier concentrates effort on content, not graphic design or presentation
  • Informal style allows personality to show – author chooses tone, style

Why Blogs? – Reflective Thinking
  • Like more traditional journaling, posting can require reflective thinking, distillation of ideas (see note 4 )
  • Practice writing for later publication – reflect and polish
  • Exploration of new research areas or testing of new ideas with low or no risk
  • Encourage a higher level of "information engagement" (see note 5 )

Why Blogs? – Annotations
  • Documenting links encountered via blog posting does more than provide access
    • Selection
    • Annotation with analysis
    • Added context – in time, relationship to other items, meaning to field
  • As part of Bates’ "berry picking process" (see note 6 )
    • To place street signs along the path
    • Berries can be saved
    • Path can be retraced (reverse) chronologically
  • Nonlinear information seeking processes can be traced via category filtering (see note 8 , should be 7, appeared as 8 in presentation)

Nuts & Bolts – Organizational Culture
  • Sharing or knowledge hoarding
  • Management support
  • IT support
  • Policies (see note 7 , should be 8, appeared as 7 in presentation)
    • Gentle but firm guidelines
    • Time allowed
    • IP considerations (may need access control)
    • Levels of access/privacy, use of information

Nuts & Bolts – The software
  • Post via
    • E-mail
    • Web form – from anywhere by VPN?
    • Bookmarklet
  • Ability to customize look and feel
  • Ability to add new blogs quickly
  • Nice-to-have items
    • Levels of access
    • Ability to post files (drawings, recordings, etc.)
    • Ability to cache page views
    • Company specific meta-data assignment

Nuts & Bolts - Access and Preservation
  • Search
    • An enterprise search may take care of this
    • Changing the post template to add meta-data may help
  • Categorization
    • NOT assigned from above or default, assigned on the fly
    • Crosswalks to existing taxonomies may be helpful
  • Archives

Nuts & Bolts ROI, Elevator Talk, Why Us?
With such a personal focus, what does the organization have to gain? (brainstormed ideas)
  • Very functional tools are free or are inexpensive. More integrated and advanced tools are available to plug into other CMS or KM suites… low bar to show return.
  • Efficiency of knowledge workers
    • Less time spent finding what they already know
    • Writing activities can be done in pieces
  • Better networking – search across to find someone with a good idea
  • Organizational learning / distributed apprenticeship
  • PKM blogging is an inexpensive partial solution to a complex problem
  • Blogs can be an important part of an organization’s tool kit – help knowledge workers get more out of their reading, meetings, and thought

These and other relevant links can be found on our collaborative blog: (you are here!)

1. For a reading list on PKM see: back
2. See Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker, "Blogging thoughts personal publication as an online research tool," chapter in SKIKT-Researchers' Conference 2002: Researching ICTs in Context, Oslo, Norway: InterMedia, 2002, pp.256-9. back
3. See also Frederik Wacka, Beginner’s Guide to Corporate Blogging, back
4. For more on blogging and reflective practice see Sebastian Fiedler. "Personal Webpublishing as a reflective conversational tool for self-organized learning." In T. Burg, ed. BlogTalks. Vienna: Zentrum für wissenschaftliche Forschung und Dienstleistung , 2004. 190-216. (draft available$963 , accessed 11/4/2004) or P. Hernandez-Ramos, "Web Logs and Online Discussions As Tools to Promote Reflective Practice." Journal of Interactive Online Learning 3, no. 1 (June 2004). Available: (accessed 11/3/2004).back
5. Thomas H. Davenport, "Information Behavior and Culture." In Information Ecology: Mastering the Information and Knowledge Environment. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Page 93 has a graphic demonstrating "a hierarchy of information engagement" from read/view through simulate/live.back
6. Marcia J. Bates. "The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface." Online Review v13 n5 (1989): 407-24. back
7. There are several good discussions of corporate blogging policies that are generally intended for external blogs. A very recent one is from Charlene Li of Forrester Research, (accessed 11/9/2004) back
8. In fact, the information-seeking behavior described in Allen Foster, "A nonlinear model of information-seeking behavior" JASIST v55 n3 (Febrary 1, 2004): 228-237, speaks directly to professionals doing interdisciplinary research. back



  • Hi Christina,

    Your presentation seems to concentrate on the positive aspects. Blogs make for poor repositories, dialog is difficult, conversations are distibuted and difficult to follow, the serial nature of blogs means it is difficult to combine, collaborate anneal and refractor ideas.

    Voicing may help encourage diversity, but it often works against collaborative exploration, knowledge construction and community inquiry.

    Personal responsibility for knowledge may be encouraging the wrong activities - what we really need are collective practices, dialog, collaborative writing and creative abrasion to raise interesting questions, test assumptions and gather patterns.

    Hey just another view!

    By Blogger Denham, at 10:24 PM  

  • Thanks for commenting. I think blogs do have a place in a larger toolkit or on a larger menu of tools to be chose a la carte for the purpose. For ongoing lifelong learning and Pkm, I think blogs are superior to database systems.

    I've heard a lot of pushback from k-workers (anecdotally of course) on being "assimilated." There's a concern about loss of control over the information/knowledge once it gets removed from the user and placed in a repository. Wikis answer some of this, because the user still has control, but the information is freed (like a butterfly) instead of caged at a specific location for future use (like the goat in Jurassic Park?).

    Also, I think you're right about the difficulty in seeing the conversations within organizations (no Technorati or bloglines). A good enterprise search might help??

    By Blogger Christina, at 9:09 AM  

  • I just wanted to thank you for posting this -- i'm writting my dissertation about using weblogs for communities of practice, and this is very useful. It seems to be pretty difficult finding out about k-blogs, but maybe i'm just still looking in the wrong places.

    Thanks again!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:43 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:17 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home