Knowledge Management

This is something I always wondered about. We have what we call the “reference file” here in our library. In this database are tips on how to find answers to commonly asked questions – but not necessarily the answers. Michael Casey has a very interesting post over at LibraryCrunch about this topic:

Librarians are, in general, not good at knowledge management. We fail to adequately capture the knowledge we create so that it can be used over and over again, either by librarians or library customers.

I sometimes think it’s a job security thing – and if it’s not that it’s a fear that the wrong answer will be documented and then we’ll all know who to blame. These are silly concerns – I doubt anyone would get fired for giving one wrong answer – and if you’re about to be fired I doubt that the fact that you can answer a specific question is going to make your manager keep you on – but this is the way of the library world.


  1. I certainly hope no one would be fired for giving a wrong answer!
    I hope I didn’t insult anyone when I said what you quoted. I think librarians are excellent researchers and that we provide top quality customer service. I just wish we (myself included) were better at capturing and reusing the information that we go to such lengths to find.

  2. I wasn’t offended – I think it’s true and I think (hope) most librarians would agree with you – it’s just that old habits die hard.

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