Communications of the Association for Information Systems


Reading recent knowledge management (KM) articles, one cannot escape the impression of a recycled concept. Definitions of the new field look remarkably like those of information systems, decision support systems, and even data management of the past. Since we believe KM is essentially new, a refined articulation of KM is desirable. Our point of departure is the observation that yesterday's data are today's information, which will become tomorrow's knowledge, and knowledge, in turn, recycles down the value chain back into information and into data. We outline a framework of KM that articulates the basic terms of this perpetual process. The proposed model defines operations and transformations of data-to-information, information-to-knowledge, and their reverse order. Such transformations correspond to a time dimension of past-present-future and resemble the process of abstraction. Based on our analysis, we conclude that knowledge management is truly a new idea, not a recycled concept.