Did you ever not know how to spell ‘knowledge’? No, I don’t remember either. I do remember not understanding what ‘knowledge management’ was, initially confusing it with information management.
An early encounter was when I was asked to draft the organization’s knowledge management (KM) strategy. To ease myself into this new area of work, I made a list of words that I felt clarified the subject. To my amazement, many of the words I chose began with the letter ‘c’.
Conversation, connection, collaboration, consensus, community, cooperation, consistency, commitment, compliance, content, considerate, corporate, communication, compassion, coordinate, contacts, collate, creativity, culture, curiosity, change, capitalize ….
Today I add another word to this list, curation, from the Latin root, curare: to take care of.
I think there is a good fit with knowledge management, as ‘curation’ sits comfortably on the list of words shown above.
Here’s why I think it fits
Until recently, the term ‘curation’ related to art, with curators located in art galleries and museums. Today the meaning includes digital curation.
With most people having a smart phone, access to information online has never been easier. However, too much information can be as bad as too little, and how can you tell what is good or not so good. This is where the role of the curator comes in and where information can magically become knowledge.
The Knowledge Maverick site is an example of digital curation. I have used my experience to select experts who I respect, together with a range of resources that offer different and practical insights on the subject of knowledge-sharing.
the verb ‘to curate’ and its variants (curating, curated) are coinages of the twentieth century. … The current vogue for the idea of curating stems from a feature of modern life that is impossible to ignore: the proliferation and reproduction of ideas, raw data, processed information, images, disciplinary knowledge and material products that we are witnessing today.”
According to Orbist, a professional curator focuses on four functions:
- Selection of new work
- Contribution to art history
- The making of exhibitions
When applying Orbist’s idea of curation and its four functions to knowledge-sharing, it looks like this (the links are to pages on this site):
- Preserving knowledge (see Knowledge Transfer Questions)
- Applying what is already known in order to create new knowledge (see Knowledge Ecosystem)
- Contributing to community memory (see Corporate Memory), and to
- Creating exhibitions as a way of sharing hard-won knowledge and experience (see Bringing history to life)
Do you recognize the term ‘curation’ in relation to your own work?
Do you think curation supports knowledge-sharing?
Ten minutes in and again at 13 minutes into this video Orbist talks about the value of conversation. Very KM!