Tuesday, November 17, 2020


Librarian's Lobby October 1999, Daniel D. Stuhlman A Visit with Rabbi Harold P. Smith

Originally published in October 1999. Some slight revisions were made for clarity and updating.

Librarian's Lobby October 1999

A Visit with Rabbi Harold P. Smith

Rabbi Berish Cardash and I visited the home of Rabbi Harold P. Smith1, former vice-president of Hebrew Theological College (HTC). He also served terms as president of the Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) and Chicago Board of Rabbis (CBR) R. Rabbi Smith is donating his books to the Library. After showing us his books, he brought us to his dining room. Behind a room divider and under a cover there was a file cabinet with his all of speeches and sermons stored on 4" x 6" hand-written note cards. He said that while he can't give us the cabinet now, he wrote into his will that the file cabinet and its contents will go to the HTC Library. He gave samples of the sermons and permission to quote parts. My selections are in the next part of this column.

Selections from the Speeches of Rabbi Harold P. Smith
[Quoted with Rabbi Smith's permission]

Delivered at the Annual Banquet of Hebrew Theological College 1980

[Rabbi Smith talks about a visit with the editorial staff of the Chicago Tribune. An editor asked] "Rabbi Smith, it is apparent from our conversations that you have broad perspectives on many subjects. Why are all the articles you submit to us only on the subject of Israel?" ... I told my friends at the Chicago Tribune that in my judgment the very existence of Israel is greatly endangered by the menacing intentions of the hostile Arab countries ... I have to write the same article in different words with different approaches with the hope that some of your people will start listening.

Delivered to the faculty some time in the early 1970's

... " Ki-'esh 'ehad uba-lev 'ehad [As one voice and one heart]"; Rashi -- and that is the only way to build a Torah institution ....

Delivered before Yizkor Shemini Atzeret in the late 1960's 2

...which reminds us that Israel still has many problems, of which the hostility of her surrounding neighbors is one, albeit a very serious one. Lack of stability in several of the Arab states and Nasser's unconcealed ambitions appear to make [a] solution to this problem highly unlikely in the near future. The costs of [Israeli] defense are enormous. Israel can not relax its vigilance even for a moment.

There is the problem with water. The growing population and continued expansion of agriculture are draining Israel's fresh water supplies...

[Rabbi Smith's speech continues with the need to invest in Israel Bonds.]
Recent gifts

A library user walked into the reading room saw all the boxes of books that we are processing and asked if we had an advertisement encouraging people to donate books to the Library. We don't. But from the number of gifts we have received in the past four months it certainly seems so. In the past month we received books that belonged to the late Rabbi Menachim M. Goodman. His collection included Judaica (including over 40 sermon books) and non-Judaica. Sermon books that duplicated what the Library owned were given to the CRC collection. Hazzan Abraham Mendelsberg donated hazzanut materials including sheet music, music books and audio records. His donation included music written by the masters of hazzanut, Pierre Pinchik, Max Janowski, and Abraham Moshe Bernstein. Books also came from the collections of the late Rabbis Albert Ellison and L. Feinberg.

Recent articles

The current issue (October 1999 v. 32:8) of The Jewish Observer (pages 17-20) has an article, "The secular enforceability of a Beis Din judgment, " by Shlomo Chaim Resnicoff.3 He deals with the questions of, " Why would the American courts support the beis din process?; and Wouldn't enforcement of a rabbinic arbitration agreement violate some constitutional principle regarding the supposed separation of church from state?" These are no light matters. Under American law the Beis Din is under the category of arbitration. Two parties agree to have a third party listen to their case and decide it. The arbitration agreement must in writing and signed by all relevant parties. For "public policy" reasons courts in different locations may not enforce the same agreements that work in other locations. Child support or child custody are types of cases that are not uniformly enforceable.

Hazzan Macy Nulman, an expert in Tefilah and Jewish music, writes in Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy ("The Greetings of the Jewish People." v. 21, 1998-1999 pages 6-19) about Jewish greetings. The article tells about the history of greetings and the differ-ences between Askenazic, Sephardic, and Hasidic exchanges. The greeting of shalom dates back to Biblical times. Several pages deal with Rosh Hashana greetings. The article concludes with the lack greetings on Tisha b'Av and to mourners.

1. Rabbi Smith wrote a book for children, A Treasure Hunt in Judaism, published by Hebrew Publishing Company in 1942 with a revision in 1950. This book explains Jewish customs and ceremonies for teenagers. Rabbi Smith retired from the Yeshiva in the early 1980's because of health reasons. He told me that he went to Switzerland for three years for treatments and then returned to Chicago. He showed us his entry in Who's Who. He had so many activities and honors, that his entry was three times the size as most others.

2. Rabbi Smith was the Rabbi at Agudath Achim of South Shore from 1949-1969. The Shabbat and holiday sermons were delivered there. Many of his books were lost when the synagogue closed. A chair in practical rabbinics was named in his honor at HTC. The plaque is hanging in his hallway. A rabbi told me that he remembers Rabbi Smith's homiletics class. Rabbi Smith's style was to write his sermons on 4 x 6 cards and spread the cards out on the lectern. When a card was completed he moved a new one on the surface. Rabbi Smith was known for his friendly speaking style. He had several favorite topics-- Israel, Jewish Education, Klal Yisrael, and Unity of Am Yisrael.

Note: Rabbi Smith passed away on Nov. 9, 2011 at age 98. Here is a link to an obituary from the JUF News. https://www.juf.org/news/local.aspx?id=413349

3. Professor Resnicoff is a musmach and a professor of law at DePaul University School of Law in Chicago.

4. Macy Nulman is the former director of the School of Jewish Music, an affiliate of Yeshiva University. Once, when passing through Chicago he visited our Library.

Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge. We are looking for new clients and opportunities. Visit our web site to learn more about knowledge management and what our firm can do for you.

 © 2006, 2020 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised November 17, 2020

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Periodical Collections

This was written in 1999 when the use of databases for periodical searches and storage was more limited than today. The principles are the same as in 1999, but some of the tools have changed. I edited part of this article to reflect current practices.
Librarian's Lobby July 1999, Daniel D. Stuhlman Scholarly Periodical collections

Librarian's Lobby
July 1999
Periodical Collections

Several questions concerning periodicals have come up in the past few weeks. After one person wanted to know about our collection of scholarly journals, I thought that perhaps others don't know what makes a publication scholarly.


The broad term, periodical, (In Hebrew kitav-et) is used for publications (print, non-print, and electronic) produced for distribution in a given time period. The schedule could be any time period such as daily, weekly, yearly or even irregularly. A periodical is an edited work with contributions from a different array of authors for each issue. The binding is irrelevant to the definition of a periodical. Bindings may be hard cover, soft cover, perfect bound, or no binding at all. In contrast a book (Sefer) is written by one or more authors as a stand alone time publication. A book written by one or more collaborating authors is also called a monograph in library lingo. An encyclopedia is not a monograph because the authors contribute their articles and do not collaborate on the final product. A festschrift is a book but not a monograph. The lines of difference can be totally blurred when a periodical issue is published as if it were a monograph. For example the Chicago Jewish Historical Society's periodical has published issues on one topic with the look and "feel" of a monograph.

In developing a periodical collection the library deals with three issues: identification of periodicals relevant to the collection, the logistics of acquisitions, and the long-term storage and retrieval. The identification process is a combination of what is available, what is the general acquisition policy, and budget. The logistics concerns are ordering, processing and paying for the subscription. The long-time storage and retrieval is concerned with cataloging, shelving, retrieving issues, and with binding and preservation issues.

Scholarly vs. Popular

The libraries make policies concerning how long to keep scholarly Judaica periodicals. Scholarly periodicals may be kept indefinatly. Certain newspapers may be kept one week, others are kept three months. For trade magazines perhaps only two or three back issues are kept. Some libraries depend on back issues kept electronically by JStor or Project MUSE.

While there is no precise definition that would define a scholarly periodical, here are a few of the features. Scholarly journals *1*are written by and for scholars. This is not circular reasoning. Scholars in a field have a certain base of knowledge, vocabulary and background that makes communication more efficient. Intelligent people can read scholarly articles in many fields of interest. Scholarly articles are documented with footnotes, quotes, and research data. They frequently have a thesis and attempt to prove it with data and analysis. While articles in Time or Newsweek may take weeks of research, they are rarely documented. Writers in Time or Newsweek are paid reporters or journalists, not scholars advancing human knowledge. Scholars are usually not paid for their articles. They write because of an institutional requirement, a love of learning, or a desire to share knowledge.

Examples of scholarly Jewish periodicals in our library are : Jewish Bible Quarterly, Jewish Journal of Sociology, Journal of Jewish Studies and Tradition. Examples of popular Jewish periodicals in our library are : Jewish Action, Jewish Observer, and Moment. The designations have nothing to do with the quality of information in the articles.

Scholarly articles are peer-reviewed. The editor of the publication or another scholar will review and check the facts and conclusions before publication. The editors will try to make the article better. Newspapers are not peer-reviewed. I talked to one CRC member last week who said that he hates to talk with a newspaper reporter because the reporters turn around his words and use quotes out of context. Anyone who was at an event that is reported by a newspaper often wonders if the reporters attended the same event.

Accessing Periodical Information

The three most common ways that readers find citations in periodicals are : 1) References from sources in books and articles that are being read; 2) Checking paper indexes; and 3) Checking computer-based indexes.

Reference checking from sources in hand is a way of following the trail of research. If you are reading an article and want to check on the author's source, then you look for the source of the citation. The author may be right, wrong, or lead you to more information. If you are writing a paper, sermon, or teaching a class, then using an index helps you find the materials you want. The library has the Index to Jewish Periodicals and Rambi to find article on Jewish topics. We can also check online databases such as Rambi, EBSCO or ProQuest *2*.


Periodicals are both a headache and gold mine for the library staff and library users. Periodicals are gold mines because they have information that does not appear in books. Periodicals are a headache because finding the article requires a skillful search and a good storage facility or database to keep issues.


1. The term 'journal' is often used by scholarly publications. The word itself has no significance in the library world. 'Journal' comes from the idea the publication is a record of deliberations of a learned society. The Wall Street Journal and Ladies Home Journal are two totally non-scholarly publication that use 'journal' in their titles. Some daily newspapers have used 'journal' to indicate they are a daily record of events. For example: The Wall Street Journal.

2. Rambi is an abbreviation for Rishimat Ma'amarim biyahadut :Index of articles on Jewish Studies. This index is produced by the Jewish National and University Library. It is no longer be published in print format. It is available online. RAMBI. EBSCO and ProQuest are two major indexes and sources of full-text articles found in academic and large public libraries.

Daniel D. Stuhlman is president of Stuhlman Management Consultants, Chicago, IL, a firm helping organizations turn data and information into knowledge.

 ©2005 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. All rights reserved.
Last revised November 12, 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Device Errors 1988 style

More computer fun from the thrilling days of 1988. What did you do when you got a disk error? Do you remember MS-DOS 3.3?

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Knowledge Management Terms

Knowledge Management Terms
by Daniel D. Stuhlman
Note: The first version of this document was published to my web site in 2006. It has been updated and edited many times since then. I am always open to suggestions for new terms and ideas. Please e-mail me.

Organizations are complex organisms. For an organization to grow and prosper in this information age, it must become a learning organization understanding both its roots and branching out to new endeavors. One of the challenges in mastering "Knowledge Management" is understanding the terminology of the field. In any field one must have a common understanding of the nomenclature of both the terms and concepts. People use the same words and phrases but the meanings could be different based on gender, location, context, profession, etc. This document defines terms, borrowed from other fields such as computer science, business, psychology and education that may be applied to knowledge management in organizations. Throughout this document I use the term "organization" rather than business. All organizations, profit making, non-profit, and voluntary, share some of the same needs for sound knowledge management practices. Even non-profit organizations must use sound business practices to ensure prosperity.

Knowledge management is a conscious, hopefully consistent, strategy implemented to gather, store and retrieve knowledge and then help distribute the information and knowledge to those who need it in a timely manner. The strategy includes rules, procedures, and cultural aspects in addition to the hardware and software to help put the knowledge management strategy into action. The best computers and software are not useful without the people and procedures for using them. Knowledge management is a framework and management mind-set that includes building on experience and creating new avenues for exchanging knowledge. The strategy includes both the technological infrastructure and the human aspects that uses the tools.

The progression for a learning organization is: data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Data and information are gathered; knowledge and wisdom are applied as a result of analysis.

Analysis is the process of interpreting data and information. One may order the data for easier interpretation or take the raw data and use it to create information and wisdom. Analysis requires data input and outputs something based on the data, experience, and previously learned wisdom of the people involved.

Artificial ignorance occurs when truth is sacrificed in favor of reverence or ritual. People practice artificial ignorance when they behave without thinking about the reason behind the actions. They follow the rules, practices, procedures, or laws exactly without thinking of the implications and results. Humorous fictional examples include Amelia Bedilia in the books by Peggy Parish, Silly Jack in English folklore and the Wise Men of Chelm in Jewish folklore.

Artificial intelligence occurs when analysis and the search for truth takes precedence over the creative and human activities of a job. People who practice artificial intelligence behave with so much thinking and analysis that the feeling, intuition, and art of making decisions is sacrificed.

Barriers are objects, ideas, practices, structures, systems, etc. that prevent or discourage action. Sometimes physical barriers are necessary for physical safety. Security barriers are important for an organization to protect assets. Barriers are not good when they discourage, sharing, creativity, service and other forms of positive business activity.

Cataloging is the systematic organization of information, data, or materials so that they can be retrieved when the requester needs them. Cataloging follows rules and practices to enable users to understand the system. Putting words in alphabetical order in a dictionary or index is one example of cataloging. Alphabetical order has rules so that the lexicographer and the end user can find words. A librarian-cataloger follows rules established by national and global organizations. The rules are flexible enough to enable interpretation and localization. Rules also include controlled vocabulary for subject headings. A business cataloger follows the business rules of the organization.

Explicit Knowledge is the captured and cataloged information and knowledge that is made ready for people to use.

Sometimes within businesses the term, taxonomy, is used for the classification of knowledge.   A good taxonomy or catalog enables the same knowledge to be accessed via multiple paths.

Classification is a system of arranging ideas or physical objects in hierarchal and enumerative schemes. Schemes may be based on national standards such library classification systems (for example: Library of Congress Classification, Dewey Decimal Classification, or National Library of Medicine Classification) or internally developed. Classification systems arrange materials in an order. In libraries multiple orders may exist such as reference collections, children collections or branch libraries. In businesses multiple orders many include departments, branches or other segregations of materials. Library classifications are based on subjects. Business classifications are based on logical arrangements for each business. Linear or systematic arrangements impose limits on the classifiers. The classification of digital documents does not have physical and temporal limits on accessibility as books or physical documents. Numbers, letters or symbols are the shorthand codes for arranging materials. These codes help people who don't have expert knowledge of the subjects store and retrieve materials in the correct places.

For classification systems to work they must 1) Encompass the whole field of knowledge or business activity and allow for future revisions; 2) Be systematic 3) Be logical; 4) Be flexible enough so that new subjects may be inserted without dislocating current materials; 5) Be kept current; and 6) Employ terminology that is clear, consistent, and unambiguous for the classifier and end users.

Communities of Interest include the people within the organization or those outside the organization who share interests in an aspect of the business or profession. For example professional staff may join professional organizations to share common interests and offer each other support. This is especially important when the organization has few people in that profession. Within the organization staff may share business interests separate from their professional interests. These communities may be formal and organized such as professional organizations or informal such as people talking to people in other departments about common business interests.

People are linked by proximity, electronic communications, printed documents, published articles, or books. Electronic links could include Internet mailing lists, wikis, RSS, web sites, or news groups. Print resources may include newsletters, trade journals, professional periodicals and scholarly journals. Members of the community do not possess equal levels of expertise, but they are associated by their desire to share and learn from others. The nature of the association changes and develops over time. A neophyte may need a lot of support at the beginning and later evolve into knowledge provider.

Communities may or may not be open to all who wish to join. professional organizations may place educational or experience requirements on membership. Restricted membership organizations are communities of practice for experts. In businesses, these experts, based on their knowledge, are designated for specific subjects. Other groups may be open to anyone who wants to contribute, share, or learn.

Critical thinking is an intellectual process that questions assumptions, data and information. Children are very literal in their understanding of lanuage and the world. (see above Artificial ignorance) Education and maturity teach students to examine any claim, idea, or text to determine if it is true, partially true, false, or somewhere in between.

Critical thinking relies on a body of data and information to create wisdom which is based on sound logical conclusions. While the body of knowledge changes from one disciple to the other, process of seeking the truth is common to all. A mature, critical thinker raises questions, examines facts, and confronts issues before formulating conclusions.*

Culture is a combination of organizational history, shared experiences, group expectations, unwritten or tacit rules, ethics, and social interactions that affect the behavior of everyone in the organization. Culture is developed dejure (organizational rules and pronouncements from upper management) and defacto based on shared experience. Culture is a complex social structure. Sometimes it evolves slowly based on worker actions and sometimes change is enacted by management. We simultaneously participate in many cultures such as families, localoties, religious groups, nations, and organizations. One culture may permit an action, while another forbids it.

In organizations culture can be consciously changed with a new rule from an executive. Culture can als be changed by external stimuli (for example a new law or government regulation that affects business practices). If culture places barriers to sharing knowledge, the organization needs to take actions to create an atmosphere that reduces barriers and becomes more supportive and collaborative.

Data are the smallest units of measure. The word is technically the plural of datum but often used as a singular. Data are the components of information. They may be the 1's and 0's of computer memory, names and addresses in a demographic file, or the raw facts and figures before interpretation. Data are stored in data bases. Data processing is the electronic manipulation of data.

Data Mining (also known as Knowledge Discovery in Databases - KDD) is extraction of implicit, previously unknown, and potentially useful information from data bases.  The process uses machine learning, statistical correlations, statistical analysis, and sophisticated search strategies to extract data in such a way that the information is easily comprehensible.  Then the human decides how to turn this information into knowledge.  The source data bases are usually already owned by the organization.    Data mining is frequently used by marketing departments to learn more about customers and how to better market products and services.  The skilled knowledge manager will help create data base search strategies that enable successful data mining.  However, in some ways data mining is the antithesis of what a knowledge manager is trying to accomplish in an organization. A knowledge manager sets up systems to store and retrieve information on a timely basis; a data miner seeks information in data bases that was previously underutilized.

De-acquisition is the intential removal of items from a collection. It is the opposite of acquisitions and done with the same care and deliberation. *

Discussion Forum is an in-person or electronic forum for staff or like-minded individuals to exchange ideas, post questions, offer answers, or offer help on relevant subjects.  Electronic forums also provide ways of archiving (or storing) and searching for previous exchanges. "Listserv" is a type of electronic forum.

Ethics is a process of applying or breaking the rules to get the right answers. Making ethical decisions envolves knowing the cultures and the rules of the organization and the laws of the land.

Ideas are mental pictures, or dreams that are unproven. They may or may not be verbalized or recorded. They are not yet substantiated by data, but may be based on the person's knowledge.  Good ideas may have a positive impact on the organization if they can be substantiated or validated by data or input from others.  Bad ideas are those that have no ability to be implemented.  Both good and bad ideas may help in the process of determining the best course of action.

Ignorance is the state of not knowing. Ignorance occurs when those who can benefit from knowledge are unwilling or unable to find or assimilate the knowledge.  The flip side of ignorance is having knowledge and not having any way of sharing that knowledge.

Information is organized data that has been arranged for better comprehension, understanding and/or retrieval. What is one person's information can become another person's data.

Intellectual Capital is the same as the knowledge asset of an organization. Knowledge assets help achieve business goals. This capital is the set of intangible assets that includes the internal knowledge of employees have of information processes, external and internal experts, products, customers and competitors. Intellectual capital includes internal proprietary reports, libraries, patents, copyrights, and licenses that record the company history and help it plan for tomorrow.

Knowledge is the result of learning. Knowledge is the internalization of information, data, and experience. Tacit Knowledge is the personal knowledge resident within the mind, behavior and perceptions of individual members of the organization. Explicit Knowledge is the formal, recorded, or systematic knowledge in the form of scientific formulae, procedures, rules, organizational archives, principles, etc., and can easily be accessed, transmitted, or stored in computer files or hard copy.

Knowledge Management Staff are the people in the organization assigned the task of providing the leadership and implementation of the policy for the creation, capture, storage, cataloging, and sharing of organizational knowledge. Sometimes the organization appoints a chief knowledge officer (CKO) and sometimes the tasks are performed by other managers. The person in charge is the focal point or switching point for all knowledge related tasks. This person works with those in technology, human relations, and operational units to create the requisite infrastructure and management policies. Alternative job titles for the person in charge of knowledge management might be director of knowledge mobilization, director of global knowledge exchange, and senior vice president over strategic knowledge capabilities.

A Knowledge architect is the staff member who oversees the definitions of knowledge and intellectual processes and then identifies the technological and human resources required to create, capture, organize, access and use knowledge assets.  Architecture is the technology and human infrastructure to support the organization's KM initiatives.  It includes physical (e.g., hardware and tools) and logical (e.g., knowledge policies) dimensions.

Knowledge assets, also called intellectual capital, are the human, structural and recorded resources available to the organization. Assets reside within the minds of members, customers, and colleagues and also include physical structures and recorded media.

Knowledge audit is the formal process to determination and evaluation of how and where information knowledge is used within the organization. The audit examines policies, forms, procedures, storage and any other ways that knowledge is collected, stored, cataloged and stored.

Knowledge bridge is the connection that a KM expert builds between the business processes and the technological, sociological, personal, financial, sales, creative, and customer oriented functions of the organization. Building a knowledge bridge is the 'glue' making the long-term connections between the functions that sometimes compete for resources.

Knowledge creation is the process that results in new knowledge, or organizes current knowledge in new ways making techniques to use existing knowledge. Once knowledge is created the organization has a Knowledge flow, which is the way knowledge travels, grows, is stored and retrieved. Knowledge flows 1) Up and down from management; 2) Within circles of sharing (such as shared interests between staff performing similar or complementary roles) 3) Through planning, investigation, and training; or 4) Through common sources such as books, reports, data bases or knowledge bases.

Knowledge facilitators help harness the wealth of knowledge in the organization. Facilitators engender a sense of ownership in those involved, by helping them arrive at a jointly developed solution.

Know-how is the technical expression of knowledge or how to physically apply knowlege in the physical world. Examples are the manual and mental skills of a master craftsman or tradesman.

Knowledge lens is the perspective or viewpoint of the problem or situation. A KM expert brings experience from many industries or disciplines to focus valuable insights or illuminate new ideas. Through this lens the KM expert synthesizes the situation and helps makes sense of disparate pieces.

Knowledge map (K-Map) is a tangible representation or catalog of the concepts and relationships of knowledge. The catalog is a navigational aid that enables a user to find the desired concept, and then retrieve relevant knowledge sources.

Knowledge source is the person, document, non-print source, or place that is the origin or prime cause of knowledge. Others may see you as a source and you turn to your own sources for knowledge.

Knowledge owner is the person or people who are responsible for knowledge, a knowledge domain, or set of documents. The knowledge owner is responsible for keeping the knowledge and information current, relevant, and complete. The knowledge owner usually acts at a local or decentralized level. The knowledge owner may or may not be the author or creator of the specific content. The owner may be the expert in the subject area or a skilled editor.

Knowledge use is the effective integration of knowledge by people or organizations. It is the result of understanding and application of knowledge and the knowledge gathering process. It is hard to define because it is the result and application of all the terms defined on this page.

Knowledge worker is a member of the organization who uses knowledge to be a more productive worker. These workers use all varieties of knowledge in the performance of their regular business activities. Everyone who uses any form of recorded knowledge could be considered a knowledge worker.

Alternative job titles for person in charge of knowledge management:  Director of knowledge mobilization, Director, global knowledge exchange, and Senior VP, strategic knowledge capabilities.

Learning is the complex process of assimilating stimuli and changing behavior. The stimuli can be received by any of the senses.  Many learning situations use stimuli of multiple senses.  For example one listens, practices with the hands, and then explains. Learning happens in situations when people are using their minds best. Learning styles vary by person and situation. While most people learn with a combination of seeing, hearing, and motion (tactile or physical), some people show a preference to one of these types of input or stimuli. Adults as well as children learn using a methodology that is suitable for their condition and the subject they are learning. Everyone has to figure out what methodology and stimuli combination works best for them and the job of a teacher is to help the student in this journey of discovery. Learning is a process that is self perpetuating because each step of learning creates a foundation for the next step.

An alternative view of the definition of learning --  Learning in the context of a business is a process to acquire knowledge or skills to enhance the ability to perform business or professional activities. The end result is the person can help better the business's bottom line. Learning helps an individual or group work better, faster, more efficiently, or smarter.

Magic is the use of words, actions, or reading of signs to influence nature or people. Magic has no place in knowledge management. One must use solid techniques with a scientific basis to change people and organizations. Change is not caused by magic.

Management is the organizational process that includes strategic planning, setting objectives, managing resources, deploying the human and financial assets needed to achieve objectives, and measuring results.  Management also includes recording and storing facts and information for later use or for others within the organization.  Management functions are not limited to managers and supervisors. Every member of the organization has some management and reporting functions as part of their job.

Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use or manage an information resource. The Dublin Core is an example of a standard. It was developed for libraries to be simple and concise. The current Dublin Core standard defines fifteen metadata elements (title, subject, description, source, language, relation, coverage, creator, publisher, contributor, rights, date, type, format, and identifier) for resource description in a cross-disciplinary information environment. A library catalog is an example of metadata for books and other library materials. A product catalog is metadata for the products a company sells or distributes.

Metadata has become a "buzz" word and is mis-used. In a library the catalog contains "metadata" on each item (book and non-books) in the library. In an organization "metadata" is used to describe the products, items, raw materials, or human resources. The human resources metadata contains the demographic description (name, address, office, etc.) for each person. The product metadata contain the name, physical description, quantity, etc. for each product bought and sold.

Motivation is the push of the mental forces to accomplish an action. Unsatisfied needs, motivate. On the biological level basic human needs of food, shelter and survival are powerful motivators. On the psychological level people need to be understood, affirmed, validated and appreciated. On the business level motivation occurs when people perceive a clear business reason for pursuing a transfer of knowledge or practices.

Personal Competence is a collection of behaviors including concentration, intensity, persistence, and self-sufficiency. Concentration is required to examine, contemplate and make decisions. Intensity refers to the depth of involvement in an activity. Time is an important component of both concentration and intensity. One must invest the proper amount of time to accomplish the task. People must take the time to concentrate which enables persistence. Self-sufficiency is measured by the number and duration of responses that solve problems.

Practices are the techniques, methodologies, procedures, and processes that are used in the organizations to get the job done.  Good practices are those practices that have fostered improved business results and continue to enable the organization to improve. Bad practices are those that are detrimental to good business results. Data are gathered to create information that is used to measure results and determine if the practice is good, bad, or worth further investigation.

Best practices are any practices, use of knowledge, or experience that have been proven by data or experience to be valuable or effective to individuals, groups, or organizations.  These best practices may be useful or be applicable to others.

Local best practices are practices that have been used by a department or other unit of an organization. Based on analysis, these practices have been determined to be helpful to other departments or units of the organization.

Industry best practices are practices that have been determined from outside of the organization as helpful approaches to large numbers of organizations within that industry. These best practices may be reported in written sources based on investigative reporting or based on agreements or conventions of trade or professional groups. For example articles or books may be written about a practice that one company does that has improved their performance. This is a very common occurrence in the literature.

Query is a question or series of questions that are presented to a knowledge management system or information retrieval system. Data and information can be retrieved with a query. The most precise queries are those which return the fewest false drops. The result of a query needs interpretation by the requestor. A query may return sorted or unsorted replies.

Relationships are the connections people have with other people.  Relationships may be between people with personal connections or those with connections based on print, media or correspondence. People absorb more knowledge when the bond is with someone they know and respect. Good relationships create a unity necessary to run effective organizations. One is more likely to share knowledge with those who share personal relationships. Building relationships is a mutually helpful activity for creating interdependence.

Sharing is the human behavior that describes the exchange of knowledge. Sharing and learning are social activities and may occur in face-to-face meetings or via aural, written or visual stimuli. At least two people are required for sharing. Sharing knowledge is a positive activity in an organization. Coveting knowledge is the opposite of sharing.

Storytelling is the skilled delivery of stories use to present anecdotal evidence, clarify a point, support a point of view and crystallize ideas. A story can present material that research data can not. Stories use verbal pictures to spark interest, add variety, and change the pace of a discussion. Stories make dull speeches sparkle. Storytelling is the connecting device between data and reality. Stories can share a "truth" that data can not. Storytelling can help bridge the gap between data and knowledge. It also could be the result of integrating information. A well chosen story gets the audience's attention. Knowledge managers use storytelling as a device and tool for sharing knowledge. Storytelling allows you to present dreams and tell about the past.

Stupid in the exact opposite of what should be in a collection of knowledge management terms because "stupid" means one has not used knowledge or wisdom to make a decision. Knowing the facts and choosing not to use them is stupidity in action. For a full discussion see my article, "What is Stupidity" parts 1 and 2. *

Technology is the set of tools both hardware (physical) and software (algorithms, philosphical systems, or procedures) that help us act and think better. Technology includes all the objects from a basic pencil and paper to the latest electronic gadget. Electronic and computer technology help use share information and knowledge quickly and efficiently. What was previously slow and tedious is now easier and more realistic. Any tool has the potential to remove the tedium and repetition that will allow us to perform that which is most human-- thinking, dreaming, and planning.

Thinking is an internal mental process that uses data or information as input, integrates that information into previous learned material and the and results in either knowledge or nothing. It may occur at any moment including while eating, sleeping or working on an unrelated task. Problem solving, planning, information integration, and analysis are four kinds of thinking.

Wisdom is the result of learning and using knowledge for a strategic advantage. After gaining knowledge, wisdom is used to meet new situations. Wisdom resides in the minds of the users. Organizational wisdom is the goal of knowledge management system.

A version of this web page appears as a chapter in: Perspectives in Knowledge Management, published in May 2008 by Scarecrow Press.

* Changed since last revision.


Cohen, Stuart.  Child Development : a study of the growth process. Itasca, IL, F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1971.
Covey, Stephen R.  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People : restoring the character ethic.  New York, Simon & Schuster, 1989.
Glasser, William.  Schools Without Failure.  New York, Harper & Row, 1969.
Holt, John.  How Children Learn. New York, Pitman Publishing Corp., 1969.
O'Dell, Carla and C. Jackson Grayson, Jr.  If Only We Knew What We Know : the transfer of internal knowledge and best practice.  New York, Free Press, 1998.
Rosenberg, Marc J. E-Learning : strategies for delivering knowledge in the digital age.  New York, McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Note: This is a work in progress. It is not exhaustive and will have new terms and revisions added as needed. Please send me any ideas or comments to improve this list.

Suggested bibliographic citation: Stuhlman, Daniel D. Knowledge management terms. Chicago, Stuhlman Managment Consultants, 2020. Retrieved from: Http://stuhlmanmancon.epizy.com/defin1.htm on {today's date}.
 ©2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2020 by Daniel D. Stuhlman. Plagiarism will be detected. All rights reserved.
Last revised October 26, 2020

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