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The implications of Knowledge Management for LIS education

Abstract: Knowledge Management (KM) is a popular topic emerging from the business sector, which has influenced many fields of study, among them Library and Information Science (LIS). As KM is quite recent, there is still much ambiguity as to its nature and its place in LIS education.

The current study sought to shed a light on these issues. To help achieve better understanding of KM and its implications for LIS education, the researcher employed a mixed method approach, using both a web-based survey of LIS professionals and in-depth interviews with 18 LIS Heads of schools or senior staff at schools operating KM programs and courses.

The research indicates that although to an extent, confusion remains over the nature of KM and its relevance to LIS, there is at least recognition among the research community of the need for a proper understanding of knowledge management, as distinct from information management and of the importance of looking at KM from a generalist perspective. The findings further indicate that the LIS community is seeking to expand its boundaries into a wider professional environment than that of traditional librarianship, and that it sees KM as an effective vehicle for this purpose. The indications are also that apart from at the elective level, KM education should be offered not just as a distinct and separate track, but also as a subject pervading the entire LIS curriculum. The findings also highlight a need for greater integration between research and teaching in knowledge management, and for improved links between the curriculum and the outside world of KM practice. This implies the need for LIS schools to import aspects of KM practice into their activities. Participants also acknowledged the importance of matching KM education both to the needs of students and of the marketplace.

Furthermore, the research results highlight the necessarily multidisciplinary character of KM curricula, with the need for LIS curricula to focus on tacit knowledge and the human dimension of KM, as well as on business, management and organisational issues. The findings also support a collaborative approach to KM education in order to achieve the creation of a holistic curriculum, with contributions particularly, from business schools, industry and practitioners.

Based on the findings of this study, a partial or improper understanding of KM among the LIS community, and a lack of realisation of the value of KM education among LIS students and educators, are key issues facing KM education in the LIS sector. To solve these problems, LIS schools not only need to provide courses in knowledge management, and promote it among the LIS community, but also they must actively market the concept and their own contribution to the field.

This thesis makes an innovative contribution to the literature of KM education, and to the understanding of the subject and its related concepts. It is also one of the few such pieces of research into the implications of KM for LIS education to have been conducted on a global basis.

Author(s): Afsaneh Hazeri Baghdadabad is a research candidate at the RMIT University School of Business Information Technology

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Analysis and Interpretation of Mixed Data
  • Perceptions of KM
  • Should LIS Schools Take KM Seriously
  • KM in the University Sector
  • KM Course Implementation
  • KM Education: Issues and Recommendations
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Appendices

Afsaneh Hazeri Baghdadabad: The implications of knowledge management for library and information science education: a mixed method investigation. Melbourne: RMIT University, School of Business Information Technology (PhD Thesis), 2008, 310 pages

Copyright © RMIT University.

Related PhD thesis:

  • Sarrafzadeh, M 2008, The implications of knowledge management for the library and information professions, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business Information Technology, RMIT University. Full text from publisher »
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Tags: academia and industry, collaborative approach, holistic curriculum, human dimension of KM, implementation, interviews, KM course, KM courses, KM education, KM practice, KM professional skills and competencies, KM programs, KM research, knowledge management, library and information science, library and information science schools, LIS community, LIS curriculum, LIS education, LIS professionals, LIS sector, market demands, perceptions of KM, roles and positions, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University), specializations, survey, tacit knowledge

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