Knowledge is a critical asset in our information-based economy. • When used effectively, it adds significant value to an organization. • Every organization has a wealth of intellectual capital and although it is of the highest value, this corporate asset is also the most under-utilized.
Knowledge Management is the set of practices and technologies that leverages value-added information, which is mission-critical for organizations. • Information is not knowledge until people add value to it, transforming raw data into competitive business advantages. • Accessing and sharing information are the beginning of the knowledge transformation process.
However, it takes more than an Intranet, a repository, or some search and document management functionality. • It takes a complete knowledge management system that addresses all elements of the knowledge process: • Discovery People capable of accessing information easily, • Organization Processes used to manage and maintain information effectively and • Development Tools that allow people to take action and work together effortlessly.
XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language) is a tool used to help individuals do their jobs better by automating knowledge access. • XML has revolutionized the way data is being exchanged over the Web. • Knowledge Management (KM) applications increasingly depend on XML.
1. Introduction • Knowledge is the most important factor in the long-term success of both an individual and an organization. • The only source of competitive advantage in the future will be the knowledge that an organization contains and an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition. • With knowledge taking on increased importance, it makes sense that there is an opportunity to create competitive advantage by effectively managing its storage and use.
An effective knowledge management Infrastructure creates competitive advantage by bringing appropriate knowledge to the point of action during the moment of need . • Employee turnover is also reduced because a large portion of the knowledge and expertise acquired by the employee is captured in the knowledge base.
Those companies that are using knowledge management practices today have identified the following key benefits: • Improved decision-making • Increased responsiveness • Improved efficiency of people and operations • Improved innovation • Improved products/services • Greater flexibility XML is a set of rules for defining data structures.
Key elements in a document can be categorized according to meaning, rather than simply how they are presented in a particular browser. • Instead of a search engine selecting a document by the metatags listed in its header, a search engine can scan through the entire document for the XML tags that identify individual pieces of text and image.
Defining objects that tag or identify details about data is increasingly popular with companies trying to leverage both the structured data in relational databases and the unstructured data found on the Internet and in other sources. • KM is trying to bring all this data together, and XML categorizes it.
A successful knowledge management architecture must be: • Available (if knowledge exists, it is available for retrieval) • Accurate in retrieval (if available, knowledge is retrieved) • Effective (knowledge retrieved is useful and correct) • Accessible (knowledge is available during the time of need)
2. Knowledge Management Infrastructure 2.1 Why Knowledge Management? • When firms need to know what they know and must use that knowledge effectively, the size and geographic dispersion of many of them make it especially difficult to locate existing knowledge and get it to where it is needed. • In a small, localized company, a manager probably knows who has experience in a particular aspect of the business and can walk across the hall and talk to them.
The mere existence of knowledge somewhere in the organization is of little benefit; it becomes a corporate asset only if it is accessible. • Formalizing networking groups and formulating knowledge maps in and of themselves, however, is not sufficient. • Companies need to foster a knowledge culture within their organization.
Employees need to be rewarded for sharing their knowledge with others . • Respect and trust in each other's knowledge is paramount to successful knowledge transfer and application. • Open-minded discussions and a willingness to try new methods need to be encouraged - by their very nature, people resist any innovation that may require them to abandon their signature skills in favor of new ones.
Knowledge is a corporate asset, and an infrastructure is required to store it, maintain it, archive it, update it, discard it, and present it to the right people in the right format at the right time. • Most companies have tapped into the information age with databases, data warehouses, and internet search engines, and are primed to add the extension technologies to bring them into the knowledge age.
With a few modern methods and tools and a shift in culture, an infrastructure can be created to manage and preserve Intellectual Capital.
2.2 KM Infrastructure • If the knowledge an employee needs exists, it should be available. • This requirement can be split into two viewpoints: • knowledge that exists external to the organization and • knowledge that exists internal to the organization :
External knowledge is an area that falls under the purview of traditional library services. • Successful knowledge management infrastructure must leverage these services and their lessons learned. • Outside knowledge resources must be evaluated and tapped.
Regardless of how external sources are tapped, the vision is to have an easy-to-use search engine that queries all external knowledge sources. • The engine search then brings back knowledge from each in an effective, integrated fashion. • Technology can help meet this vision by converting legacy information into a digital, searchable form and by providing an integrated, effective search engine.
One method of capturing knowledge is to make it easy to share knowledge by making it part of the infrastructure. • At the source of where most knowledge is created, the corporate word processing application - replace the standard “Save” command with an applet that automatically prompts the user to see if he/she would like to add the document to the knowledge base.
If the employee agrees, the document is saved to both the file locations of his/her choice and the knowledge base with the click of a button. • If other knowledge collection opportunities exist, such as slides, log files, or electronic mail, capture routines should be seamlessly built into the infrastructure. • Knowledge must be captured at the point of creation.
Knowledge workers will not jump through hoops to share their knowledge unless there is a benefit to them. • Creating a pervasive sharing infrastructure helps to make the process easy; but without a sharing culture, capturing knowledge will be less than successful. • The usual impetus for sharing information is prestige, recognition, and the notion that the individual’s thoughts and ideas might make a difference .
At the start of a new knowledge base, employees do not want to search the knowledge base because there is very little information to obtain. • If no one searches the knowledge base, the impetus for adding knowledge to the knowledge base is decreased because the perception is that no recognition will come from populating the knowledge base. • To overcome this chicken-and-egg problem, the vision is to seed the knowledge base with external knowledge sources.
The vision for seeding the knowledge base is to create an integrated knowledge query engine that returns information from both the internal knowledge base and external knowledge sources in an easy-to-use and effective split-screen view. • The same keywords or phrases used to search the knowledge base are also sent to external knowledge sources. • The results are displayed in a hypertext format with a clear demarcation between the links as either internal- or external-based.
With everyone searching the internal knowledge base, a critical mass of knowledge and perception will develop to create a Virtuous Knowledge Circle  as shown in Fig.1. • Successful searches of the knowledge base will increase the impetus for adding knowledge. • The more knowledge in the knowledge base, the higher the chance for a successful search.
After knowledge is read from the knowledge base, the employee is surveyed to determine the probable performance and spreading power of the knowledge he/she has just obtained. • The survey results are used to create “metadata” about entries in the knowledge base. • From this metadata, the creator of a knowledge entry can check to see how his/her entries are doing in terms of hits, performance, and spreading power.
A list of the most active knowledge entries in terms of hits, performance, and spreading power are also available for query from the knowledge base. • Entering information into the knowledge base is then not only a way to gain recognition and prestige, but also an automatic method for receiving feedback.
Accurate retrieval of documents is critical to the success of any knowledge architecture. • If a search for knowledge comes up consistently empty or not relevant, the user will usually look for another method to find information. • The vision is to leverage traditional information retrieval techniques (e.g., keyword, relevancy rating) for searching, while adding effective metadata at both the time of knowledge deposit and the time of retrieval to improve accuracy.
The ability to search by keyword and classification would filter out knowledge that just happens to contain the words in the query, but contain no relevance to the intended information. • There would be an impetus for the knowledge creator to add the metadata information because it would increase the chance that his/her knowledge object is seen be someone who can use the information.
To make adding the metadata an easy process, the knowledge base will make an initial guess at the classification by examining the keywords and other information in the object. • This initial guess would take the creator close to the correct classification area, making the addition of the metadata require, at most, a few mouse clicks. • Fig.2 shows much of the vision just proposed.
An integrated search engine based on open Web technologies allows an employee to search both internal and external knowledge sources with the same query: filtering by quality, classification, performance, and power. • The results are returned in a split-screen, hypertext view that provides one- click access to the knowledge.
Knowledge deposits to the internal knowledge base are encouraged through a pervasive knowledge infrastructure that captures knowledge at the point of creation. • The quality of information in the knowledge base is ensured through a rating process based on the aggregation of opinions of those who have evaluated the object.
2.3 Knowledge Portals • Portals are large doors or gateways to reach many other places, indicating that the portal itself is not the final destination. • A Web portal is a web site, usually with little content, providing links to many other sites that can either be accessed directly by clicking on a designated part of a browser screen, or can be found by following an organized sequence of related categories.
A Knowledge Portal is the fundamental building block of a Knowledge Management infrastructure. • It provides a robust substrate for building a learning organization by providing all the facilities of • an Information Catalog plus collaborative facilities, expertise management tools, and • a Knowledge Catalog to be used as a repository of institutional memory .
The Knowledge Catalog is a metadata store that supports multiple ways of organizing and gathering content according to the different taxonomies used in the enterprise practice communities, including an enterprise wide taxonomy when defined. • A Knowledge Portal provides two distinct interfaces: • a Knowledge Producer interface, supporting the knowledge mapping needs of the knowledge worker in their job of gathering, analyzing, adding value, and sharing information and knowledge among peers, and • a Knowledge Consumer interface.
This interface facilitates the communication of the produce of the knowledge workers and its dissemination through the enterprise to the right people, at the right time, to improve their decision-making.
3. Ingredients of XML • XML is a markup language like HTML. • XML has been designed to describe data and unlike HTML, XML tags are not predefined in XML. • XML is self-describing which uses a Document Type Definition (DTD) to formally describe the data.
XML is a universal language for data on the Web that lets developers deliver content from a wide variety of applications to the desktop. • XML promises to standardize the way information is searched for, exchanged, adaptively presented, and personalized.
Content authors are freed from defining the style of the XML document as the content has been separated out from the presentation of the document . • Extensible Stylesheet language (XSL) is useful in displaying the information in many ways e.g., in the form of a table, a bulleted list, a pie chart, or even in a different language.
3.1 XML Schema • A schema is a set of predefined rules that describe a given class of XML document. • A schema defines the elements that can appear within a given XML document, along with the attributes that can be associated with a given element.
It also defines structural information about the XML document, such as which elements are child elements of others, the sequence in which the child elements can appear, and the number of child elements. • It can define whether an element is empty or can include text as well as default values for attributes. • Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and XML-Data are both examples of specifications that outline how to describe XML document schemas.
3.2 Document Type Definition (DTD) • The DTD language is used to define validation rules for SGML documents. • Since XML is a simplified subset of SGML, DTDs can also be used to define XML validation rules. • An XML processor can use the DTD at run time to validate a given XML file against the predefined XML schema.
DTDs use different syntactical elements, like parenthesis, asterisks, angle brackets etc., to define what elements are required in an XML document, what elements are optional, how many occurrences of a given element are allowed, and so forth . • DTDs also describe the relationship between elements and how attributes relate to different elements.
A DTD (which contains a set of rules) is a way to ensure that an XML document uses elements correctly. • When an XML document is processed, it is compared to its associated DTD to be sure that it is structured correctly and all tags are used in the proper manner. • XML provides an application independent way of sharing data.
With a DTD, independent groups of people can agree to use a common DTD for interchanging data. • The application can use a standard DTD to verify that data received from the outside is valid. DTD describes the structure of the XML document. • The main difference between Valid and Well-Formed XML is that Valid XML requires a DTD and Well-Formed XML doesn’t . • Fig.3 shows the basic XML system.
3.3.XML- Data • XML-Data is one proposed implementation of an XML schema language. • XML-Data schemas are loosely referred to as XML schemas, which are quite different from DTD schemas. • An XML-Data schema is a well-formed XML document.
The XML-Data language is based on the XML-Data DTD, which specifies the expected format for the schema definition. • As XML-Data schemas are simply XML documents, any tool you use to work with XML documents can also be used to work with XML-Data schema definitions. • Elements and attributes are defined in an XML-Data schema by specifying <ElementType> and <AttributeType> elements, respectively.