First International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies: from Theory to Applications – ICTTA’04. April 19-23, 2004, Omayyad Palace, Damascus, Syria :Library and Information Professionals and Knowledge Management Applications :Prepared by:Nagat William Girgis||
2. Knowledge Hierarchy
A further dimension considers the premise that knowledge can be organized into a hierarchy. Several authors draw distinctions between data, information, and knowledge:
2.1. Data: Facts, images, or sounds (+ interpretation + meaning =)
2.2. Information: Formatted, filtered, and summarized data (+ action + application =)
2.3. Knowledge: Instinct, ideas, rules, and procedures that guide actions and decisions.
Knowledge has two basic definitions of interest. The first pertains to a defined body of information. Depending on the definition, the body of information might consist of facts, opinions, ideas, theories, principles, and models (or other frameworks). Clearly, other categories are possible, too. Subject matter (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, etc) is just one possibility.
Knowledge is commonly distinguished from data and information. Data represent observations or facts out of context, and therefore not directly meaningful. Information results from placing data within some meaningful context, often in the form of a message. Knowledge is that which we come to believe and value based on the meaningfully organized accumulation of information (messages) through experience, communication or inference. Knowledge can be viewed both as a thing to be stored and manipulated and as a process of simultaneously knowing and acting - that is, applying expertise. As a practical matter, organizations need to manage knowledge both as object and process.
Knowledge can be tacit or explicit. Tacit knowledge is subconsciously understood and applied, difficult to articulate, developed from direct experience and action, and usually shared through highly interactive conversation, story-telling and shared experience. Explicit knowledge, in contrast, can be more precisely and formally articulated. Therefore, although more abstract, it can be more easily codified, documented, transferred or shared. Explicit knowledge is playing an increasingly large role in organizations, and it is considered by some to be the most important factor of production in the knowledge economy. Imagine an organization without procedure manuals, product literature, or computer software.