Knowledge vs. content management
Depending on whom you talk to, knowledge management can encompass everything from chat rooms to business analysis tools, making an exact definition hard to pin down. Especially blurry is the distinction between knowledge
management and its information-control cousin, content
"Content management is really about moving documents through the entire process of drafting, approval and publishing," said Tony Byrne, principal and founder of CMSWatch, owned by CMSWorks Inc. Knowledge management "is not just the document itself, but how users are interacting with that document."
Because both strategies center around handling content, the two are inextricably linked in terms of software and practices, he said. Content management "has traditionally been a software category in search of better disciplines, design patterns and universally acknowledged good practices. [Knowledge management] has traditionally been an intellectual discipline in search of good software."
Byrne said that knowledge management software has historically revolved around search and retrieval tools, which users sometimes find unsatisfying. "This has inevitably led search vendors on a Sisyphean quest for better search technologies, which, unfortunately, never seem to keep up with the growing volume and complexity of content produced by the enterprise," he said. "More recently, the [knowledge management] community has glommed onto collaboration tools to support communities of practice."
Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.