Beyond Knowledge Silos: Preserving and Sharing Institutional Knowledge in Academic Libraries

CHARBONNEAU, Deborah H. and PRIEHS, Michael and HUKILL, Graham (2016) Beyond Knowledge Silos: Preserving and Sharing Institutional Knowledge in Academic Libraries. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session S04 - Satellite Meeting: Knowledge Management. In: Sharing practices & actions for making best use of organizational knowledge in libraries, 12 August 2016, University of Cincinnati Libraries, Cincinnati, OH, USA.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1479
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Beyond Knowledge Silos: Preserving and Sharing Institutional Knowledge in Academic Libraries

Many academic environments tend to store information in “knowledge silos,” which are unproductive ways that compartmentalize knowledge and prohibit the sharing of ideas (Robson et al., 2003, p. 1). Preserving institutional knowledge is imperative for moving beyond these knowledge silos in order to effectively document the collective expertise and history of an organization. Institutional knowledge encompasses a vast array of areas ranging from tacit knowledge (i.e. expertise), implicit knowledge, explicit knowledge, to procedural knowledge (IFLA, KM Section, 2015). While the importance of retaining institutional knowledge has been recognized, best practices for preserving and sharing institutional knowledge in academic libraries warrant further investigation. In this paper, a number of promising strategies for engaging in knowledge-retention activities in academic libraries to help facilitate the preservation of institutional knowledge are addressed. First, the advantages and challenges associated with preserving and sharing institutional knowledge in academic libraries are discussed. Second, a number of concrete examples of initiatives undertaken at one large academic library system in an effort to retain and transfer institutional knowledge are shared. Third, a discussion of knowledge-retention efforts to help identify effective and promising strategies for academic libraries is proposed. Finally, the authors are uniquely situated within a University with an accredited School of Library and Information Science (LIS). As such, innovative ideas for how Schools of LIS can cultivate a culture of information professionals prepared to lead and implement best practices for preserving institutional knowledge are also highlighted. By engaging in a discussion about promising practices for retaining institutional knowledge in academic libraries, this paper aims to serve as a platform to generate ideas and identify best practices that other information professionals may apply at their own institutions.

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