People Folksonomy


The way i see it, there are two important components of KM … content and people. While the focus is now moving towards people, this is understandable not just because of the capabilities which web 2.0 tools are bringing, but also from the perspective that all knowledge is directly or indirectly tacit, originates in the heads of people. So content can find its roots in the minds of people, and is basically articulation of the knowledge of people.

If we take this understanding forward, then another thought comes up. Today, with content repositories, whether they be documents or webpages, the idea of folksonomy is well-developed. So most corporate repositories have a defined taxonomy which is supplemented by folksonomy to classify content. At the same time, there are also expert locator systems which help us find people who are experts in specific areas. What emerges if we combine the two? What we could be looking at is a scenario where, in addition to a pre-defined taxonomy defining the areas of expertise of people, there is also the functionality to enable users to add tags to people to define the areas they feel the people are experts at, or the areas they feel people are interested in.

What this is saying is simply this … most organizations have an employee directory. These directories have some taxonomy which describes the areas in which people work, their areas of expertise and so on. In addition to this, there could also be functionality where anyone in the organization could specify the areas they think people would be interested in, or the areas they think people have some knowledge in, which could enable discovery of people, expert location in an informal way, if you will, in a much easier way. Does this mean you would find people being tagged as morons? I dont think so. If it were so, you would find similar kind of tagging for content, but i dont think that happens.

Question that comes then is, whats the benefit of this added functionality? Wouldnt the pre-defined taxonomy for people be enough? To an extent, yes. But pre-defined taxonomy usually identifies the areas people are working on now. But most people have a multi-dimensional work or expertise profile, and may have worked in a number of areas before now, which means that there could be quite a bit of expertise or knowledge which may not be identified with this pre-defined taxonomy (it may or may not be directly related to what they are working on, or it may not even be related to work … for example, someone may be a photographer, or a writer), but could be identified more easily with inputs from people in the organization.

Do you think this adds value to the existing web 2.0 tools? Please do leave your comments.

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