Re: Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations #extraction #definition

John Carney

I have only recently joined this Forum - after a number of years absence in formally working in the KM field - but seeing a name I recognise on the post (Hi Nick ;-)) has motivated me to contribute.  Re the information vs (explicit) knowledge language debate it's an intractable issue for me and there will never be a right or wrong response, I think what's important is clarity of understanding in dealing with non expert 'clients' for want of a better term and speaking personally my observation is that the ambiguity is unhelpful. I have seen many strategy documents in Government that use the terms interchangeably that then confuses what folk are practically meant to do. I prefer to talk about IM and people/ social learning approaches - the latter being my predominant interest. I do accept that for most KM has now become synonymous with IM 

Recognising that having only just joined this party it feels a tad  disingenuous of me to challenge the very phrase that brings us together ;-) but I have always found the term Knowledge Management largely unhelpful to our cause - indeed I squirm with embarrassment when I have to introduce myself as KM Lead for Dstl as it doesn't really convey either what I think I am trying to do or what is attractive to the audience 
I think some of the early commentators like Peter Drucker got it right when they spoke about the importance of managing people . In my context ( I respect that others might be different) the KM challenge remains a leadership one IMO. 

I look forward to future interactions - in particular the peer assist discussion on learning lessons (thank you)  - another example where there are multiple interpretations of the phrase 

Kind Regards (and Happy New Year) John 

On 16 Jan 2021, at 09:21, Nick Milton <nick.milton@...> wrote:

In my view, codified knowledge can be seen as BOTH knowledge AND information as far as our management systems are concerned.


It is Information in as much as it is a document, video or other file which can be handled within information management systems, and which therefore falls underneath the umbrella of an information management system.


It is knowledge in as much as it can convey understanding, know-how and the ability to make effective decisions, from one person to another, and therefore falls underneath the umbrella of a knowledge management system (using the term “system” to mean “system of management” rather than IT system).


I know many people see “information” and “knowledge” as two mutual exclusive descriptors, but there is no reason why this should be the case. We are used to thinking this way, but there is no logical basis for it that I can see.


I would therefore submit that the category “codified knowledge” can be seen as a clear example of something that is both categories.


More on the idea here


Nick Milton
Knoco Ltd



From: <> On Behalf Of Murray Jennex via
Sent: 16 January 2021 01:36
To: fred@...;
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


at the risk of sounding obnoxious, I have to ask why codified knowledge is information?  its still knowledge, just well understood knowledge.  For example, just because we well understand the knowledge of how fire works and causes burns does not make that information, it is still knowledge...murray

-----Original Message-----
From: Fred Nickols <fred@...>
Sent: Fri, Jan 15, 2021 12:24 pm
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations

I agree, Chris.  Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been codified.  It is indeed information.


Fred Nickols


From: <> On Behalf Of Chris Collison
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2021 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


I’m with you Fred.

...and from my perspective (which not everyone shares!), I would add that explicit knowledge = information.




From: <> on behalf of bill@... <bill@...>
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2021 7:57:21 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


Hi Fred


I say the following knowing the risk with which I am placing myself 😊…never been a fan of “implicit” and so I am not a fan of Polanyi’s definition.  My point, based on years of practical consulting application, is that “tacit” knowledge can be elicited, harvested, captured and distilled to make it searchable, findable, accessible and usable/reusable. There is a skill and craft involved IMO. My definition of knowledge is based on the concept that it consists of information and experience = knowledge. For practical, not academic or theoretical application, this simple, practical definition I find has meaning in a business or operational environment.  This has been my experience.






From: <> On Behalf Of Fred Nickols via
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2021 11:22
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


FWIW, in relation to Bill’s use of “explicit” and “tacit,” I find a third category useful; namely, “implicit.”  I define “implicit” as knowledge which hasn’t been articulated but can be.  Tacit, by Polanyi’s definition, can’t be articulated.  And explicit, of course is knowledge that has been articulated.


When it comes to capturing implicit knowledge, lots of folks have been doing that for many years.  You will find them in the training and human performance community.


For more, see a piece I wrote for the KM Yearbook (2000-2001).





Fred Nickols, Consultant


My Objective is to Help You Achieve Yours





From: <> On Behalf Of bill@...
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2021 10:41 AM
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


Dear Colleagues


Been enjoying this timeless discussion on K capture and the extended inference about tacit knowledge and the subtleties of human language in the sharing in the context of the below thread.


Believe it is generally recognized that technology cannot yet get what is one person’s mind and transfer it to another person’s mind. At the heart of the issue, I believe, is the skill set that is required to capture or better said, to elicit what someone knows or can share, to distill and make sense of that knowledge whether it be explicit or tacit, and then to characterize it for reuse within an organization (fit for purpose and context relevant) and then to make is searchable, findable, downloadable, and usable/reusable.

I believe that this is a reasonable approach to as stated below “…to study KM processes, identify patterns and see if technology can address that in a narrow sense.” 








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From: <> On Behalf Of Sam Yip via
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2021 21:41
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Model of an intelligent knowledge extraction in organizations


We are still very far from seeing any AI technology that can intelligently extract human knowledge in a broad sense. A main challenge is that of data, and in particular textual data.  Data has to be structured in a certain format to be consumed by an AI machine, but in the case of textual data, the number of permutation and subtleties in human language makes this task tremendously difficult. But perhaps the biggest challenge is the limitation of computation power. The most powerful computer today has roughly 1 billion neural connections/synapses, similar to the amount of synapses that a honey bee has vs 100-150 trillion synapses of a human brain. It has been suggested by computer scientists that we are actually just approaching bee-level intelligence, and we are not even there yet. 

That said, AI should be sophisticated enough for a focussed application, especially if it’s built around narrow use cases and trained for specific domains. e.g. the technology to recognise and extract names/entities from homogenous, unstructured text is fairly advanced, and so is the ability for a machine to auto-index/classify documents and textual data. Information extracted as such, combined with data visualisation techniques, will go a long way in enhancing the comprehension of what’s contained in an organization's textual data, and that is a possible KM angle you can look into. 

Instead of looking at broad ways “to extract automatically all types of knowledge in an organization” (I don't think this exists), it might be worthwhile to study KM processes, identify patterns and see if technology can address that in a narrow sense. 

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