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Knowledge management efforts have much value as pointers to humans

Typically we think of knowledge management as the collection of documents and other material – guidelines, checklists, alternative clauses – that someone might find helpful (See my post of March 5, 2005 on altruistic information sharing.). Another value of knowledge management repositories like these is discussed in Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 49, Winter 2008 at 16. The article makes the point that not only does the material itself have value, but also that it points to a person who knows about the documents and the practice area.

Indeed, the human connection may be even more valuable. In a law department, knowing whom to call about a problem may be much more useful than a cold and sterile document. Furthermore, lawyers will not feel as compelled to write erudite documents or spend time polishing their submissions if they know that what they contribute is a pointer to them (See my posts of March 23, 2007 on office proximity and knowledge transfer; March 23, 2006 on business intelligence compared to knowledge management; July 21, 2005 on knowledge brokering; Feb. 25, 2007 on knowledge preservation through video recording; and Nov. 6, 2006 on organizational network analysis.).