How to study for comps…

Following are tips for the successful completion of comprehensive exams…

6 areas to blend and synthesize: philosophical and theoretical foundations; organization and control of info; analysis of user services; management; acquiring and accessing info; application of research methods. Buzzwords “theory”; “organization”; “users”; “management”; “access and acquire”; “research”

4 objectives for exam: organize and synthesize content from classes; test knowledge in specific subjects; ability to solve problems; establish and defend positions on current issues, trends and problems in our field.

Aids to writing: understanding of related literature, cite relevant authorities, theories, important literature or other supporting evidence

Read the question! Assumptions will kill you! First read through the selection of questions and reflect on the subjects, then select 3 questions. Briefly outline answers to all 3 questions. Plan your time. Reread the question and your answer to ensure clarity and completeness.

Structure of essays: 5 “sections”, including thesis statement and intro; 3 supporting areas with most important point listed first, followed by an elaboration or explanation of it; and concluding paragraph. Discuss whether the topic is a big deal that affects many or not so big with a limited affect. Could include a model, theory, chronology, categories, scale, i.e. whether big or not as noted above. Include info from different courses. Solve a problem by establishing and defending a position. Offer advantages and disadvantages.



More comps review…

As noted below… If you are an information professional, can you hold your own in a discussion about these topics?

Communities of Practice: self-organized, deliberate collaboration of people who share common practices and interests and want to advance their knowledge; informal networks where tips are exchanged and ideas generated; fly fishing example

Internet filtering software issues are access and security trade-off AND productivity. Disadvantages include way that management perceives an increase of productivity and regulation of activities but really promotes distrust, i.e. not supportive of a learning organization, ALSO amount of time and attention, i.e. resources, from IT to monitor this ALSO blocks info needed by employees, i.e. access, ALSO affects knowledge sharing. Benefits include increased technical security, and management of content available to employees. Censorship and legal ramifications are that it may violate ALA core values and court has set precedence about ways to protect constitutional rights. Criteria for selecting appropriate software would be to create an RFP and follow organizational protocol and values for selection process.

Why a professional code of ethics? To provide standard policies and procedures to ensure equal treatment, access, service, etc…

Current ethical dilemmas: Intellectual freedom; intellectual property, OAJ; digital divide; Patriot Act; censorship, i.e, PICO; Print vs. digital and preservation, i.e. maintain all media; content filtering.

 Leadership styles: autocratic (authority and obedience); custodial (security and passivity); supportive (employee participation and performance); and collegial (teamwork and self-realization). Collegial works best for a learning organization, as evidenced by Klein and Sauders’ book “10 Steps to a Learning Organization” and Peter Senge’s book “The Fifth Discipline” and his concept of self-mastery and emotional intelligence. Get out of hierarchical decision-making mode and into knowledge sharing mode so management and staff buy-into it.

Security precautions for disasters: part of a large info security plan; preparedness; key = personnel with management backing and specific policies and procedures; disaster recovery plan to avoid panic; printed copy of plans in hand of all key personnel; footprint of physical equipment; off-site back-up

Ways to determine how “good” a document or website is: date of creation/update; author; peer-review/authority; history/longevity of publication or website; facework, i.e. links or citations; were found, i.e. academic database or wikipedia; accuracy; sponsors; objectivity and coverage, i.e. what it is about and how in-depth it is.

Info professional’s role in promoting ethical access to and use of both print and digital materials: ALA’s core value of preservation; mixed with access and diversity, i.e. digital divide; service, i.e. information literacy, help person to frame their question to help them find what they need and educating user 

As an info professional in a professional setting, if someone asks you for medical or legal advice, what help can you give them and why? More important what you DON’T do—don’t give professional advice in area that is not your profession; Help users identify and frame the question so we can lead them to the sources they need; information literacy and showing user how to find it; help user judge authority

Controlled vocabularies vs. natural language: compare in terms of precision/recall; ambiguity; flexibility; and learning time for users. Academic databases vs. Google; learning how to access controlled vocabulary and precise results vs. mass of info provided in natural language; Google offers flexibility.

Intellectual freedom: The right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas. 

Information Life Cycle: creation, storage, organization, indexing or retrieval


Cramming for comps…

Following are major topics I’m reviewing for knowledge management comprehensive exams. As knowledge professionals, can you hold your own in a discussion about these topics?

Open Access (PKP and OAJ, i.e. Stanford University, University of British Columbia, Simon Frasier Library, and Willinsky)

“10 Steps to a Learning Organization” by Klein and Saunders: assess, promote the positive, create a safe environment, reward risk-taking, use people as resources for each other, put learning power to work, map the vision, bring the vision to life, connect the systems, and get the show on the road

Organizational Learning: Everyone is a learner; create organizational excitement to learn

ALA core values: access, confidentiality/privacy, democracy, diversity, education/lifelong learning, intellectual freedom, public good, preservation, professionalism, service, and social responsibility

Intellectual freedom legislation: PICO vs. Board of Education, 1982; Patriot Act; Federal Privacy Act, 1974; Electronic Communication Privacy Act; HIPPA, 1996; Security and Freedom through Encryption Act; Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Intellectual property legislation: Copyright Act of 1976; Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998; Fair Use, 2007

Information Security:

CIA = confidentiality + Integrity + Availability

SDLS = investigate, analyze, logic design, physical design, implement, maintenance

Firewalls = Host, network and content

Social engineering

Risk Contol Strategies = Avoidance, transference, mitigation, acceptance

Cost-Benefit analysis = evaluate information assets vs. cost of security (favorite color vs. proprietary software)


Security threat (purposeful or unintentional) vs. attack

Need for education and training

Access vs. security trade-off

Know yourself, know your enemy and know responsibilities of different areas of the organization, ie. value of information

“The Long Tail”: Book by Chris Anderson; Article by Tim O’Reilly; Marketing to the masses—not to major players, i.e. selling less to more (Netscape, Netflix, Ebay, and major Internet advertisers vs. Page and Brin’s Google and banner ads with lifestyle analysis)

KM = people + process + technology

Main drivers in KM: information overload; maintain competitive advantage; knowledge loss; complexity of knowledge domain; managing and dealing with change; achieving organizational efficiency; dealing with communication problems; and reinventing the wheel syndrome.

 Authority (James Neal and “Taming the Wolves”) and potential downside of open source and user created products

User developed products vs. authority (Wikipedia)

Management Buy-In vs. Grass roots

Intellectual property: codified; copyright, trade secrets, trademark, and patents

Tactic vs. explicit knowledge: brain drain, knowledge sharing, documentation, intellectual property

Explicit knowledge = documented and formal; easier to identify; reusable and consistent and repeatable manner; stored in paper or computer; identified, measured, distributed and audited

Tacit knowledge = undocumented and informal; exists in people’s minds; personal; context-specific; hard to formalize and communicate; intuitions; rules of thumb; mindsets; unwritten rules of turf and territory; unconscious values; trivial to fundamental; shared through experiences. Problems = hard to identify and quantify; misleading because it depends on perception; hard to change traditional attitudes in knowledge culture; difficult to communicate; situational

Cultural knowledge: “traditional” and collective knowledge of the organization and is not effected by employee attrition


Web 2.0: attitude not a technology; participation vs. silos and gatekeepers; platform-based vs. software-based—always beta; constant change, updating and improvement; customizable services, i.e. RSS (Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary) feeds; user-developed services; multi-media; portability, i.e. Google documents; blogosphere;  and brick and mortar vs. virtual, i.e. Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon

Social networking: Facebook; LinkedIn; MySpace; Twitter; Texting; Instant messaging; Flickr; Blogging; Wikis; 

Digital divide: culture; government; age; economic; racial; location; information literacy

Sadly, the vacation is over…

It happens to all of us. The holidays. The semester break. An escape from the reality of thinking… and writing… and sharing information. 

The advent of a new semester means a return to blogging. How soon we forget our dangling conversations, until the Doc reminds us that people are out there lurking. So, for those who are… this post is a way of promising you and myself that I’ll come back from vacation.

Managing Knowledge

If you’re wondering why there has been a lapse in my posting…  I’ve been VERY busy managing knowledge–MY OWN!

All my creative and reflective thoughts have been pre-empted by a gazillion papers and projects, and an attempt to learn Dreamweaver and design the ICKM 2008 website.

This year Thanksgiving comes December 8 at my house! A paper I’m writing for Dr. Brown’s online research methods class, which discusses the differences between Zipf’s theory of Least Effort and Marcia Bates theory of Berrypicking as they relate to online searching, will be my LAST for the semester. It’s due due December 7. 

As far as communication and knowledge management is concerned… I AM Just Communicating! …everything I’ve learned this semester in deliverables to my professors within the next few weeks. 

Old school or new? Memorize or retrieve?

I’m struggling. Which is most important for a fifth-grader:  1.) to carry in one’s head the obscure facts that unlike the Cherokee Indians, the Iroquois lived in longhouses and ate roots or  2.) to aquire the skill to evaluate and select authoritative online information  from websites like in order to access that type of information when needed?

This weekend I waged this mental war while helping my son with a joint social studies and literary art project. I was struck by the number of resources he was asked to find and facts he needed to memorize in order to obtain a satisfactory grade. I found myself clinching my jaw and biting my tongue in opposition to the way he was required to complete his task, knowing full well this old school mentality is totally counter-intuitive to current knowledge base learning and information retrieval. Are we teaching facts or skills? Are we giving our children food or teaching them how to farm?