Purpose – This paper proposes enhancing libraries to act as knowledge management centers for small businesses, providing both knowledge management (KM) and competitive intelligence (CI) services. Design/methodology/approach – The requirements for a Library Knowledge Management Center (LKMC) are presented and briefly examined. KM, CI, ontologies, and the Semantic Web are all considered, and the steps needed to realize a LKMC are presented. Findings – An approach to developing a LKMC is provided, as is a rationale for the proposal. Future research issues for realization of this proposal are addressed. Research limitations/implications – This paper presents a conceptual overview of a project that is still in its early stages, and as such its practicality is difficult to evaluate. Practical implications – This proposal, if followed up with future research, will prove beneficial to both small business and to libraries. Small businesses are not always able to gather sufficient internal and external knowledge to assist in strategic planning and positioning, and thus are unable to compete with larger rivals whose resources allow them to develop sophisticated KM and CI systems. LKMCs hold promise to level the playing field. Libraries benefit because this reaffirms their relevance in a digital age in which so much information is freely available to patrons. Originality/value – This paper proposes a new service for libraries, one that will assist small businesses in competing more effectively with larger competitors.
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