Encyclopedia of Knowledge Management

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




Calvert, P. (2008), "Encyclopedia of Knowledge Management", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 426-427. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640470810880895



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This encyclopedia is intended primarily as a reference resource for student and faculty research in knowledge management (KM) and related disciplines. Chapters are generally four or five pages in length; they cover the essentials of the topic, plus there is always a useful bibliography for further exploration of the literature. The level of the content is about suited to advanced undergraduates, though first years will find some chapters useful, as will faculty looking at a topic for the first time. Every chapter concludes with a list of key terms used in the chapters. The most likely use of chapters in this volume would be as an initial reading in a course that requires students to do their own basic research into a topic in KM or to which KM is very relevant.

Articles in this encyclopedia have been divided into six broad categories, following lines of thought that could be expected. The six broad headings are:

  1. 1.

    Theoretical aspects of KM.

  2. 2.

    Processes of KM.

  3. 3.

    Organizational and social aspects of KM.

  4. 4.

    Managerial aspects of KM.

  5. 5.

    Technological aspects of KM.

  6. 6.

    Application‐specific KM.

In addition to a standard table of contents in page number order, a list of chapters by category is provided which groups the articles into the categories listed above and then further divides them into subcategories. This is a useful feature, especially given the varied nature of the articles included. Allowing the reader to locate chapters within one category or subcategory certainly improves the usability of the volume as a whole for otherwise the sheer number and range of topic could be overwhelming.

Some chapters provide just the sort of basic introduction to a topic that I would expect to find in a reference work: “Intellectual capital” by Hsu and Mykytyn, and “Organisational storytelling” by Connell are two examples. On the other hand, a chapter that takes the whole of KM and lumps it together with the equally broad and as yet still undefined subject of e‐learning is not something I need to find in a reference resource.

The editor David Schwartz, of Bar‐Ilan University, is certainly one of the leading writers on KM, which gives this encyclopedia a high level of credibility. A look through the other authors does not reveal many names of the leading lights in KM, however, which perhaps is a result of the means of gathering contributions for the encyclopedia, which was largely done by sending an open message, as I understand it. Perhaps once these Idea Group reference works are very well established (and they deserve to be) the editors will be in stronger position to commission chapters from the very biggest names in the field. Here are the numbers: the work has are over 170 contributors from 23 countries, there are 940 definitions of terms (always a useful feature of these encyclopedias), and more than 3,600 bibliographical references.

If a library purchases a print copy then it also gets free online access for the life of the edition. I recommend it for university libraries.

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