A framework for evaluating knowledge-mapping tools, samuel driessen

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A framework for evaluating knowledge-mapping tools
Samuel Driessen, Willem-Olaf Huijsen and Marjan Grootveld

Abstract Purpose – This article describes the knowledge-mapping framework the authors designed based on their theoretical and practical research on knowledge mapping. It also shows the practical use of the Framework for companies interested in knowledge-mapping tools.Design/methodology/approach – In the first place the authors position their research in the context of knowledge management and knowledge-mapping research and practice. An example of their practical research on knowledge mapping is given as a preliminary step to describe their knowledge-mapping framework. The use of this framework is illustrated. Finally, the authors validate their framework against a number ofcommercially available tools with knowledge-mapping functionality. Findings – The authors found that their framework is useful, insightful and robust when applied to new knowledge-mapping tools/functionality. Research limitations/implications – The important issue how to embed knowledge-mapping tools in organizations is not considered to be in the scope of this article. Practical implications – Basedon concrete examples the authors illustrate the practical implications of their knowledge-mapping framework for companies. The Framework can be used for defining knowledge-mapping tool requirements, the assessment and comparison of commercial tools, and the assessment of available knowledge in an organization. Originality/value – Knowledge mapping and its use have been a research issue for sometime. Companies have also adopted knowledge-mapping tools to support and stimulate knowledge sharing in their organizations and to help employees find the expertise they are looking for. But no research has been done on how to help companies decide what kind of knowledge-mapping tool they need or how any tools they already have can be combined in a knowledge-mapping tool. This article describes aunique and new Framework the authors devised to help companies do just that. Keywords Knowledge management, Knowledge mapping, Decision support systems Paper type Research paper

Samuel Driessen is based ´ at Oce-Technologies, Venlo, The Netherlands. Willem-Olaf Huijsen and Marjan Grootveld are based at the Telematica Instituut, Enschede, The Netherlands.

1. Introduction
Over the years articlesand papers have appeared about knowledge mapping and its use, e.g. Wexler (2001); Eppler (2001); Huijsen et al. (2004b). Not too many papers have been written on how you actually build a knowledge-mapping tool and, most importantly, on how to embed this tool in your organization. Least of all, papers have been written on how a company decides what kind of knowledge-mapping tool it wants or needs.This issue is the topic of this article, because there are many kinds of knowledge-mapping tools. Essentially, however, they can be summarized in one clear framework. The purpose of this article is to present such a framework and show its use in practice. This Framework was designed based on several years of extensive theoretical research and practical implementations, mainly within the Metisknowledge-management project[1]. Definitions of knowledge management abound. In the authors’ view the objective of knowledge management is to transform organizations with just smart people to smart, knowledge-productive organizations. The ability to gather information, generate new knowledge, disseminate and apply this knowledge to improve and innovate is an organization’s knowledge productivity(Kessels, 2001). Of these abilities, particularly

DOI 10.1108/13673270710738960

VOL. 11 NO. 2 2007, pp. 109-117, Q Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1367-3270

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JOURNAL OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

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PAGE 109

information gathering benefits from knowledge mapping. Knowledge mapping is about making the knowledge that is available within an organization transparent and is about...
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