Re: Emergent Learning LO2126

John O'Neill (
Mon, 17 Jul 95 09:40:30 +1000

Replying to LO2101 --

> About tacit knowledge and databases, a suggestion :
> - we have people who know in a tacit way (the inspectors in the fleece
> story I submitted a week ago),
> - we have a database software (Access or whatever),
> - we want to keep track of this knowledge?

> Why don't we put in the database the names of the people who know? If I
> need the knowledge, I just find who "owns" it. And I ask the "owner" of
> this knowledge to use it for me.

> Maybe it looks a bit? ingenuous and not very sophisticated, but I
> noticed, in my consulting work, that the best solutions are usually the
> simplest.

Right on !!! Not only is this simple, it completely redefines the way we
think about and use information systems. Computers have traditionally been
built as *all knowing*, automated reasoning systems that can replace human
decision makers.

Real-world experience has shown that computers are very poor at the types
of decisions that people excel i.e. naturalistic decision-making in novel

The next generation of systems will support people-networks, and view work
as a social activity (rather than as an individual activity). Corporate
memories will not only provide information about what information was used
to solve a problem, but *who* supplied this information (and expertise).
The trick is not having to *know* everything yourself, but knowing who can
supply you with the information / resources required to solve a problem.

Why is Lotus Notes such an attractive product??? Technically it has many
flaws. What is does very well is provide a first attempt at showing how
people networks can be supported - this is something that the computer
press has a hard time articulating, and Microsoft just doesn't understand.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now - I just find this area very exciting. I'm
currently working in an area that is doing extensive research into these
types of systems, and the more I learn about the area (including
contributions to this list) the more interesting I find this approach.

John O'Neill
DSTO C3 Research Centre, Australia