Intellectual Capital became popular in the early and mid 1990s. It is an instructive
aside to point out that knowledge management has exploded so rapidly that we
can already speak of its predecessor of only a few years ago in the past tense.
Intellectual Capital represents the awareness that information is a factor of
production, as economists would phrase it, in a category with land, labor, capital
and energy“.1 In the early and mid 1990s there was an increasing awareness in the
business community that knowledge was an important organizational resource
that needed to be nurtured, sustained, and if possible accounted for.
Intellectual capital is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. It is also the ideas or understandings which an entity possesses that are used to take effective action to achieve the entity’s goal(s). This intellectual capital is specific to the entity which created it.
Knowledge Management is now becoming the hottest topic to hit librarianship in
the last quarter century. It may well surpass online searching, the previous record
hot topic. There are various definitions for Knowledge Management – one good
one is „the broad process of locating, organizing, and transferring, and using the
information and expertise within an organization“, another is „the process of
capturing a company’s collective expertise“.
Knowledge management is in effect being presented as the antidote to the trust
lost and to the knowledge lost in ill conceived and ill executed rightsizings when
valuable employees were let go, with their knowledge going with them, and with a
reservoir of mistrust and insecurity left behind.
Guidelines for the Librarian
Some guidelines for use in Seeking a Larger Role in Knowledge Management:
– You can make a contribution in regard to tacit knowledge (a hot topic), but
describe your potential role as enhancing access to it. Be very careful about
suggesting that you will capture it and organize it. Don’t get tarred with the
brush of artificial intelligence.
– Emphasize knowledge sharing and collaboration.
– Use the Knowledge Capital Components metaphor:
Knowledge Resources + Social Capital + Infrastructure
Librarians certainly have major contributions to make in both knowledge
resources and in infrastucture. In social capital, the library is often perceived
as a neutral and non threatening institution in which one may place one’s
– Knowledge Management will be an exiting process. It is not something we
want to be left out of. For a librarian to be left out of the knowledge
management may well result in being left out of the organization. That may
sound dire, and it is, but it is the flip side of great opportunity.
Knowledge management and intellectual capital are not one and the same, contrary to what is implied by some of the literature. Some overlap is apparent, but the relationship is far from simple and clearly justifies exploration. Early attempts at alignment perceived KM as the implementation, as IC promotes value- i.e. acknowledgment, reporting assets etc.
Intellectual capital رأس المال الفكري
If you like more, try to read one of the articles in Arabic about this issue