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Volker Wulf

Volker Wulf is Associate Professor at the University of Siegen, Senior Researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology, and Head of the International Institute for Socio-Informatics, Bonn.

Titles by This Editor

The concept of social capital, or the value that can be derived from social ties created by goodwill, mutual support, shared language, common beliefs, and a sense of mutual obligation, has been applied to a number of fields, from sociology to management. It is only lately, however, that researchers in information technology and knowledge management have begun to explore the idea of social capital in relation to their fields. This collection of thirteen essays by computer scientists, sociologists, communication specialists, economists, and others presents a multidisciplinary look at this particular intersection of information technology and social science and the need to adopt a sociotechnical perspective.For the most part the contributors take a positive view of the interplay of social capital, knowledge sharing, and community building. Some essays look at specific instances, including the on-line and face-to-face relationships of a community of athletes, the building of social capital among Iranian NGOs, and the Internet-based communities created by the open-source movement, while others discuss more general ideas of civic and personal communities. The last four essays examine computer applications that augment social capital, including topic- and member-centered communications spaces such as the Expert Finder and the Loops system and virtual repositories of knowledge such as the Answer Garden and Pearls of Wisdom.

Beyond Knowledge Management

The field of knowledge management focuses on how organizations can most effectively store, manage, retrieve, and enlarge their intellectual properties. The repository view of knowledge management emphasizes the gathering, providing, and filtering of explicit knowledge. The information in a repository has the advantage of being easily transferable and reusable. But it is not easy to use decontextualized information, and users often need access to human experts.This book describes a more recent approach to knowledge management, which the authors call "expertise sharing." Expertise sharing emphasizes the human aspects--cognitive, social, cultural, and organizational--of knowledge management, in addition to information storage and retrieval. Rather than focusing on the management level of an organization, expertise sharing focuses on the self-organized activities of the organization’s members. The book addresses the concerns of both researchers and practitioners, describing current literature and research as well as offering information on implementing systems. It consists of three parts: an introduction to knowledge sharing in large organizations; empirical studies of expertise sharing in different types of settings; and detailed descriptions of computer systems that can route queries, assemble people and work, and augment naturally occurring social networks within organizations.