Recently in Noted Category

January 21, 2003

Boxes and Arrows Favorite books

I adore book lists, especially ones that are more like annotated bibliographies. The web design journal Boxes and Arrows published a wonderfully eclectic list of their favorite books for 2002.

September 9, 2002

Digging deeper into knowledge hoarding

Digging deeper into knowledge hoarding.

Something tells my intuition that we're not framing things correctly when we get wrapped up in discussions of the appropriate reward systems/incentives needed to encourage knowledge sharing. It's encouraging to see the beginnings of some research data, but I remain suspicious. I suspect that we still need to get a more nuanced understanding of knowledge work and knowledge sharing before we can draw any good conclusions. Right now, I think the reports we're getting are the same low quality data we'd get out of focus groups. I'd like to see some data on what people do about knowledge sharing as opposed to what they say.

Are Rewards the Answer?. Ernie and Rick correctly identify the problem within US law firms—the lack of motivation among lawyers to share their knowledge. There are many reasons, monetary and non-monetary, why lawyers are unwilling or reluctant to share their intellectual capital. To understand why this is, I believe you have to look at the intrinsic disincentives within US law firms, before you can even think about ways to incentivize lawyers.

Hazel Hall, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing in Edinburgh, Scotland, has conducted some of the best knowledge sharing studies I've read to date. In Devising Intranet Incentives: Rewards and Conditions for Knowledge Exchange, Hall lists several oft-heard excuses for hoarding knowledge within organizations. Remarkably, they all sound similar to what lawyers say:

My time is better spent generating revenue for the firm
I'm too busy to learn how to use the technology
It's not my job
I'm not rewarded for it
I'm not measured on it
The work is confidential
Why should I willingly hand over my work product
I don't have anything of value to share
I share my knowledge in other ways
I like to work alone
What's in it for me?

In Sharing Capability: the Development of a Framework to Investigate Knowledge Sharing in Distributed Organizations, Hall discusses motivational incentives in the form of rewards (Note: the parenthetical references are mine).

Hard rewards (i.e., money):

financial rewards (salary, bonus, extra vacation days, laptops, Blackberries, etc.)
access to information and knowledge (sharing clients contacts)
career advancement (more interesting work, promotion to partner)

Soft rewards (i.e., ego)

enhanced reputation (being considered an expert in a practice group)
personal satisfaction (altruism, praise, flattery, etc.)

In order to encourage knowledge transfer within a law firm, the disincentives must be eliminated, or at the very least, substituted with some other motivational factor. That motivational factor just may be in the form of rewards.
[excited utterances]

August 26, 2002

Techbargins: useful place to keep track of cheap tech has - um - bargains on tech stuff.  Looks useful; I'll try it the next time I have money to spend on tech stuff.

This page says that the folks who run this do this mostly as a labor of love.  They do accept ads, and they do accept products for review, but they claim they aren't biased.  In any case, the main feature of the site is factual information - who's selling what cheap for how long.

August 13, 2002

Weblogs in education

Useful introduction to weblogs in education. I hate the name they gave to it: Edublogs. (On first glance, I thought they said Edublobs.)

August 7, 2002

Dreamweaver Standard

Dreamweaver Standard.

The State of Utah is currently putting together a standards document that will help develop more coordination and interoperability between its departments.  Guidance levels are defined as follows:

Approved: An Approved standard is critical to the Enterprise and will be enforced. The numbers of standards in this category will be minimal.


Best Practices: A Best Practices standard produces superior results for the enterprise.

Agencies are accountable to justify a departure from best practice standards.


De Facto: A De Facto standard identifies choices that are widely accepted because of widespread use within the enterprise whether or not they qualify for an actual Best Practices designation.


Sustained: A Sustained standard indicates a standard or practice that no longer shows

promise but is still used or even expanded because of a prior standards solution.


Migrate From: A Migrate From designation refers to a standard or practice that has been abandoned for a better solution. It is not a favored standard yet continues to be in use around the enterprise. Organizations should plan to migrate away from solutions assigned with this designation


Emerging: Emerging standards may have future value within the enterprise but have

proven no specific benefit at the time. The enterprise may be conducting a pilot project to establish the potential benefits and risks of selecting this standard.

A standard for web design and development has now been defined.  Dreamweaver is listed as the defacto standard, although some agencies still use things like FrontPage.  Standard web development kit items can be found on the State's Enterprise Development Group site.  Matt Brown has put together an excellent Dreamweaver Blog.

[David Fletcher's Government and Technology Weblog] 

August 6, 2002

Udell: moving from to inforworld

Jon Udell has written a note about moving his site from to Infoworld. [Jon's Radio]

August 2, 2002

Content addressable web?

This makes me recall blog posts to the Open Content Network I'd seen awhile back. Sounds like a little bit of the HTTP Extensions for a Content-Addressable Web and Content Mirror Advertisement Specification voodoo magic would hit the spot here.[0xDECAFBAD]

July 12, 2002

RSSifying script?

If Mark Baker's Tech Curmudgeon blog surrounded his items with
<span class="rss:item">mumble-mumble</span>
tags, he could use the RSSifying script at to create an RSS feed with the link
Mark Baker, Tech Curmudgeon.  Hey Mark, you got an rss.xml feed ?? [snellspace]

July 11, 2002

SICP Online