Knowledge Management: From Documents to Organizational Memories
Prof. Dr. Andreas Dengel
DFKI GmbH Kaiserslautern/Germany


A document is the principal mode of preserving and transporting knowledge through time and space. Documents are both sources of information as well as a means for directions and therefore an integrally part of the knowledge society as well as the foundation for individual and complex decisions. The information they contain can be for example the basis for satisfying potential customers, for defining a common understanding, for assessing facts and interrelationships, for establish-ing valuable contacts, for planning new products or education in an as yet un-known area. The demand-oriented coverage and usage of documents, whether they are printed books, business letters, emails or Web pages, are essential for both the in-dividual learning organisations as well as global societies. Information in documents is often unfortunately only restrictedly available and much too insufficiently relevance-based for use in the context of interests, tasks or functions. For example if a colleague leaves a company, not only does his special-ist knowledge go with him but also he often also leaves a dearth of information. Where the human interface is missing, many important documents just lie around unnoticed in archives, file systems, databases or on the internet. This situation im-plicates high costs and seriously affects business and also economic competitive-ness. The talk discusses the existing situation and reveals exemplary possibilities as well as future perspectives on how documents can be rendered more accessible and useful through technological means as active knowledge elements.