When working with knowledge it is more useful to picture an ecology, than to envision a library - think links, relationships & flow rather than collections, classification & objects
The Meaning of Knowledge Ecology
Knowledge Ecology represents a fundamental shift in current thinking, moving away from a knowledge management (KM) focus on "bottom line" challenges of assessing, organizing, leveraging and profiting from knowledge towards a more social or "community" orientated paradigm, utilizing the synergy between technology and human intellect / innovation
Knowledge Ecology (KE) is a metaphor, a perspective, a design approach, an emergent paradigm and a field of study that recognizes the importance of relationships, the diversity of knowledge forms and types, and centrality of community when working with knowledge. It is ecological in the sense that the best models that we have for organizational designs that create, sustain, and foster the growth of knowledge are natural "learning organizations", for example, ecosystems, brains, plant and animal 'communities'.
"Knowledge ecology" (KE) is an interdisciplinary field of management theory and practice, focused on the relational and social aspects of knowledge creation and utilization. Its primary study and domain of action is the design and support of self-organizing knowledge ecosystems, in which information, ideas, and inspiration cross-fertilize and feed on each other.
For more information about KE, please look up the Knowledge Ecology section of CoIL's Knowledge Garden http://www.co-i-l.com/coil/knowledge-garden/kd/index.shtml
The leverage of KE is:
Its focus on culture, social practices and relationships when working with, developing, exchanging or applying knowledge. This focus inherently facilitates behaviors understood to be needed for the development of "learning organizations".
The recognition that knowledge creation, meaning and use are dynamic processes that emerge from interactions between people in communities and social structures. These processes loose a measure of quality, quantity and value when they are captured (turned into information) in objects & structures other than functionally interacting groups & organizations.
The Core Idea of Knowledge Ecology (from CoIL)
Individuals and organizations can intentionally craft developing and evolving webs of relationship in which to embed and preserve the evanescent knowledge that is always inherent (and has always been inherent) in our conscious cooperation together. The preservation of evanescent knowledge is recognized as learning. Organizations that successfully exhibit this behavior are "learning organizations."
Using the leverage of Knowledge Ecology - putting "living systems" thought and "living systems of thought" into practice - the higher purpose we hope to serve is:
To transform existing organizations to model what is possible in a complex, living, learning systems.
To facilitate the emergence of our individual and collective capacity for constructive, creative action in ourselves and the organizations in which we participate.
To manifest our aspirations more effectively than "old paradigm" approaches, actually increasing what is possible and collectively enabling our endeavors to provide the value that our individual potentials only promise.
Through design and practices consistent with this thinking, we can increase the intelligence, the knowledge creation possibilities, the sustainable action capacities which will result in continual increases in knowledge and its application for individuals and for our human institutions.
For a deeper discussion see: Contrasting KE & KM at my KmWiki
I'm keen to hear your thoughts and views on this