Information and Knowledge Management
Knowledge is a common word, and so is information. They have similar concepts, but despite being frequently used interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing. They parallel each other in many ways, but they also have differences that give them distinct meanings and connotations.
Put simply, “information” is a term used to describe hard facts about a person, place, or thing that you have either learned first hand or have been provided by a credible source. Knowledge is a term used to describe facts, information, and skills that a person acquires through their own life experiences or education.
So, based on these definitions, information and knowledge management have their differences. However, they also have a lot of similarities.
The Relationship Between Information and Knowledge Management
The relationship between information management and knowledge management may seem obvious. They’re synonyms, right? Actually, it’s not so simple. The concepts are somewhat similar, but knowledge management is far simpler and easier to accomplish than knowledge management. Information management and knowledge management are two distinct activities that are handled differently and serve different purposes.
Similarities between information management and knowledge management
Before we detail the differences between information management and knowledge management, let’s look at a few similarities between information management and knowledge management.
Knowledge, at a basic level, is made up of a collection of information. Information and knowledge are both things you can learn, whether through first-hand experience, education, or just from someone you believe to be a reliable source. Information is a refined bit of data that you can apply with other information to a particular situation. Knowledge is the ability to do so. Anyone can use the information to refine their skills or influence how they handle future situations. Knowledge is your ability to be aware of this information and understand how you can apply it in a way that benefits you.
Key differences between information management and knowledge management
Additionally, the term knowledge implies understanding the subject at hand and an awareness of the matter. On the other hand, information is simply refined data that someone has gained. Therefore, merely possessing information does not mean that a person has necessarily learned anything.
For example, if I tell you that a dog’s heart usually weighs between 40 to 600g, this may be an interesting fact. However, it’s merely information, because there is no circumstance where this information would be practical and helpful unless you are a veterinarian.
However, if I provide a list of symptoms indicating a canine heart condition because you are worried about their health, this is knowledge. It’s knowledge because I offered you information that you can use to decide how likely it is that your dog needs immediate medical attention.
Information management is simply a company’s way of collecting, storing, and distributing data, facts, and statistics they find relevant. But information management does not explain what the facts and data actually mean. It doesn’t provide any personal insight or clues as to how it might be helpful. It can come in many formats and be acquired in a variety of ways.
No matter how much data you collect and distribute or how many people you distribute it to, it’s utterly useless if the recipients can’t use it for practical purposes.