Active documents supporting knowledge sharing in knowledge- intensive cooperation
As the knowledge perspective has become more important and knowledge has been accepted as a resource with ever increasing importance for an organization's success, it has also changed the views on cooperation. Working in partnerships focused on supporting each other in creating and sharing knowledge seems to be an efficient way to reduce costs and enable synergistic effects. This has given rise to the knowledge-intensive cooperation as a special kind of cooperation. A huge amount of transferred knowledge in this kind of cooperation are shared, e.g., by transferring electronic documents. Today, organizations have the choice of a considerable number of knowledge management instruments to support humans to overcome timeor spatial-based barriers concerning knowledge transfer. These instruments can be bundled into complex enterprise knowledge infrastructure (EKI)1 suites. However, these have an organizational focus and are rarely prepared for knowledge that crosses organizational boundaries. Taking into account the considerable efforts for establishing EKIs, start up of an EKI specifically for knowledge-intensive cooperation is expensive, takes a lot of time and, in case of a network of multiple and changing partners, often is infeasible. The goal of this article is offering the concept of active documents as a way to overcome restrictions of EKI in knowledge sharing between organizational boundaries in knowledge-intensive cooperation. Using active documents makes it easy to start document-based knowledge sharing based on a more client perspective. Additionally it offers comfortable possibilities for automatic integration of those documents into a server based EKI in the future.
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