Organisational climate change is here: memory curators in the digital age

Publication Date14 August 2017
AuthorAndrew James McFadzean
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
Organisational climate change is
here: memory curators in the
digital age
Andrew James McFadzean
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government,
Barton, Australia
Purpose This paper aims to describetwo themes of information and knowledge management in building
corporate memory through curation in complex systems. The rst theme describes the skillsets of new
memory curators:curation; appraisal; strategist and manager. The second theme describesfour concepts that
support information management in complex systems: David Snowdens just-in-time process; Polanyis
personalknowing; Wengers transactive memory system; and DavidSnowdens ASHEN database schema.
Design/methodology/approach Academic journals and professional publications were analysedfor
educationalrequirements for information professionalsin complex adaptive systems.
Findings The skills describedshould be readily applied and useful in a complex adaptivesystem with the
four concepts described. The four concepts displayed features indicating each separate concept could be
aligned and integrated with the other concepts to create an information sharing model based on synergy
between reasoningand computing.
Research limitations/implications Research is needed into the capability and potential of
folksonomies using recordkeepingmetadata and archival appraisal to support peer production information
and communicationsystems.
Originality/value The author has not found any research that links archival appraisal,user-generated
metadatatagging, folksonomies and transactive memory systemsgovernance policy to support digital online,
co-innovationpeer production.
Keywords Curation, Transactive memory systems, Archival appraisal, ASHEN, Personal knowing,
Recordkeeping informatics
Paper type Conceptual paper
1. Introduction: making sense of information in complex systems such as the
As the internet evolves, knowledge explosions, information overload and dark data have
made information andknowledge management more complex. The articleseeks to present a
solution to the problem of managing the volume, variety and velocity of information and
knowledge in the complex environment of the internet. There are many solutions to the
issues on the internet, and this is one solution. The speculation is supported by evidence-
based research and provides a broad survey of skills and concepts rather than a detailed
analysis. The article begins with the premise that the seemingly chaotic conditions of the
complex adaptive system of the internetare forcing changes to the concepts and practices of
information management[1]. This new organisational, business and social environment of
The author wishes to thank Calin Cobzaru, Dr Stuart Ferguson and Ms Barbara Reed for their
comments on the manuscript.
curators in the
digital age
Received 13 December 2016
Revised 10 March 2017
Accepted 14 April 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.47 No. 3, 2017
pp. 319-336
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-12-2016-0069
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Richard Floridas Creative Economy is founded on the globalised internet and digital social
media platforms (Snowden and Boone, 2007, pp. 70-76; Grant and Grant, 2016, pp. 35-36
and 273-274; Denning, 2014, p. 9). Informationprofessionals are working in an environment
in which there:
[...] is very limited knowledge of where information is moving to, where it is being fragmented,
where it is being duplicated, where it is disappearing, where it is now oshore and where it is now
controlled by third parties [...] it is genuinely going to be nancially, physically, logistically and
strategically impossible to keep all the information that is being created (Cumming and Villata,
2015, pp. 39-47; Roberts, 2015, pp. 128-130; Holtham, 2015, pp. 40-41; Garner, 2015, p. 150; McLeod
and Childs, 2013, pp. 104-108)[2].
The key question is how caninformation professionals use the growing volume,variety and
velocity of information to make sense and narrate change for organisationsand businesses
to remain competitive and meet the information needs of users in the chaotic and complex
environment of the internet[3]?
This article seeks to describe the educational-training requirements and supporting
concepts for drivingthe collective reasoning of peer-produced co-innovation,online research
projects. These skillsand concepts merge as a new synergy that will allow memory curators
to apply the meta-skills of making sense and narrating change to build corporate memory.
Memory curator is the name for the emergingtype of informationmanager who will manage
corporate memory. Corporate memory could be described as organisational knowing about
know-what; know-why; know-how;and know-who held and accessed in all media, including
the experiences of knowledgeworkers (Roberts, 2015, pp. 40-43). Corporate or organisational
memory must be redened for complex adaptive systems such as the internet[4]. In this
article, corporate memory can become the collective reasoning used in the process of peer
produced co-innovation online research projects. The skills described are information
curation; archival appraisal; and strategy and management. These skills are applied in a
complex environment inuencedby four concepts that are preconditionsfor the concepts to
David Snowdens complex domain of the Cynen knowledge management model;
Polanyis personal knowing;
Wengers transactive memory system; and
David Snowdens ASHEN database schema.
The skills and concepts described are not directlylinked as presented but exist concurrently
in the complex environment of the internet. The key point of this article is that memory
curators play the centralrole of striking a dynamic equilibrium that supports synergy rather
than competition between human reasoning and the emerging variations of computing
intelligence in contributingto corporate memory. Memory curators make sense of the mass
of diverse data and information by using recordkeepingto identify and protect information
that has been appraised or assessed as valuable through a metadata schema similar to
David Snowdens ASHENschema.
2. Approach to this conceptual paper: divergent to convergent thinking
The project began as fundamental researchinto divergent thinking on the internet managed
by information management. Applying the broad keyword terms, personal knowing,
transactive memory systems,ASHEN, recordkeeping informatics, David Snowden, curation
and archival appraisal, the author created a list of researchers writing on these concepts.

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