Using knowledge management in building a culture of research: a case study of an Australian academic library
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Knowledge management (KM) has been much discussed in the library and informationscience literature, from papers describing its potential for the profession (Broadbent, 1997;Butler, 2000; Nelson, 2008; Sarrafzadeh, Martin and Hazeri, 2010; Townley, 2001) to casestudies of uptake and impact (Branin, 2003; Jain, 2013; Jantz, 2001; Islam et al., 2015;Porumbeanu, 2010). Similarly, there are many representations in the literature of librariesestablishing support groups for librarians undertaking research, especially in academiclibraries (Blessinger, et al., 2010; Cirasella and Smale, 2011; Fallon, 2012; Gratch, 1989;Lee, 1995; Sapon-White, King, and Christie, 2004). However, there are few who haveexplored the intersection of knowledge management with creating a culture of research andlearning in libraries (Madge, 2012; Sheng and Sun, 2007). This paper seeks to add to thisliterature in describing a case study at an Australian academic library. Flinders University Library has, over the past four years, been actively building a culture of research among its professional staff, in order to equip them with the skills and expertise necessary in an era of continuous change for libraries. It has done so through the implementation of a support group for professional staff to undertake research projects, known as the Research Working Group (RWG). Its brief is to ‘develop a culture of research and professional reflection amongst the library’s professional staff’. While it is focused on the creation of knowledge in undertaking research, there are other important components: diffusing this knowledge throughout the organisation; and reusing this knowledge to inform decision-making. This paper focuses on how knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, and knowledge reuse have manifested in RWG-related research projects. To understand this, two methods were used: an audit of KM tools available to the RWG was conducted; and a secondary analysis of interview transcripts was undertaken. Together, these approaches show how KM tools have been used by the RWG in building a culture of research.
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