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The knowledge process that brings data, information, or knowledge into the organizational knowledge base. A process of capturing the knowledge available within an organization and making it available.


Knowledge capture may refer to be either explicit, implicit or tacit knowledge. While capturing explicit knowledge is rather straightforward, usually inserting information into a document management system, the process of capturing tacit knowledge is more involved. An efficient way of capturing tacit knowledge is integration into day-to-day work processes. Capturing of specific knowledge, e.g. when a risk of losing knowledge is identified, may require targeted measures and tailored tools.

Knowledge capturing refers to collecting all information available in the organization, and making it retrievable in the knowledge base of the organization. While capturing explicit knowledge is rather straightforward, the capturing of tacit knowledge usually is more involved, and may require specific provisions by the organization. However, it has to be kept in mind that frequently tacit knowledge is impossible to codify. In these cases, an expert directory with search capabilities for specific skills or know-how might offer an appropriate solution.

Capturing explicit knowledge

Customarily, documented (or "codified") knowledge is stored in document management systems or content management systems. Such systems are able to handle of a wide range of media and formats, and usually offer a rich set of features for managing all document related processes. The capturing of tacit knowledge results ultimately in documents which are stored in the document management system, and thus made available to everybody having access rights to the documents.content

Capturing implicit and tacit knowledge

Implicit knowledge can be captured and codified. Thus the aim of the capture process is to make implicit knowledge explicit and easier to share and store, and thus available in the organization's knowledge base.

Tacit knowledge may be very difficult if not impossible to be made explicit; basically, the observable parts of it can be captured and codified.

The capturing process may also be viewed as a mode of knowledge transfer.

Integrating knowledge capture in day-to-day work

A very efficient way of capturing tacit knowledge consist in integrate knowledge capturing into work processes. Indeed, much tacit knowledge is captured by documentation as an inherent part of many work activities. However, more effort may be requested in order to capture the knowledge generated in work processes in a systematic way. Appropriate methods are well established by now, and include capturing personal experience (debriefing), collections of process of project experiences (after action reviews, lessons learned), and distillation of good experiences (best practices). If the work process is well defined and appropriate procedures are specified in the workflow, the capturing process will not be seen as causing additional work load, but will be acknowledge as an inherent part of the work process


After action review

Lessons learned

Best practice

Capturing specific knowledge

In cases where risks of losing critical knowledge have been identified, such as key people retiring or leaving, or reliance on a single expert, targeted measures and tailored tools may be required to support a facilitated process of knowledge capture.

In the case of capturing specific knowledge, the extent of the knowledge to be externalized, the knowledge holders and the circle of recipients are usually well known. Therefore, the capturing process may be specified more precisely, often in form of a project. This will start from choosing appropriate methods and tools, and may include appointing a facilitator, scheduling a series of face-to-face sessions, and determining and inviting attendants of the sessions (one or more experts, facilitator, recipients). As a result, the knowledge should be available in the document management system in a form best suited to the needs of knowledge recipients.

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Best practice

Lessons learned

Explicit knowledge

Tacit knowledge

Knowledge retention