Welcome to KM-etaphors.


This started off as a public wiki on metaphors and models of knowledge management and intellectual capital, of which there are plenty. For instance, the above is a network for sharing resources between Douglas Firs and Micorrhizal Fungi. I'm sure you can find a few metaphors in this. This wiki began life as a lead-in to the ICICKM conference in Cape Town in October 2007. Now its taking off in a new direction.

Some propositions ..
0. Actually, you can't manage knowledge
And if you think you can, you might be delusional. Its a bit like "managing thought". What you can do is to manage the environments in which people create, share, protect, reversion, present and use knowledge. And if you want to call that 'knowledge management', as a shorthand, well, OK, but its crying out for a new name (see 1.and 2. below) ...

1. Knowledge management is an oxymoron, Paul Cilliers is correct.

2. We can facilitate the use, sharing, building, reviewing, deconstruction and reconstruction etc of knowledge, but 'manage'? That's (like) so 19th century!

So where does this lead us?

I am still interested in different ways that models and metaphors of knowledge are conceptualised, presented, created, and operationalised (see Synaesthesia), but I am now more and more convinced that we've crossed the threshold (thank goodness) into a world of complexity (see Systems?) and that the most interesting challenges are in designing complex ecologies (see Youtube and complexity).

Feel free to add new metaphors, models or completely new lines of thought, in new pages (just click on 'New Page', top left),and make sure that you also use the 'edit navigation' facility (bottom left) to ensure that your contribution appears in the index column.

Have fun.

If you have any queries, please email me at

dustcube (Roy)

This has now branched out into a new project, Resonances of Knowledges. Here is an introduction:

The need for a new ontology
Knowledge comes in many different forms and, with the internet, a lot more people see themselves as knowledgeable. This project takes that at face value, and explores, with an open mind, what people now mean by knowledge. It has definitely changed.

We all seem to agree that knowledge is the capacity for effective action. Where we differ is: who decides what acceptable knowledge is, who decides what acceptable action is, and where and how the acceptability, of knowledge and action, is decided. Or to put it another way, what should we do about the fusion/elision/confusion/merger & acquisition/etc of epistemology by politics? In our networked, emergent, post/post-modernist, fractured global village, how do we manage our reference points, and do we have any in common? [Aside: Metaphysics seems to exacerbate this problem, but does that mean that metaphysics should be excluded from the domain of knowledge?]

Part of what we can do is to work on the basics, towards a nested ontology of resonances ...