Disaster Recovery: A Role for KM—and Librarians

Could your organization survive if its knowledge management function suddenly ceased to exist? Almost certainly. Could it survive if a natural or man-made disaster wiped out all of its intellectual assets? Almost certainly . . . not.

In the latter scenario, says Lucidea CEO Ron Aspe, lies the rationale for avoiding the former.


“Positioning KM as a disaster recovery essential increases its understanding and emotional appeal and imbues KM with a powerful sense of urgency and importance,” he writes in the July-August issue of Information Outlook. “After all, what CEO would want to be held responsible for failing to secure the organization’s intellectual assets? What mid-level manager would want to explain why vital organizational learning isn’t being recorded as part of his or her department’s disaster recovery program? And what employee wouldn’t want his or her work included in such a recovery program? Excluding such work would imply the employee is either incompetent or unimportant.”

The strength of KM, Aspe argues, is that it not only captures information, it also discriminates between resources that need to be saved and those that don’t. In addition, it sets parameters for resource access, ensures that resources are kept up to date, and keeps stakeholders informed of the status of the resources. These processes can inform the application of KM principles to other internal functions of an organization.

“A KM-based disaster recovery program is a great starting point for implementing a KM mindset throughout your organization,” Aspe writes. “Positioning KM as essential to the successful implementation of a core business imperative such as disaster recovery both enhances the perception and delivers the reality of KM leadership. This positioning sets the stage for exciting opportunities for special librarians.”

To learn more about applying KM to disaster recovery and how it represents an emerging opportunity for special librarians, read the article.

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