Corporate Knowledge Management Survey

Corporate knowledge and corporate knowledge management systems are terms that are being used widely by organisations but with apparently little understanding of their meaning and the extent to which the technologies are available today. The ISMICK'93 conference highlighted this lack of understanding but also showed that companies appreciate that better management of their corporate knowledge asset is required.

AIAI has conducted a survey to investigate the major projects being undertaken in this area throughout the world. The results of this survey are in the Proceedings of ISMICK'94, management of industrial and corporate knowledge. The paper is also available from AIAI as Technical Report TR-151. The information in the report was gained primarily through three mechanisms: personal communication with project teams engaged in the research area; from the World Wide Web, and from recent publications -- the emphasis is on an up-to-date critique of Corporate Knowledge Management.

Below is a summary of where to find information on some of the projects described in TR-151.

Major Initiatives

ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort -- consortium to develop the infrastructure and supporting technology to facilitate the sharing and reuse of knowledge bases.

CIMOSA -- a European initiative to develop an Open Systems Architecture for Computer Integrated Manufacturing. Contact person: Kurt Kosanke, ESPRIT Consortium (AMICE) in Boblingen, Germany.

Cyc -- to capture the common knowledge assumed by two people speaking together. Contact Doug Lenat at MCC (Texas).

KADS -- the de facto methodology for knowledge based systems development in Europe.

Special interest groups and other initiatives

BPR-L -- Is a business process re-engineering mailing list, email:

ERIKA -- is the European Initiative for the Management of Knowledge assets. It is a informal group founded in 1991 by GSI-ERLI and Digital Europe.

Euroknowledge -- is an initiative to encourage, co-ordinate, disseminate, promote and undertake activities within Europe related to the standardisation of knowledge based systems and knowledge re-use. Co-ordinator is Mari Georges from Cap Gemini Innovation. Email:

ICEIMT -- the International Conference on Enterprise Integration Modelling Technology. It is possible to subscribe to the general Enterprise Integration mailing list, ALL-ICEIMT, by sending a message to
The body of this message should say help.

ISMICK -- an annual international symposium on the management of industrial and corporate knowledge, organised by IIIA, Centre de Transfert in France; information from Jean-Paul Barthes, email:

IMKA -- the Initiative for Managing Knowledge Assets, information can be obtained from Carnegie Group

PIF -- the Process Interchange Format. Information from Jintae Lea at University of Hawaii, email:


ACTION -- to provide support for integrating IT systems, organisations and people in production areas of discrete parts manufacturing related companies. The goals of the project are to provide better knowledge of how and where organisations and technology need to be changed to meet business objectives, and also support better understanding of the human issues concerned with skilling and training. Key Workers: Les Gasser, Ingemar Hulthage, Brian Leverich, Jon Lieb and Ann Majchrzak at ISSM, University of Southern California Email - gasser@edu.usc

AIMS -- to develop an intelligent information management system which combines knowledge management with database capabilities and multi-media processing. Key Workers: Maria Damiani, Paolo Randi, Elisa Bertino and Luca Spampinato. Maria Damiani is at Datamont R&D, Via Restelli 1/A-20124 Milano, Italy. Email -

CARNOT -- to address the problem of logically unifying physically distributed, enterprise-wide information, including databases, knowledge bases, domain models of business environments and business process models. Key Workers: Darrell Woelk, Michael Huhns, Nigel Jacobs, Tomasz Ksiezyk, Wei-Min Shen, Munindar P Singh and Philip Cannata at MCC, Austin, Texas.

COMMET and KREST -- to provide a principled approach to the design and implementation of applications by the users themselves. Key Workers: Luc Steels, V Jonckers, Sabine Geldof, K de Vroede, Angus McIntyre at the AI Lab, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels.

CKV - Corporate Knowledge Vaults -- to assess feasibility of building knowledge repositories in industrial situations. Key worker is Jean-Paul Barthes at IIIA, Universitie de Technologie de Compiegne, France. Email:

ENTERPRISE -- to provide a method and computer toolset which will help capture aspects of an enterprise and analyse these to identify and compare options for meeting the business requirements. Key Workers: John Fraser, Ian Filby, Ann Macintosh, Jussi Stader, Austin Tate and Mike Uschold from AIAI; Stuart Moralee from Unilever; Martin King from IBM UK; Yannis Zorgios from Lloyd's Register; Rosalind Barden from Logica.

F3 -- to capture requirements for information systems. It describes some of the underlying mechanisms causing the problems of requirements acquisition for information system development, and why and how enterprise modelling can help reduce those problems Key workers: Janis Bubenko jr at SISU, Sweden and Peri Loucopoulos UMIST, Manchester. Email - or

GCDK -- to capture, formalise, represent and re-use knowledge generated during the design process to ensure conservation of design knowledge. A key worker is Vinod Baya at CDR, Stanford University with NASA Ames.

KACTUS -- to enhance the re-use of knowledge in the CIME area by developing standards for the re-use of knowledge, by providing ontologies for different application areas, namely ship structures, electrical networks, and production processes of off-shore petroleum platforms. Location: Some of this work will be undertaken at the University of Amsterdam Key Workers: Wouter Jansweijer and Bob Weilinga at the University of Amsterdam

KARO and LILOG-KR -- to demonstrate an approach to re-using domain independent ontologies (e.g. time, and space) to construct domain models. Key Workers and Location: Thomas Pirlein at IBM, Germany and Rudi Studer at University of Karlsruhe.

Knowledge-Linker -- to provide support for flexible development of families of KBS in the same application domain. The domain is protein purification. A key worker is Kristian Sandahl at the Department of Computer and Information Science, Linkoping University. Email -

LOOM Knowledge Representation System -- is a language and environment for constructing intelligent applications. The heart of LOOM is a knowledge representation system that is used to provide deductive support for the declarative portion of the LOOM language. The other work that is relevant is work that Kevin Knight has done on extracting large scale ontologies (more than 50,000 concepts) from natural language dictionaries, and work that he has done on tools for merging ontologies.

O-Plan -- is a system for task specification, process modelling, planning, scheduling and reactive execution control in applications such as logistics, assembly-integration-test, etc. The key contributions relevant to corporate knowledge management are: triangle model of activity with hierarchical activity models incorporating knowledge rich representations of authority, intentions and resources; Task Formalism domain description language; use of KRSL and a contributor to it; use of LOOM and a contributor to its new context facilities. Key workers: Austin Tate, Brian Drabble and Jeff Dalton.

ORDIT -- to develop a methodology for determining and defining organisational requirements on an information technology system, in doing this it has developed an approach for modelling aspects of the corporate knowledge of an enterprise. Key Workers: John Dobson, Andrew Blyth, Ken Easton, Sue Harker, Wendy Olphert and Ros Strens. John Dobson is at the University of Newcastle; email -

Plinius ontology -- to assist with the task of converting natural language text into knowledge base entries. Key workers: Nicholas Mars and Paul van der Vet at the Department of Computer Science, University of Twente.

Process Handbook -- to support process analysis and redesign by: 1) collecting examples of how different organisations perform similar processes and 2) representing these in an on-line "process handbook". Key Workers: Tom Malone at MIT, and Jintae Lee at University of Hawaii Email -

REX -- is an experience management method that was developed to attempt to capture and re-use the experience gathered during the design and start-up of nuclear reactors. It is based on an activity experience feedback life cycle. Key workers: Pierre Malvache and Patrick Prieur.

SDBA -- to provide access to corporate data via domain models. It is based on the model of the experts' domain and it uses terms and concepts of that model to communicate with the user. Navigating the database and accessing information is supported through the domain model. In addition fuzzy matching allows a more intuitive access to data supporting the specification of what data is needed. Key workers: Jussi Stader at AIAI and Robert Inder at the University of Edinburgh.

SHADE -- The SHAred Dependency Engineering project as part of the overall ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort demonstrates how the results emerging from this initiative can be used. Key Workers: James McQuire, Daniel Kuokka, Jay Weber and Jay Tenenbaum. Lockheed Artificial Intelligence Center are the project leaders and subcontractors are Stanford University Knowledge Systems Lab and Enterprise Integration Technologies Inc.

SHARE -- to support design engineers to access helpful information over the network not locally available to a single user environment. A key worker is Charles Petrie, at EI, Stanford University.

SIMS -- to provide services and information management for decision systems. It is concerned with integating data from multiple sources. SIMS exploits a semantic model of the problem domain to integrate the information from various sources. The information sources handled includes both databases and knowledge bases, other information could potentially be included. One of the key workers on SIMS is Y Arens at ISI at USC.

TELOS -- to support efficient knowledge base storage management, query processing, concurrency control, rule evaluation and constraint enforcement by adopting database techniques. Key Workers: John Mylopoulos at Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto

TOVE & related work -- to develop a framework for identifying, formally representing and storing knowledge about the complete organisation, and then implement a software tool to support enterprise modelling using the formalised knowledge. Key Workers: Mark Fox, Miai Barbuceanu, J. Chionglo, Fadi Fadel, Michael Gruninger, Henry Kim, Donald Tham and Katy Atefi at Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto

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