Knowledge Sharing Practices Amongst the Library and Information Professionals of Pakistan in the Digital Era

Knowledge Sharing Practices Amongst the Library and Information Professionals of Pakistan in the Digital Era

Ikram Ul Haq (King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia) and Rabiya Ali Faridi (Notre Dame Institute of Education, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0043-9.ch010

Abstract

We are living in the age of an ever-changing knowledge-based society. Information, and most preferably knowledge, has been considered as a noteworthy resource for the development of any person, profession, institute, nation, and even all humanity on a larger scale. Knowledge sharing (KS) is a significant activity and an integral part of knowledge management. KS is substantial in building the capacity and learning development of library and information professionals. The aim of this article is to find out knowledge sharing practices among the library and information professionals working in different libraries in the Pakistani digital era. The study will be limited to the perceptual aspect of the issue, specifically from the respondents' opinions and their sentiments. Finally, the article highlights the role, skills and challenges for information professionals while sharing knowledge in the digital era of Pakistan.
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Introduction

Knowledge has been considered as the essence of power (Alvin, 1990) and a recognized resource (Robinson, 2012) in the contemporary information-based society. We are living in the age of an ever-changing knowledge-intensive environment. Information and most preferably knowledge have been considered as a significant reserve for the development of any person, profession, organization, nation and even humanity on a larger scale. Knowledge is context-specific, rational and deals with conviction, obligation and achievement. It is a driving force for educational, economic, and social advancement of any discipline. The criterion to measure development is based on the growth in the knowledge economy sector. Nonaka and Tekeuchi (1995) classified knowledge into two types: tacit and explicit. Tacit knowledge is context-specific, subjective, and hard to capture; it is not articulated or communicated verbally or visually. On the other hand, explicit knowledge is objective; it is orally and visually conversable and categorized easily as compared to a tacit type of knowledge.

Knowledge management (KM) deals with the complete course of actions of creating, apprehending, recognizing, managing, saving, transferring and reprocessing knowledge (Aharony, 2011). Knowledge sharing (KS) is a significant activity and a vital fragment of KM. KS plays a substantial role in the capacity building and learning development of library and information professionals. KS enables one to have sufficient awareness of knowledge requirements, how knowledge is being constructed, its technical and systematic infrastructure as well as dissemination of the knowledge to others who really want to acquire it (Seonghee, & Boryung, 2008). KS explains the procedure by which knowledge is kept or produced by the researcher of knowledge organization which is decoded into a form that can easily be comprehended and used (Lpe, 2003). KS is considered as one of the most suitable and effective modes to acquire knowledge globally. It improves the aptitude to pursue studies-related material and enables an individual to achieve results-oriented learning. In KS, an individual contributes his/her professional thoughts and novel ideas to the already existing knowledge of an institution or organization (Cabrera, & Cabrera, 2003).

As the value of information and knowledge is increasing in the present era of information and communication technologies (ICTs), the demands of knowledge workers have also increased. Primarily, library and information science (LIS) professionals are assigned to acquire, organize, store and disseminate knowledge-based material. They are also classified into a knowledge worker category. They are an integral part of a wide communication linkage and computer-based information system (Alegbeleye, 2010). KM in libraries refers to recognizing, obtaining, developing, resolving, and sharing knowledge to create an attitude of converting and sharing knowledge. The dissemination of organized knowledge and team wisdom assist to promote innovative competencies.

Yang (2004) describes the benefits of KS among workers, equally applicable to LIS professionals. He states that through effective KS practices, workers can resolve their problems, learn new techniques and enhance their understanding. Workers can learn from each other’s experiences and benefit from emerging knowledge through mutual understanding. The individual who is aware of effective ways to communicate and share dynamic knowledge can grow and sustain his/her capacity in the organization. Similarly, LIS professionals jointly establish their collective understanding through sharing their professional knowledge, expertise, beliefs and philosophies.

The aim of this chapter is to find out knowledge sharing practices among LIS professionals working in different libraries of Pakistan in the contemporary world. The study is limited to the perceptual aspect of the issue, specifically from the individuals’ opinions and sentiments. The chapter highlights the role, skills and challenges for information professionals while sharing knowledge in the digital era of Pakistan.

Objectives

The study was carried out to achieve following objectives:

  • To point out the scale of KS awareness of LIS professionals

  • To assess the level of satisfaction of KS practices

  • To highlights the barriers in KS practices

  • To identify the areas where LIS professionals would like to share their knowledge

  • To prepare practicable recommendations for creating a positive KS culture in the society.

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