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This project will investigate the challenges of knowledge sharing and communication in non-profit organizations with a high dependence on volunteers. Projects of this type typically rely heavily on the knowledge of the volunteers for success and while many projects have some mechanisms through which they communicate and share knowledge such as a web presence, typically the knowledge is disparate, highly tacit, embedded in the people involved. A scattered approach is typical with knowledge and information on several different forums managed by several different people with no obvious connection. There is unlikely to be a cohesive, coherent approach in place to retain volunteer knowledge, facilitate knowledge sharing and make use of valuable knowledge to improve current and future projects.
This project will focus on identifying how such projects store, communicate and facilitate sharing of necessary knowledge between the project and its volunteers and among volunteers themselves, use the knowledge of its volunteers and manage such knowledge to support current and future activities. The project will identify and implement appropriate mechanisms, to enhance the capture and recording of knowledge, the transfer of knowledge from person to person, the exploitation of knowledge and stimulate the generation of new knowledge within the project. A light-weight open-source knowledge sharing and communication tool-kit will be designed and implemented. Particularly, Web 2.0 technologies will be investigated. Existing tools may be leveraged however, tools will be selected to support the types of knowledge identified and communication and sharing mechanisms identified as most effective.
A range of volunteer dependent projects will be used to conduct the required knowledge acquisition and elicitation to identify the knowledge needs of such projects. The processes and toolkit designed will be implemented in a specific project, the desireland project, to test and evaluate their effectiveness.
Shannon, C. Exploring the use of Web 2.0 tools to support knowledge sharing within the non-profit sector. project was undertaken by Christina Shannon in collaboration with the LIFELINE project, and was supervised by Deirdre Lawless as part Christina’s Msc in Computing (Knowledge Management).