Document Type



This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Dissertation submitted for the award of MSc in Computing (Knowledge Management), 2008.


In today’s knowledge driven economy, a company’s intellectual capital is increasingly becoming its most important asset. The knowledge of how to create value defines a company’s success. Through knowledge management the value of knowledge within a company can be increased. One way of increasing the value of knowledge is by making it more accessible. The accessibility of knowledge can be facilitated by integrating the search for knowledge into the user’s workflow. Another way to increase the value of knowledge is through the capture of undocumented, tacit knowledge and converting it into explicit, documented knowledge. Email has been identified as the “killer app” and as a “habitat” for users. It is thus integrated into the user’s workflow. Due to its combination of conversation and deliberative nature, email is suitable for capturing tacit knowledge. Repositories grow from interactive applications as a by-product of interaction and collaboration. An investigation into knowledge sharing through the use of a shared email archive in a manufacturing plant is described. Users have been found to habitually store and search their email, confirming that email archives are being used as personal knowledge repositories. Making the information in these repositories available to be shared amongst a wider group was found to be technically feasible and clear benefits were identified. Advantages identified included reuse of information and the capture of resolution to problems. Disadvantages were identified concerning issues of privacy and confidentiality.