School of Information Systems

Knowledge Capture and Codification

The first high-level phase of the KM cycle below, begins with knowledge capture and codification.

  • In knowledge capture, a distinction needs to be made between the capture and identification of existing knowledge and the creation of new knowledge.
  • In KM, we need to also consider knowledge that we know is present in the organization, which we can then set out to capture.
  • Knowledge that we do not know about will require additional steps in its capture and codification.
  • Knowledge that we know we do not have need to be facilitated to create new and innovative content.


1. Tacit Knowledge Codification

is the kind of knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalizing it. Usually this knowledge is unstructured, difficult to define and shared in formal language with others and includes personal understanding. This knowledge is generally not yet documented because this knowledge is still present in a person’s mind. Three major approaches to knowledge acquisition from individual and groups:

  • Interviewing Experts

Two of the more popular means include structured interviewing and stories.

Ø Structured interviewing of subject matter experts is the most often used technique to render key tacit knowledge of an individual into more explicit forms.

Ø In many organizations, structured interviewing is done through exit interviews that are held when knowledge staff near retirement age

Ø Stories can be defined as the telling of a happening or connected series of happenings, whether true or fictitious (Denning, 2001).

Ø Conveying information in a story provides a rich context, remaining in the conscious memory longer and creating more memory traces than information not in context.

  • Learning by Being Told

In learning by being told, the interviewee expresses and refines his or her knowledge, and the knowledge manager clarifies and validates the knowledge artifact that renders this knowledge in explicit form.

This form of knowledge acquisition typically involves task analysis, process tracing and protocol analysis and simulations.

  • Learning by Observation

Learning by observation approve involves presenting the expert with a sample problem, scenario, or case study that the expert then solves. Although we cannot observe someone’s knowledge, we can observe and identify expertise. Expertise is a demonstration of the application of knowledge

The key is to use audio or video to record what the expert knows.

2. Explicit Knowledge Codification

Knowledge that has been collected and translated into a form of documentation (summary) so that it is more easily understood by others. This knowledge is formal and easy to share with others in the form of documentation because it is generally theoretical knowledge that makes it easy for someone to share their knowledge with others through books, articles and journals without having to come directly to teach that person. In the process of applying it, explicit knowledge is easier because the knowledge obtained is in written form or documentation.

The codification of explicit knowledge can be achieved through a variety of techniques:

Ø Cognitive Mapping

Cognitive Maps is representation of the “mental model” of a person’s knowledge and provides a good form of codified knowledge.

Cognitive mapping is based on concept mapping, which allows experts directly construct knowledge models.

Concept maps represent concepts and relations in a two-dimensional graphical form with nodes representing key concepts connected by links representing propositions.

Ø Decision Trees

Decision Trees is typically in the form of a flowchart, with alternate paths indicating the impact of different decisions being made at that juncture point.

Ø Knowledge Taxonomies

Knowledge Taxonomies allow knowledge to be graphically represented in such a way that reflects the logical organization of concepts within a particular field of expertise or for the organization at large.

Ø Task Analysis