Perhaps because it is a relatively young discipline, the concept of knowledge management has seemed somewhat hazy, confusing and ill-defined. Depending on who is talking about it, the term can take on multiple meanings, not all of them helpful or accurate.

That’s why we should welcome the new book Knowledge Management Practice in Organizations: The View from Inside, by Ulla de Stricker, and six co-authors, published by IGI Global. Ulla, president of Canada-based de Stricker Associates, is one of the best-known and most visible people in the knowledge/information world, particularly within special libraries. She wrote two chapters and the preface, and co-authored another chapter with Constance Ard, who also wrote about the book in a recent blog post. Ulla has also written her own post about it.

One of the book’s strengths is that the chapters were written by people who work daily with knowledge and information in an intense, focused way; besides Ulla and Constance, the other contributors are Connie Crosby (two chapters), Cynthia Shamel, Deborah Keller, Karen Huffman and Gordon Vala-Webb. These writers place KM in context within today’s organizational challenges and ambiguity, and help suggest and define roles for information professionals, whether or not they work in traditional libraries.

A key takeaway is that effective use of knowledge, however that is accomplished, is crucial for the ongoing success of an organization. But there are lots of moving parts and considerations for practitioners, managers and leaders. The chapters describe a complex ecosystem of internal organization members and databases, documents, stakeholders, customers and potential customers, and various communities of practice.

Who is best placed now and in the future to take a leadership position for the capture, storage, use and reuse of knowledge in organizations? How do you develop the most comprehensive overview and outlook of what is possible, useful and even transformative? This book goes a long way toward answering these difficult questions.