13 June 2002

It's not the book, it's the borrower

Books are a likely to be a great way to share knowledge in an organisation. Not for their content - but because of the people who borrow them. I've suggested to our company librarian to provide a space inside library books for borrowers to record their names, if they want (a bit like that little sheet where the due dates are recorded). That way, anyone who borrows a book can see who else may have similar interests - a possible benefit in large companies where knowledge of who knows what, or cares about what, is harder to get to.

Meanwhile, I've just found another example of something similar, albeit on a global scale.BookCrossing is a kind of open book club in which people can 'track' and review shared books that they pass on to friends or just leave lying around for others to pick up. The attractive aspect are the reviews, where I can see who has read a book and what other books they've read. (Yes, it's a bit like Amazon without the purchasing element.) I get a sense right away if an individual betokens a productive conversation. You can of course be 'anonymous' in this very public environment -- but imagine taking this kind of approach inside an organisation, where anonymity might be less of an concern.

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