Mary – I’m inclined to believe the issue is primarily the latter one you threw out, i.e. the entire system of capturing and sharing knowledge is changing, Whether that’s for the better is, perhaps, still up in the air, but the change has been taking place for quite a while. Public libraries are dealing with it (there are quite a few books now on the concept of “Library 2.0”), but you’re talking about a specialty library that works within the confines of an enterprise.
It seems to me we KM professionals have been saying for years that an organization’s most useful knowledge lies between the ears of our people; up to 80% (obviously an approximation) of the total available. What I’m seeing is the use of social media to discover, connect, build relationships . . . in other words, greasing the skids of close to real-time knowledge transfer . . . is transforming how we deal with information and knowledge.
I’m of the opinion most value – at this time – lies in developing those “social” capabilities in an organization. Not to say managing the explicit knowledge assets isn’t important (precedent and all that comes with it isn’t going to go away, whether it’s judicial or the laws of physics); merely that connecting people to people and facilitating their ability to make sense of their collective information/knowledge, etc. is likely to have a bigger payoff than organizing our explicit assets.
As far as your last question goes, I’m currently of the opinion the future will likely see information professionals disappear, as one of the emergent qualities of today’s social media explosion. In my opinion, facilitators will remain but there just won’t be any need for specialists to organize and provide the connection to our collective knowledge.
Thanks for forcing me to wake up this morning. I’m hopeful re-reading this after I’ve had another cup of coffee will still make sense to me and that it makes sense to you . . . regardless of whether or not you agree with me 🙂