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Pruning the Answer Garden: Knwoledge Sharing in Maintenance Engineering

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Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands


The Answer Garden supports knowledge sharing in two intertwined ways: by making relevant information retrievable and by mediating access to people with knowledge. We present a case study in which the Answer Garden approach was applied to encourage knowledge sharing in maintenance engineering of a steel mill. The results show that the sheer amount of drawings and the long history of changing classification schemes challenge the Answer Garden approach as well as domain-specific needs for technically mediated communication. Moreover, the given division of labor and organizational micro-politics prevent the Answer Garden approach from encouraging knowledge sharing. Based on these experiences, design directions for knowledge management systems are pointed out. Finally, the results of the study are related to a recent controversy on technology support for expertise location.


Pipek, Volkmar; Wulf, Volker (2003): Pruning the Answer Garden: Knwoledge Sharing in Maintenance Engineering. ECSCW 2003: Proceedings of the Eighth European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0068-0_1. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands. ISBN: 978-94-010-0068-0. pp. 1-20. Full Papers. Helsinki, Finland. 14–18 September 2003