Knowledge base

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A knowledge database or knowledge base ( English knowledgebase ) is a special database for the deposit of knowledge.

Knowledge database is an undefined term in German, which is mostly used in connection with knowledge management and represents a collection of explicit knowledge in mostly written form.

The term knowledge base is used for formal, machine-interpretable knowledge in knowledge-based systems. In English, knowledge base is always used .

Often it is organizations that make their ideas, problem solutions, articles, processes, white papers , user manuals and the quality management manual available to all authorized users in a knowledge database . A knowledge database requires a carefully structured classification , formatting of the content and user-friendly search functionality (see taxonomy ; ontology (computer science) ).

Knowledge databases in the sense of collected documents are used in order to be able to provide knowledge independent of person, time and space. Accordingly, they are also used in private life, e.g. B. in private groups with the same interest (pets, plants, hobbies).

They are mainly used in companies:

  • In the self-service to customers and users to call the service center to be able to save
  • In service, in order to be able to ensure a uniform quality of information
  • In sales and marketing, in order to be able to ensure uniform statements to customers.
  • In production, development and research, in order to guarantee uniform standards and to be able to access experience again.

Basically, it is difficult to draw a line between document collections and knowledge databases; accordingly, scientific processing of knowledge databases in particular does not or hardly takes place, but is generally reflected in the area of ​​" knowledge management ".

An expert system could, for example, be a technical support function , with the knowledge database representing a searchable collection of questions and answers. Other examples are systems to support medical diagnoses or to analyze scientific data.


The basic requirement of knowledge storage and provision was generally seen at the latest with the appearance of the term knowledge management. Since the mid-1990s at the latest, the term “knowledge database” has been used in German to refer to an electronic collection of documents. These include B. Knowledge databases of manufacturers on their website about their products, games or hobbies and pets. With the advent of simple intra- / internet-based text databases (groupware, wikis, intranet and internet techniques), the creation of knowledge databases has been greatly simplified.

The emergence of semantic technologies expanded the basic possibilities. Accordingly, various technologies have been developed here, e.g. B. in the context of the Semantic Web .

Special forms of knowledge databases are also used for special subject areas, e.g. B. in chemistry (structural databases) or in construction (construction databases). Depending on the topic, these are based on special search methods and knowledge objects.

Main tasks

The main role of a knowledge base is to help people

  • To make knowledge available to other people,
  • Find resources quickly
  • To collect, comment, link and use information of all kinds.
  • To display information selectively (avoiding overloading with undesired scattered information)
  • To present information as precisely as possible (in accordance with the natural situation), self-explanatory (i.e. geometrically in the 3D image) and just as stringently (i.e. using a formula).



The editing of the knowledge database (Knowledge Base Editing) includes the acquisition, verification, organization and presentation of the information in a knowledge database. The task of the processor does not start with the content, but with the users and their company-related tasks. The intention is that several editors ( Engl. Editor ) gain in the corporate context a sound understanding of user tasks. Efficient handling of print, web and database publication processes is necessary.


Publishing the knowledge base (Knowledge Base Publishing) is a procedure that deals with the creation, maintenance, integration and functional use of the knowledge base. The implementation is realized through programs and techniques from various areas (e.g. IT , knowledge management , journalism , public relations , business management, lifelong learning , etc.).

The publication process, which is mostly similar to the publication of a website, is strongly integrated into the workflow . Maintaining ease of use is an important aspect of the integration process. So are z. B. note the following functions:

  • integrate a search engine into the system
  • Add an AZ index
  • show related documents and relationships

Navigation and search

Published content must be easy to find for users. Accordingly, search and navigation is one of the essential functions of a knowledge database.

Navigation means that content is structured in hierarchical categories so that users can easily find the content that is important to them through hierarchical navigation.

The search is subject to high requirements, as users often do not know exactly which search terms to use for a search. An important approach is therefore often a semantic expansion of the search or a semantically structured / excellent storage of the data that goes beyond a pure text collection. A well-known example in the German-speaking area is the public administration's service catalog LeiKa as the basis for searching in the 115 service (see LeiKa: The LeiKa service catalog as the basis for searching in the 115 service ).

User roles

Depending on the scope and complexity of a knowledge database, it is maintained by several processors who are assigned different roles according to their area of ​​responsibility. There is no general separation of roles, rather the respective implementation varies depending on the purpose and the system, which can usually be adapted by the operator according to his own needs. Often several roles are fulfilled by the same person or a role by several people.

The following roles are typical for a knowledge base:


This role is absolutely necessary for the functioning of a knowledge database.

New content is by the applicant ( Engl. Requestor ) requested. This can be done as part of a business process or as required, e.g. For example, if a customer service employee has developed a new solution that is not yet included in the knowledge database. In this phase, only the abstract content is usually relevant, but not the stylistic elaboration, as the needs are primarily assessed. "Applicant" is also referred to as anyone who requests changes to existing content.

Content manager (administrative)

This role is absolutely necessary for the functioning of a knowledge database. In some cases, aspects of this role go hand in hand with the role of the author or reviewer .

The responsibility of the intellectual infrastructure for a knowledge base is the content manager ( Engl. Content Manager , and Editor-in-Chief ) worn. This applies in particular to the performance or delegation of the following tasks:


This role is mandatory. In some cases it goes hand in hand with the role of the applicant.

The preparation of the content is carried out by the author.


This role is used for quality assurance , is not absolutely necessary for the functioning of a knowledge database, but is often recommended due to the four-eyes principle .

After developing the content of the will Reviewers ( Engl. Reviewers also editor ) for compliance with stylistic , structural, terminological and possibly other requirements as well as spelling, grammar and possibly technical accuracy checked and corrected if necessary. In some cases this role is divided into a technical and a non-technical part. Thereafter, the activation or release is performed ( engl. Publishing ) by the content controller .

Taxonomist (administrative)

This role is used for quality assurance , it is not absolutely necessary for the functioning of a knowledge database, but it ensures lasting usability and maintenance friendliness as well as user acceptance. In some cases it goes hand in hand with the role of content manager .

Setting standards which the consistency have the content for the purpose is given by the taxonomist ( Engl. Taxonomist ). This includes in particular the following tasks:

  • Setting local standards for term control and composition (terminology)
  • Define a thesaurus that contains, among other things, specific keywords
  • Standardized names for company departments, products, and geographic locations

Operator (administrative)

This role is absolutely necessary for the functioning of a knowledge database.

The operator is responsible for the technical infrastructure for a knowledge database . This applies in particular to the performance or delegation of the following tasks:

  • Planning for the introduction of the knowledge database
  • Acquiring, licensing, or providing additional information products and services
  • Analyze the effectiveness of the knowledge base
  • Coordination of the user interface of the knowledge database (mostly in cooperation with the owners of the relevant roles)
  • Development of an organizational scheme for the information taking into account the interests of all parties involved
  • Organization of events on the subject of information provision and knowledge management
  • Development of new approaches z. B. for making a profit
  • Organization of training for operators

Web links

Wiktionary: Knowledge base  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Definition of terms in the Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon Retrieved on December 21, 2017.
  2. Collection of various articles on knowledge databases. Website Community of Knowledge. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  3. Introduction of a knowledge database. Case study and evaluation, by Christiane Düts, dissertation website of the Humboldt University, Berlin. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  4. Sven Kolb / Harald Huber, Active Knowledge Databases. Instructions for the implementation in practice, ed. v. USU AG, 2017
  5. ^ Knowledge management in technical service, by Michael Weinrauch, 2005 Springer Fachmedien website. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  6. See also the statements by Gilbert Probst in terms of knowledge retention . Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  7. See also Semantic Wiki . Retrieved December 21, 2017.