Knowledge map

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Knowledge maps , and knowledge maps ( Knowledge Maps ) are graphical representations of knowledge in organizations . In knowledge management, graphic directories of knowledge carriers, knowledge stocks, knowledge sources, knowledge development, knowledge structures or knowledge applications are referred to as knowledge maps . Above all, they serve to identify knowledge in companies in order to make work processes more effective and efficient and refer to expert knowledge, team knowledge, knowledge development stations as well as organizational skills and processes. With this method, only the reference to the anchored knowledge is provided and not the knowledge itself is stored there. Knowledge maps are increasingly used in large or complex companies and organizations in which employees only know each other to a limited extent.

Goals of knowledge maps

The goal of knowledge maps is to create transparency about company-internal and / or external knowledge. In this way, knowledge maps promote the use of existing knowledge; so can z. B. Knowledge carriers - persons or documents - can be found more easily. This enables the organization to record internal and external resources more quickly, facilitate and accelerate access to the required knowledge, use this knowledge more efficiently and thus increase its own responsiveness.

Types of knowledge maps

Knowledge carrier cards

Knowledge carrier maps , also known as knowledge source maps , aim to identify experts within and / or outside a company. The knowledge itself is not presented, but reference is made to the respective knowledge carrier (person or document). By identifying the 'know where' one arrives at the 'know how'. This form is understood as the classic type of knowledge map and is often supplemented by the others mentioned. The term “yellow pages” (for experts within a company) is also used for this. The term “blue pages” can be used for experts outside a company.

Knowledge inventory maps

Knowledge asset maps provide information about where and how certain knowledge assets are stored. The type of aggregation state of knowledge supplies the user with important information regarding further processing. In contrast to this approach, knowledge inventory maps can also be understood as the quantitative representation of the skills of a company's employees. Knowledge maps can thus be used when planning team compositions or job appointments and provide a basis for decision-making for further training measures for individual employees.

Knowledge structure maps

Knowledge structure maps deal with the questions: “How is the recorded knowledge structured?” And “How are facts and areas of knowledge connected?” Representations of relationships and connections show connections and dependencies between facts. Networks of relationships between structural elements are the focus. The special value of this type lies in the visualization and the potentially easier comprehension of extremely complex relationships.

Knowledge application maps

Knowledge application maps show who needs / uses which knowledge, when. The result is a mapping of the processes including the associated knowledge requirements, knowledge carriers and knowledge stocks. This provides information about knowledge carriers and knowledge resources and describes them within a specific process or project step. The solution of specific situations should be supported with this type.

Knowledge Development Maps

Knowledge development maps support the creation of knowledge and can show how knowledge gaps can be closed in order to achieve operational knowledge goals.

Creation of knowledge maps

The recording of user needs is of particular importance when creating knowledge maps. As a supplier of “knowledge products”, it is crucial to understand implicit needs and questions that are not explicitly known to the customer . These customer needs determined in intensive dialogue are part and starting point of the knowledge map.

Possible steps for creating knowledge maps can be:

Inventory and analysis
Knowledge-intensive processes are recorded and relevant knowledge carriers and knowledge stocks are identified.
It must be decided in which form the mapping of the coded data should take place, after which a decision is made on the form of the visualization.
In this step, the integration into business process systems takes place. It is important to include a navigation principle.
In the last step, responsibility and update modalities are determined.

A knowledge map must not be a static development, as the underlying knowledge base can change in the organization. It must be determined how, when and by whom updates are made. An additional help can be to anchor the updating of the system decentrally.

Evaluation of knowledge maps

In general, concrete quality criteria for a knowledge map are defined right from the start and then subjected to a final quality control according to the following 4 dimensions and evaluated according to degrees of maturity :

  • Functional card quality
  • Cognitive map quality
  • Technical map quality
  • Creative card quality


  • Martin J. Eppler: Making Knowledge Visible Through Intranet Knowledge Maps: Concepts, Elements, Cases. ( PDF )
  • Elisabeth Hackl: The conceptual development of a knowledge map to support the reuse of project results . Diploma thesis in the technical college course information professions. Eisenstadt 2005. ( PDF )
  • Bernhard von Guretzky: Steps towards the introduction of knowledge management: Knowledge cards Yellow Pages Part B no year [1]
  • Heiko Haller: Mapping Procedure Community of Knowledge, 2004. [2]
  • Florian Ott: Knowledge maps as an instrument of collective knowledge management . Diploma thesis at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Institute for Management 2003.
  • Gilbert Probst, Steffen Raub, Kai Romhardt: Managing knowledge: how companies use their most valuable resource optimally. Gabler, Wiesbaden 1999.