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Glossary of terms used in competitive intelligence and knowledge management  

By Vernon Prior

NB: Entries marked with an * are new or modified entries with effect from 12 July 2009

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P / Q - R - S - T - U - V - W / X / Y/ Z


E-commerce, see Electronic commerce

Economic factors are variables in the economy that might affect the operations of a company during the period covered by the strategic plan.  See also: Strategic planning

Economic gardening refers to the provision of government support (including infrastructure, communications facilities, and Competitive intelligence) in order to encourage local economic development.  Of these three, it has been shown that competitive intelligence offers the greatest benefits.  Pertinent information is normally gathered and analysed by government agencies or academic institutions, usually on behalf of entrepreneurial small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  This allows them to avoid the high costs of commercially available competitive intelligence research services.  The intention is to encourage the growth of local firms rather than to attract an influx of new businesses and industries (a practice referred to as economic hunting).            

Economic hunting, see Economic gardening

Educational technology applies to the Development, application, and evaluation of systems and techniques for improving the process of human learning.  See also: Distance learning, Knowledge creation

Electronic commerce covers a range of activities under which businesses and their customers can carry out transactions electronically between computer systems.  This greatly reduces costs and improves efficiency.   The more popular term is e-commerce.  See also: Electronic commerce, Electronic funds transfer

Electronic funds transfer is the transfer of cash or credit from one account to another using computers and telecommunications.  See also: Electronic commerce, Information technology

Electronic mail refers to a system for sending messages by means of a computer system or Network.  It is more popularly known as email.   

Elicitation can be a very efficient, successful and low-risk means to acquire Information that would not normally be revealed. It involves the use of a subtle, non-threatening, and conversational approach, one with a predetermined purpose.  Elicitation relies upon the existence of certain human foibles; for instance, that people generally:

          wish to appear well-informed, especially about their profession;

          are keen to be regarded as honest, trustworthy, and helpful;

          welcome praise or sympathy;

          dislike adverse criticism;

          need to point out, and correct, errors.  

See also: Humint, Networking, Soft information  

Email, see Electronic mail

Embodied knowledge is that Knowledge which is incorporated in a product although not explicitly identified.  It is integral to equipment or materials; for example, the technological knowledge contained in a modern household appliance, a vehicle, or a recording device.  Embodied knowledge can often be deduced through Reverse engineering.  It is sometimes loosely referred to as Implicit knowledge.   See also: Knowledge

Enrichment is the selection and use of terms additional to those contained in the title, abstract, or text of a Document in order to facilitate or enhance its storage and retrieval.  See also: Assigned-term indexing, Indicative abstract, Informative abstract

Entanglement is an as yet unexplained correlation between quantum particles that were once united.  Because they once functioned as part of a larger whole, they seem to have acquired an inherent link between each other.  Changing the state of one qubit (quantum bit or particle) instantaneously changes the state of the other, no matter how far away from each other they are.  Not only does entanglement make instantaneous communication possible but, because quantum particles can exist in more than one state simultaneously, it also effectively doubles the capacity of any communication channel.  The phenomenon will almost certainly lead to significant developments in computing. 

*Enterprise content management, see Content management. 

Enterprise information management is sometimes used in place of the more common term, Information management

Enterprise information portal (EIP) is a term used to describe both the home page of an organisation’s Intranet and the intranet itself, together with its content.  Users typically have access to the system from a personal starting page.  See also: Web site

Enterprise performance management (EPM), see Enterprise resource planning (ERP). 

Enterprise reporting refers to large-scale Report generation, usually achieved through the use of so-called Business-intelligence software, and intended to deliver Information by means of the Internet or an Intranet

Enterprise resource planning (ERP), also known as Professional services automation (PSA), is a software-driven technique that is intended to optimise the use and application of resources (project management) and manage mission-critical processes (such as workflows, time and expense reporting, collaboration, and Knowledge capture).  The software often incorporates Corporate performance management software.  See also: Knowledge management. 

Enterprise systems aim to overcome problems with incompatible Information storage and retrieval systems by introducing a common format for databases within companies.  Proprietary processes need to be tailored to meet the needs of the enterprise systems, necessitating management and structural change.  See also: Database

Entrepreneur is a person who has the ability to recognise Opportunities of benefit to an enterprise, and the will and capacity to undertake appropriate innovative action while accepting the associated risks.  See also: Innovation, Intrapreneur

Environmental scanning involves continuous monitoring of the whole Business environment, primarily in order to identify Opportunities and Threats resulting from change.  See also: SWOT analysis

Ergonomics is the study of the engineering aspects of the relationship between human beings and their Working environment

Espionage is the use of illegal means (spying) to collect Information, more particularly secret or unpublished information.  Offences may range from trespass and theft to treason.  See also: Counterintelligence, Knowledge assets, Trade secret

Executive information systems (EIS) are now commonly referred to as Business intelligence systems. 

Exhaustivity is a measure of how completely the concepts within a Document have been indexed.  The greater the proportion of concepts covered in the Index, the greater the exhaustivity.  See also: Concept, Indexing

Experiential modelling is a sophisticated technique for converting Know-how and judgment into mathematical formulae that can be used to solve complex puzzles and help to predict the future.   

Experimental development involves systematic work using Applied or Basic research or practical experience for the purpose of creating new, or improving existing, materials, devices, products, processes, or services. 

Expert system is a particular development of Artificial intelligence that helps to solve problems or make decisions through the use of a store of relevant Information (known as the Knowledge base, and derived from one or more human experts), and a set of reasoning techniques.  They are sometimes referred to as Knowledge-based systems.  See also: Knowledge engineering

Expertise database, see Knowledge map

Expertise location service, see Knowledge map. 

Expertise locator software, available at various levels of sophistication, may be used in the compilation of a Knowledge map

Expertise profiling is a technique for identifying and classifying personal Knowledge and expertise for use in a Knowledge map.  It is usually achieved either through manual completion of standard forms, or by inference from the content of documents produced by the individuals concerned.  See also: Classify, Competency modelling, Document, Selective dissemination of information (SDI)

*Explicit knowledge consists of anything that can be codified, or expressed in words, numbers, and other symbols (such as plans, marketing surveys, customer lists, specifications, manuals, instructions for assembling components, scientific formulae, graphics) and can, therefore, be easily articulated, usually in the form of documents, processes, procedures, products, and practices.  See also: Content management, Document, Know-how, Knowledge, Knowledge management, Tacit knowledge

Explode is a feature of some Indexing systems that allows the user to expand a category of terms in a hierarchy from general to specific to retrieve all documents allocated to that specific term or to any of the narrower terms relating to it.  It differs from truncation in that the terms do not have to include an identical string of characters in order to be retrieved.  Explode may also be known as Cascade.  See also:  Classification scheme, Classify, Controlled vocabulary, Document, Hierarchical classification, Index, Notation, Ontology, Taxonomy, Thesaurus, Truncate

Exploratory data analysis is used to identify systemic relationships between variables when there are no (or incomplete) a priori expectations as to the nature of those relationships.  Exploratory data analysis is closely related to Data mining

*Extensible mark-up language (XML) allows content producers to add Metadata to non-text items (such as image, audio, or video files) and facilitates retrieval of unstructured Information (an important aspect of Knowledge management).  See also: Content management

Extension service provides for the direct delivery of advice to industry and business with the aim of encouraging adoption of desirable, new or transferable technologies, and the provision of relevant feedback to Research and development services.  See also: Diffusion, Technology transfer

Externalisation is the conversion of Tacit knowledge to Explicit knowledge by means of language or Visualisation.  See also: Combination, Internalisation, Knowledge management, Socialisation

Extract is a verbatim portion of a Document selected to represent the whole.  See also: Report

Extranet is that portion of an organisation’s Intranet that is accessible by selected individuals (for example, collaborators, suppliers, partners, major customers).



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