Knowledge Management on Extreme Teams

Helen Edwards, Editor K & IM Refer


 The extraordinary rescue of 33 miners from a collapsed mine in the Atacama region of North Chile in 2010 after 70 days underground is a classic example of “the enormous potential of diverse experts coming together to innovate to overcome a nearly impossible challenge.” In their new book Extreme Teaming: Lessons in Complex, Cross-Sector Leadership, Amy C. Edmondson and Jean-Francois Harvey introduce the concept of “extreme teaming”. These are the processes by which modern teams, consisting of members from different organisations, occupations, industries and cultures, can actually succeed in working together on complex multi-faceted projects.

Extreme teams face a number of challenges. Unlike stable teams, which have been the focus of most academic study to date, cross-sector teams are made up of “shifting groups of people working collaboratively towards shared goals”. This means they have to learn to work together as they go along rather than capitalising on previous successes. Instead of sharing a common professional culture, members of extreme teams come from diverse backgrounds, often having to work with people they would not normally chose to interact with. Even within disciplines there is increasing specialisation, a result of the so-called “knowledge explosion” as expertise becomes ever deeper and narrower.

The common premise behind creating diverse teams is that such “teams expand their knowledge resources by bringing together diverse individuals, because each one offers a set of ideas and perspectives; bringing these inventories of expertise together makes them all available to the team’s work.” Unfortunately the research described by the authors shows that, in itself, this knowledge diversity does not necessarily lead to better results. Diverse knowledge is often underutilized. Instead teams face “the common knowledge effect – that is, the tendency of a teams possessing diverse information to inadvertently spend their time discussing information that is common to all members, rather than identifying and using members’ unique information.” This can be associated with lower rather than higher performance. The authors comment: “knowledge is socially embedded and context dependent, such that it can be difficult to transfer knowledge developed in a previous context and simply apply it to a new one.”

The central argument of the book is that it is the role of the leader to provide the “enabling conditions” so that knowledge can be effectively shared. This can be done by   developing common ground and shared meaning. Knowledge representations such as objects, stories and metaphors can be very useful in establishing shared mental models. Specifically the authors describe the value of “boundary objects” to help members communicate with each other. These include drawings, diagrams, models and blueprints that help to crystalise the understanding of all team members. Boundary objects are also useful in managing the interfaces between the various experts: “the identification and orchestration of interfaces between project participants who did not know each other well and worked in different fields could easily make the difference as to whether development activities were transferred effectively from one group to another, or from one process stage to another.” Managing the knowledge boundaries present within a project also involves identifying when knowledge can simply be transferred without negotiation or translation and the “structural holes”, gaps where neither side had yet developed the necessary knowledge.

The leader also needs to foster diversity mindsets. The purpose of this is to “clarify diversity-related goals and procedures how to achieve these goals, the main goals being the elimination of intergroup bias and facilitation of team learning”. There is also a social dimension. A major challenge for the cross-functional team lies in the underlying beliefs people have about how work is done. The authors comment: “some of the most important taken-for –granted assumptions relate to timeframes, work, priorities and values.” They advise: “helping extreme teamers become boundary-crossing tourists, eager to learn from other professional cultures, is a necessary first step in innovating together.” There is more to extreme teaming than simply information sharing and avoiding conflict. Team members need to engage in “perspective taking” and realise that “the distinct perspectives of project participants to be a boon to be leveraged, not a difficulty to be managed.”  

Extreme Teaming: Lessons in Complex, Cross-Sector Leadership

Amy C. Edmondson and Jean-Francois Harvey

Emerald Publishing, 2017.


K & IM Refer 34 (1), Spring 2018


Northern Ireland Official Publications Collection at Queen’s University

Norma Menabney, NIOPA

 The Library at Queen’s University Belfast has historically played an important role in collecting Northern Ireland official publications and making them available to the research community and the wider public.

Print publications have been collected for many years under National Archives and earlier HMSO guidance that the Library should be treated as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications. Since the formal cessation of print publication and move to electronic format, and in particular for the period of September 2015 onwards, the Library has focused on the creation of a digital archive of Northern Ireland official publications. The main focus of the work is to sustain the official publications collections for future generations.

The NIOPA team harvests documents from all Northern Ireland government official websites, adding monographs and serials to the archive for long term preservation using DSpace open source software. Associated document descriptions also enhance the ability of researchers to find the publications from a single source. With the full text search facility it is now possible to discover document content from the initial search query. As a result we are achieving a high search ranking within search engines such as Google. Our statistics and user feedback also tells us that content is being viewed internationally. Collection development guidelines for the archive have been agreed with the British Library and records and documents are supplied to the British Library to support its commitment to preserve digital works under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.

The Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive, (NIOPA) is available at

Queen’s University’s status as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications has enabled the Library to collect a wide range of Northern Ireland departmental publications in print and also includes a complete set of Parliamentary Papers for the Northern Ireland Parliament, along with Northern Ireland Assembly Papers for both the 1983-86 Assembly and the current Northern Ireland Assembly (1999 onwards).

The wider collection of the Library’s Official Publications includes an almost complete set of printed UK Parliamentary Papers from 1801 onwards along with selected copies of British and Irish departmental and agency publications along with more limited print collections of Council of Europe, Canadian, European Union, OECD and UN publications. The official publications collection in print consists of approximately 700 bays of print publications.


K & IM Refer 34 (1), Spring 2018

Update and News from SCOOP

Steven Hartshorne, Secretary, SCOOP

There was a pre-meeting presentation by Jason Webber, the British Library’s Web Archive Engagement Manager on the current state and future developments of the BL’s Web Archive []. This was a fascinating look at what is already a substantial and important resource for research. Jason encouraged members to nominate UK websites for inclusion.

The committee then discussed the results of the Print Still Matters survey undertaken last year. The respondents indicated that the website is of considerable use to researchers and would greatly benefit from being updated and expanded. The committee decided to take the updating of the PSM database forward and integrate it with a future project to include digital collections of Official Publications across the United Kingdom as well. The intention is to eventually create a resource similar in scope and structure to SWOP’s Directory of Official Publications in Scotland []

SCOOP also decided to canvas the opinion of its members (and potential members) and has devised a questionnaire for future circulation. The questions were drafted by Andrew Coburn and the survey will be publicised shortly via Survey Monkey.

The committee approved a new draft constitution and once it has been circulated to the members who were unable to attend the last meeting, it will be amended (where necessary) and ratified.

The final agenda item was the organisation of an Official Statistics training day, to be run jointly with the Statistics User Forum, the Office for National Statistics and the Royal Statistical Society. A rough curriculum for the day has been worked out and we’re hoping to run it in the Autumn in London.


K & IM Refer 34 (1), Spring 2018

K & IM Refer Winter 2017

Journal of CILIP’s Knowledge and Information Management Group 33 (3), Winter 2017

K & IM Information Resources Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel

Electronic Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel

 Walford Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel

 Knowledge Sharing At The Crick: Interdisciplinary Cooperation At The Crick Institute

Kate Arnold and Frank Norman, The Crick Institute

 The Evidence Based Pyramid: Laser-focused Search Technology

Abe Lederman, Deep Web Technologies and Dr. Sam Keim

 Schools In Crisis: Toward A Coherent Curriculum

Darryl Toerien, Oakham School

Answering Enquiries: An Updated Edition Of A Classic

Jonathan Cowley, Cardiff University

One Stop Shop For All Parliamentary Information

Donna Ravenhill, Public Information Online

Request For Feedback: The UK Web Archive


K & IM Refer: the journal of the Knowledge and Information Management Group of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), is published three times a year and distributed free to members of the Group.

 Editor: Helen Edwards

Editorial team: Ruth Hayes

Cover Design: Denise Carter

Contact: Helen Edwards 07989 565739;

Copyright © The contributors and the K & IM SIG 2017

Online edition

 ISSN: 0144-2384


 K&IM (London & South East Branch) are seeking a new Committee member to take up the Treasurer role. We run a strong programme of workshops, one-day courses and monthly visits to libraries in and around London.

Our friendly and sociable afternoon committee meetings take place five times a year at CILIP HQ.

Please call the Chair, David Baynes, on 02392 831 461 for a chat or email to express interest in the vacancy and then perhaps coming along to our next meeting to learn more.

K & IM Information Resources Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel


 Over the years these awards have had number of changes of name and direction. They started in 1970 as the Reference and Information Services Besterman and McColvin Awards; by the beginning of this century they were the Information Services Group Reference Awards. From 2017 they are the Knowledge and Information Management Information Resources Awards. This last name change reflects the way we had already been going, as a few years ago we had looked at information resources for young people.

In the early days the criteria for selection were very strict, rigid and conservative. But with the changing nature of publishing, the new and varied ways of presenting information and the increased demand and pressure in all areas, the criteria gradually evolved into something more flexible and relevant to all the information profession.

Whatever the format and whatever the awards are called, the selection for the shortlist still focuses on the quality of the information, its accuracy, currency and presentation, ease of use, availability and overall relevance to the knowledge, information management, library and information profession in the UK. This year the balance of print and electronic resources nominated was even – new and exciting works are being produced in both formats.

Print Awards 2017

In A Romantics Chronology 1780-1832 events in the lives of leading figures in the romantic age are placed in their historical context. A month by month summary depicts milestones in the lives of major writers and other prominent personalities alongside significant political and cultural events. The emphasis is on major British authors such as Jane Austen, Blake, Byron, Burns, Keats and Walter Scott. However, many lesser writers are also included as well as publishers, scientists, artists, composers and politicians. The coverage also includes many references to the Napoleaonic Wars and even the arrival of Stanford Raffles in Singapore in 1820 is mentioned.

A prodigious amount of research has gone into this book. The amount of detail in the pages is impressive, yet the entries are detailed, succinct, readable and fascinating. The scope and coverage are clearly explained and the book is straightforward to use and find your way round. The ease with which information can be extracted makes this a particularly valuable reference tool (and an example to others). The three excellent indexes – author / name, title and subject – make retrieving information highly rewarding. There is a comprehensive and up-to-date set of references and details of relevant websites. This work is a tool to use, an excellent information resource.

In the preface the author states that ‘one of the main purposes of a chronology is to reveal juxtaposition, connections and possibilities’.   The end result is a panorama of one of the richest periods in British culture. The book comes in the Author Chronology Series of nearly 30 titles covering writers from Christopher Marlowe to Harold Pinter.


A Romantics Chronology, 1780-1832 by Martin Garrett, published by Palgrave Macmillan at £65 is the undisputed Winner of the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Resources Awards

The Book of Pears: the definitive history and guide to over 500 varieties is a beautiful piece of modern book production, as well as being an ambitious and scholarly work. It covers the cultivation and use of the pear from ancient Assyria to the present day. There is an exhaustive and highly informative description of over 500 pear varieties with guidance on their identification and edibility. This is accompanied by a list of pear collections worldwide.

Throughout the book are over 40 detailed and very beautiful watercolours by the renowned botanical artist, Elizabeth Dowle.

The only problem we found with this work was the font size used for the index, it is far too small to be read comfortably – even by the younger members of the judging panel. It was the same with the references and bibliography, although this section was extremely comprehensive and up-to-date.

All that apart, this book shows an impressive breadth of knowledge and wide-ranging scholarship. Joan Morgan’s book on apples has become a standard work in the field of horticultural literature and this book will join it. There is an accompanying web site which contains photographs of all the 500 or so varieties.

A rich and deeply fascinating book, an indispensable work for historians, horticulturalists, gardeners and fruit lovers.   The Book of Pears: the definitive history and guide to over 500 varieties by Dr Joan Morgan, published by Ebury Press at £45, or £15 for the Kindle edition, is Highly Commended in 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Resources Awards

People and Places – a 21sth century atlas of the UK takes data from the 2011 census plus more recent statistical findings to identify national and local trends and show how much and how quickly the UK is changing. This is a social geography of the United Kingdom between 2001 and 2011.

There are seven broad subject chapters covering amongst other things occupation, families, religion, sex, age, marriage, homes and the community. The commentaries in each area are very insightful and readable and accompanied by helpful bar charts. The coverage is exhaustive and there is an astonishing amount of information here.

The many maps come in the format of population cartograms, i.e. the size of each administrative area is in direct proportion to its population. This is a very illuminating and informative, but the small size of the maps can make them difficult to read and where colours are used, hard to distinguish one area from another.

Perhaps our major criticism of the book was the fact that there were no indexes; you must guess in which chapter a topic may be covered and then search through the pages.

However the book is excellent value for money and its originality and the amount of information it contains makes it a title not to miss.

 People and places: a 21st century atlas of the UK by Danny Dorling and Bethan Thomas, published by Policy Press at £22.99 is Commended in the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Resources Awards

K & IM Refer 33 (3), Winter 2018











K & IM Electronic Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel

To begin with I would like to thank all the members of the judging panel for their hard work and commitment.   Not only did they spend a full day making decisions on the print, electronic and Walford nominations, they had previously had to look at the 17 websites nominated – a no mean task! Amazingly all but one of these electronic sites were free.

The National Library of Scotland has one of the ten largest map collections in the world with over 2 million maps, atlases, gazetteers and digital map databases. To everyone’s immense benefit the library is digitising the collection; so far there are available more than 160,000 high resolution, zoomable images.

As you might expect, the coverage for Scotland is considerable. There are maps covering the whole of Scotland from 1560 to 1928, Ordnance Survey maps from 1843 to 1960 at all scales, including over 17,000 25 inches to the mile sheets up to 1945, and large-scale maps of Scottish towns 1847-1885. However, the coverage isn’t just Scotland; England and Wales have a strong showing. The collection of 25-inch Ordnance Survey maps for England and Wales from 1841 to 1952 has just been completed, the 1 inch Seventh Series (1952-6) is there and there are the 5 feet to the mile maps of London 1893-96.

Beyond the United Kingdom there are 130 Ordnance Survey trench maps from World War 1, the Times Survey Atlas of the World 1920 edition – the list could go on and on.   I haven’t mentioned coastal charts, military maps, Scottish Post Office maps and estate plans to name a few.

The whole collection can be searched by place name, as well as mapmaker. Georeferenced maps allow the original map to be overlaid on a modern map. You can zoom in on particular parts of a map and the image remains clear and precise. All of this is free and very user-friendly. Printouts, digital images and photocopies are available at very modest charges.

The collection available on the site is continually growing (as the list of recent additions illustrates), so there are more gems to come.   Without doubt a most impressive and authoritative website. The National Library of Scotland: Map Images is the Winner in the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Electronic Resources Awards.

We go across the Atlantic for the next website.

The Global Terrorism Database is an open-source searchable database of information on terrorist events around the world and is maintained at the University of Maryland. The site includes systematic data on terrorist incidents that have occurred anywhere in the world from 1970 to 2016. Over 170,000 terrorist attacks are described – bombings, assassinations and kidnappings – all kinds of attacks, not necessarily those that cause loss of life. The definition for inclusion is ‘threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain political, economic, religious or social gain through fear, coercion or intimidation’.

There is a sophisticated but easily useable advanced search available which allows a search by date, city, perpetrator group, fatalities, attack type, weapons or target – in fact up to 45 variables for each event. For each incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and when available, the group or individual responsible. Over 4 million news articles are cited. I searched on ‘Jo Cox’ by name and the entry came up quickly giving a 4-line description of what happened and then further details on what, how and who plus a list of incident sources, in this case the BBC, The Turkish Daily and Reuters.

This is a truly international database and the major publicly available dataset covering the field. It is impressive for its detail, authority, neutrality and objectivity.   The Global Terrorism Database is Highly Commended in the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Electronic Resources Awards.

Looking back through the archive of nominations, for many years there was usually a ‘bird book’ sent in, and occasionally one came within the top three titles.   Recently we haven’t had any such nominations, but this year we did receive nominations for two bird websites. They show how far we have come from our older, more traditional sources and how attractive and accessible information can now be made.   We looked closely at both of them and decided to Commend both in the awards.

I never had much joy trying to identify a strange, new bird in my garden but I think with the RSPB Bird Identifier I will have better luck. This is a very search-friendly site; you indicate what you know and based on each piece of information you give, the number of results is whittled down and thumbnail illustrations appear to help you.

The search options are extremely practical.   Instead of asking if the bird is 4 inches or 8 inches long, you are given 5 choices to say whether it is, for example, smaller than a robin or between a black bird and pigeon.   After this sections cover place (5 choices), colour (11 options that can be combined), beak and behaviour.   Once you get to an individual bird there are a couple of illustrations, a description, a distribution map, audio clips and a superb video.

This is a very straightforward site that, although it has a limited interest, is so well arranged and presented that the RSPB Bird Identifier is Commended in the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Electronic Resources Awards.

Back across the Pond again for our other bird site.

The Guide to American Birds is part of the National Audubon Society website, and describes over 1,000 species of birds in North America. Birds can be browsed by species or searched by name or species. Entries provide information on conservation status, scientific classification and habitat. There is an extensive photo gallery for each bird (the bald eagle has 13 different pictures). The sound collection illustrates the songs and calls; here there 10 examples alone for the American Robin.   Very detailed maps show the range of each bird for over all of North America.   There is a Bird Guide App for iPhone and Android, and information can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and email. Not a site that will very heavily used over here, but a site that shows what a website can and should offer, and once again it is free.

The Guide to American Birds is also Commended in the 2017 Knowledge and Information Management Information Electronic Resources Awards.


K & IM Refer 33 (3,) Winter 2017

The Walford Awards 2017

Amanda Duffy, Chair Awards Panel

We received an unprecedented number of nominations for the Walford Award this year and it was difficult to reduce that list to just one name. So we decided to award two Walfords this time in celebration of the formation of K&IM Special Interest Group. Our two winners show the wide diversity of work that encompasses the information and knowledge management field.

So as not to show any bias or favouritism, they are alphabetical order.

David Gurteen

David began life as a physicist and worked for many years for British Aerospace in the IT field. His time with Lotus Development introduced him to Knowledge Management (although he didn’t know it as such). He established his own consultancy in 1993 and quickly realised that the real issues around IT were about people – their behaviour, learning and ways of working together effectively. From there, he hasn’t stopped, becoming a real champion for sharing knowledge and creating networks through the power of conversation and knowledge cafes. David is a model Knowledge Management practitioner, open minded, inclusive and willing to share learning with, as well as learn from, others. His modesty and enthusiasm for his subject are infectious.

Very few other people have made the sustained, generous, ever expanding and visible contribution to Knowledge Management globally that David has. He has been a tireless ambassador for KM, crossing professional boundaries in an understated and effective way, and winning over sceptics and critics alike.

In appreciation of his openness, enthusiasm and objectivity in this growing area of professional information work, the Walford Award is presented to David Gurteen.

Valerie Nurcombe

Valerie’s contribution to information work and resources takes two paths. Firstly, she has been the author of a number of essential works on information sources in architecture, building and above all official publications.   And it is with official publications that Valerie’s second and truly major contribution lies.

The Standing Committee on Official Publications (SCOOP), from its inception in 1970, has played an important part within the Information Services Group. SCOOP brings together users of official publications in all kinds of library, authors of official publications (mostly Parliament) and publishers of official publications. As long-term secretary of SCOOP, Valerie kept these groups talking to each other and resolving the many issues that arose (and still arise).

She also kept day-to-day practitioners in the field up-to-date and confident in the use and exploitation of official publications. Most of this was done through very successful day schools, meetings and seminars, all of which were delivered by senior people in the profession. These events were not only extremely popular (many had to be repeated again and again), they were also very important in spreading the word about the vital importance of maintaining and promoting official publications collections. On top of this, they were financially very profitable, and sales of the published proceedings spread the word even further.

Recognition of Valerie’s extensive and dedicated work is long overdue, and Knowledge and Information Management Group is pleased to acknowledge this by presenting her with the Walford Award in 2017.


K & IM Refer 33 (3), Winter 2017