In information technology, knowledge is, to an enterprise or an individual, the possession of information or the ability to quickly locate it. This is essentially what Samuel Johnson, compiler of the first comprehensive English dictionary, said when he wrote that:

"Knowledge is of two kinds: we know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."

In the context of the business enterprise or the personal computer user, knowledge tends to connote possession of experienced "know-how" as well as possession of factual information or where to get it. Enterprises have recently begun to treat their accumulated knowledge as an asset and to develop knowledge management plans and applications. A new kind of application, called data mining, attempts to develop knowledge from a company's accumulated business transactions and other data.

In philosophy, the theory of knowledge is called epistemology and deals with such questions as how much knowledge comes from experience or from innate reasoning ability; whether knowledge needs to be believed or can simply be used; and how knowledge changes as new ideas about the same set of facts arise.

This was last updated in April 2005

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