The competitiveness of companies active in areas with high market change rate depends heavily on how they maintain and access their knowledge (i.e., their corporate memory). Most information in modern electronic media is textual, visual, and audial and rather weakly structured. This holds for the internet but also for the large intranets of companies and organizations.

Finding and maintaining information is a hard problem in this weakly structured representation media. An increasing number of companies are realising that their company's intranets are valuable repositories of corporate information. However, raw information in large quantities does not by itself solve business problems, produce value or provide competitive advantage. Information is useless without an understanding of how to apply it effectively. But with the volume of information available increasing rapidly, turning information into useful knowledge has become a major problem.

Knowledge Management is about acquiring, maintaining, and accessing knowledge of an organization. It aims to exploit an organisation's intellectual assets for greater productivity, new value, and increased competitiveness.

Due to globalisation and the impact of the Internet, many organisations are increasingly geographically dispersed and organised around virtual teams. Such organisations need knowledge management and organisational memory tools that encourage users to understand each other's changing contextual knowledge and foster collaboration while capturing, representing and interpreting the knowledge resources of their organisations.

Such enhanced corporate knowledge can be exploited in a variety of ways. Sharing and re-using current best practice improves current business processes and eliminate duplication of effort. New business opportunities can be generated by collecting intelligence on markets and sales leads and new products and services can be created, developed and brought to the market place ahead of your competitors.

Project Extension Rationale

The problem: building real-world applications involving knowledge management is too complex. Making use of the fruits of the Artificial Intelligence is often too challenging and expensive for the software developers and system integrators. The components (tools, services, etc.) that involve formal knowledge management technics does not make an exception in this respect Ð they are either two shallow (so, providing questionable performance) either to hard for understanding and tunning. The problem can be explained by analogy Ð it took to the IT community about two decades to adopt the relational detabases: to understand the paradigm, to develop mature systems, to gather exploitation practices, to learn how to build systems around them, how to tune and maintain them, and finally, to accumulate a critical mass of people that can manage them. We are faced with similar problems with the knowledge management systems.

Solving the problem: Software Architecture. One of the things that changed the situation arround the relational databases was that a lot of software infrastructure (libraries, components, layers, application servers, etc.) was developed to facilitate their use in an easy and as much as possible vendor independent fashion. The already running project is trying to develope methodology, languages and tools targeted to resolve the principal problems related with the knowledge management in a heterogenuous environments. This extension will define and develop a software architecture in order to resolve the everyday technical difficulties that use to raise the cost of buildging of real-world solutions arround such technologies.