Chapter 16
Knowledge Management for Engineering: A Web Science Perspective.


The design of large engineering systems is complex, costly, and a highly technical operation. Design reuse is one approach used to decrease the cost and time to market, where design knowledge reuse can range from the use of standard logic gates in integrated circuit design to the reuse of a fixture design [1, 2]. Over the last 20 or so years the introduction of the personal computer in parallel with the Internet and the World Wide Web has totally transformed how we deal with information in the workplace. This chapter considers the current and future impact of this technology, within engineering, with particular reference to the design process. It has been estimated that 90% of engineering design activity is based on variant design [3], while during a redesign activity up to 70% of the information is taken from previous solutions [4]. A cursory consideration of these figures identified two immediate challenges, how we capture knowledge during the design process, and how we retrieve it. This chapter considers various aspects of the knowledge management challenges found in engineering organizations, with particular referance to the design process, and the range of technologies that can provide a solution.

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