Ecoinformatics Conference Service, Environmental Information Management 2008

LTER Information Managers: A Community of Practice

Karen S. Baker, Nicole E. Kaplan, Inigo San Gil, Margaret O'Brien, Florence Millerand

Last modified: 2008-08-21


Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and who want to learn more about how they do it. Such a community is more than a group of people having the same job or a network of connections between people. Three elements characterize a Community of Practice: 1) the domain, 2) the community, and 3) the practice. Regular interaction such as with an annual meeting is a key integrative mechanism that brings into play elements of practice including agenda setting, knowledge management, professional development, advocacy, and resource mobilization. The history and multi-dimensional aspects of Communities of Practice provide a framework for considering information management organizationally through structures that facilitate communication and learning. We explore the Long Term Ecological Research Information Management Committee in particular as a Community of Practice. Examples of how the information management role has emerged and is defined within the Long Term Ecological Research community will be presented. How the committee as a collective fits within this framework will be considered by taking into account interests, activities, and relations. Active membership, professional engagement, and collective learning are needed to ensure relevance as well as long-term sustainability.