We often get asked the question "What is the difference between Plone and KARL". In other words: what is the difference between a Content Management System (CMS), like Plone, and a Knowledge Management System (KMS), such as KARL?
While KMS and CMS both offer tools to manage and share information, they differ in many ways.
Information vs. Knowledge
A CMS is a system that allows contributors to manage information, defined as factual data that does not necessarily engage consumers. A knowledge management product aims at managing content, content interpretation, and relationships (e.g. “Fred also worked on these projects...”) KMS are by nature highly collaborative and participative.
Push vs Exchange
Traditionally, CMS are based on a push strategy to disseminate information. In contrast, KMS aim at providing an exchange platform for the critical knowledge that people need in order to perform their jobs.
In CMS, control over the display of the content is key, therefore CMS offer a wide array of editing tools. In KMS, the message is key. The open source KARL KMS strives to get out of the way and offer simple and straight-forward editing tools.
In CMS, authors are limited to specific groups of content contributors and content reviewers. In contrast, KMS engage all members of an organization, as well as external members and partners.
Frequency of Updates
A CMS-based website or intranet is updated periodically as part of a dedicated process (create/manage/publish flow). Business-critical knowledge is constantly captured in a KMS as a by-product of daily work interactions (KARL users can post blog content via email).
CMS tend to power public websites. KARL instances are all private with invitation-based access.
At Six Feet Up, we use the open source CMS Plone to power our website, the open source KMS KARL to manage our collective knowledge, and the open source issue tracking system Trac to manage our projects. What do you use and how is that working for you?