Types of Knowledge Bases

A knowledge base is an essential component of an effective knowledge management (KM) system. It’s a self-serve, centralized repository for information about products, services, departments, or topics. Data in your knowledge base can come from anywhere. Contributors well-versed in relevant subjects can add to and expand your knowledge base.
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Any of the following can be considered a knowledge base:

  • FAQs (frequently asked question)
  • PDFs
  • Word documents
  • Spreadsheets
  • Web portals
  • Wikis
  • Help center (content management system)
  • In-browser extensions
  • On-premise databases

Knowledge management solutions let SMEs “brain dump” their expertise into an online resource that can be updated and edited as they see fit. That way, when team members have questions, they can go straight to the source for answers without having to bother the actual source. Plus, a verification feature like Guru’s tells users that the information available is trusted and up-to-date, eliminating any need to double check with the SME.

What is the difference between database and knowledge base?

The difference between a database and a knowledge base is that a database is a collection of data representing facts in their basic form, while a knowledge base stores information as answers to questions or solutions to problems. A knowledge base allows for rapid search, retrieval, and reuse. Information in a knowledge base is typically fully developed and ready to be applied.

6 Types Of Knowledge Bases

There are six main types of knowledge bases. They include the following:

Internal Knowledge Base

An internal knowledge base is created by your organization strictly for employees to access information as needed. Discover how a knowledge base integration with Guru can be so much more useful for your team than a traditional knowledge base.

Hosted Knowledge Base

A hosted knowledge base collects and stores information for both your (internal) team and your (external) customers or stakeholders, keeping data well-organized and easily searchable.

Self-hosted Knowledge Base

This type of knowledge base is hosted on your organization’s own servers. This approach gives you more control over security, privacy, and uptime but also means you are responsible for handling concerns and fixing any issues that arise.

Customer Knowledge Base

A customer knowledge base organizes information to make it easy for your customers to access and use. 

Open-source Knowledge Base Software

Open-source knowledge bases are openly accessible to the public and may or may not be free of charge. Open-source knowledge base software can be helpful if your organization wants to allow developers or programmers to customize the source code according to business needs. 

External Knowledge Base

An external knowledge base contains publicly accessible knowledge about a product and/or company. Because this is customer- or public-facing, it would not be appropriate for confidential or private information. Learn more about external knowledge bases here.

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How do I choose a knowledge base?

First, determine whether you need an internal knowledge base or an external knowledge base. Then, consider your knowledge management strategy. Those two factors in combination should give you sense of your technical requirements.

  • If you’re hosting an externally facing help center that needs to be updated 1-4 times/year, a content management system (CMS) may be your best option.
  • If your knowledge is meant to be accessed only in one or two specific offices for security reasons, a database that can only be accessed from on-premise computers is the right choice.
  • If you need an internal knowledge base that is updated once a month by 1-2 users but read by many, a wiki solution may work.
  • If you need an internal knowledge base that is both updated by and read by many people multiple times per month, a web portal may be your best option. If those people work in multiple apps, look for one with an in-browser extension.

Leverage Guru As A Knowledge Base

To grow and innovate, respond to customers, manage suppliers, and achieve organizational objectives, you need effective knowledge management. Guru can help you organize internal knowledge and facilitate knowledge-sharing across your company and beyond. Get started today with Guru for free, and discover the power of integrated knowledge management for your business.

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