Living Documents: collaboration knowledge development based on the metaphor of a living document

TheĀ  Living Documents system allows for collaboration knowledge development based on the metaphor of a living document that combines stable and more mature parts with emergent comments and opinions. See the following gallery of screen shots:

Example scenario

To be updated about changes in medical practice, e.g., in the course of an updated guidelines, selected staff members of a practice attend training events. The new insights gained from participating in those events are not only relevant for the participants, but also for other staff members. Sharing those in a meaningful way would help to promote the learning of all practice members, but just forwarding the training material creates a lot of “information noise” so that relevant new insights are not acknowledged.

After attending a training, the participants can create new documents in the Living Documents system. They can assign them to topics to which other practice members can subscribe so that they are updated about new content in this area. Original training material can be attached, but a quick summary is useful that translates the new information into the context of the practice. This can then evolve into a broader discussion around changes to the everyday work practice.


  • Commenting and discussion of stable document parts
  • Indicators for maturity of stable document parts and comments
  • Promotion of discussion results to stable parts by moderators
  • Selective notification based on content and maturity

Conceptual background

The approach to supporting learning has been based on the knowledge maturing model. The system promotes knowledge maturing by providing a contextual space for conversations that can be linked to more mature knowledge

Involved partners

  • Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • University of Leeds, UK


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