In one of the industry mailing lists, a member asked if anyone else had the title of knowledge architect and, if so, what do they define it as. Since that is the title I go by, I thought it might be useful to explain how I define the role and what separates it from others.
(I was somewhat surprised to find that I hadn't answered this before -- in writing. I do it a lot in person. My opening posts define Information Architecture and Knowledge Management, but skipped the synergy between them that is where I live and work today...)
I tend to keep my definitions simple. So to me Knowledge Architecture is the application of information architecture to knowledge management. That is, using the skills for defining and designing information spaces to establish an environment conducive to managing knowledge.
Borrowing a metaphor from physics, you can think of the difference between information architecture and knowledge architecture in terms of energy. Information architecture tends to focus on designing spaces for existing or predefined information. What might be called kinetic information. For example, one branch of information architecture focuses on findability, with little or no concern about how the content itself comes into being.
Knowledge architecture, on the other hand, deals with potential information. So, rather than determining the best way to use existing content, the knowledge architect is designing "spaces" that encourage knowledge to be created, captured, and shared. In this respect, the actual content doesn't matter as much as the life cycle -- how and when it gets created and how best to get it to the right people quickly. For example, collaboration strategies may focus on the structure and set up of team spaces or discussion forums -- how they get created, how they operate, how people find them and vice versa. But the actual tasks and topics discussed in those spaces are up to the teams that use them and may not be determined to long after the strategy is completed and in place.
That is not to say that knowledge architects don't have plenty of traditional information architecture/content management responsibilities as well -- such as taxonomies, web site structures, search interfaces, etc. But what sets them apart from other information architects is their focus on the design of spaces and the processes that support knowledge being exchanged, rather than on the knowledge itself.