Applying a Knowledge Conversion Model to Cultural History: Folk Song From Oral Tradition to Digital Transformation


  • Simon Burnett
  • Caroline Macafee
  • Dorothy Williams


SECI model, digital transformation, folk song, knowledge conversion


The purpose of this research project was to test the applicability of the SECI model to a cultural domain within an ethnographic context: the transmission of Scots folk song. Drawing on the archive of the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University, the model was applied to five historical phases defined by changes in the use of media in song acquisition and transmission: oral tradition; externalization in print; dependence on literacy; audio media; and digitization. The findings show that the model offers a valuable analytical framework that can be widely applied in cultural as well as organizational contexts. In addition, the model may be used in a longitudinal analysis to describe non‑static relationships between knowledge processes and changing contexts of media and society over time. In addition, the SECI model also emphasises the critical roles played by the community (or communities) in the transmission process, and the physical and virtual spaces in which those transmissions occur.



1 Jul 2017



General Paper