Table 1

Implicit and explicit knowledge

Implicit knowledge (U)

Explicit knowledge (E)


The implicit knowledge used to recognize the face of a specific person.

The explicit knowledge (e.g., textual descriptions) that would allow to recognize faces of people (including a specific person).

Complexity, Context retention

Rich, grounded in reality.

High retention of context in form of salient features.

Lean, more abstract, symbolic.

Variable amount of context retention.


Detection, learning of correlations and regularities of environment.

Explicitation of one's implicit knowledge.

Explicit acquisition of knowledge (e.g., through reading).


Unstructured, present implicitly in data recordings of the environment (e.g., image of a person).

Varies from less structured (e.g., natural language) to very structured (e.g., formal descriptions).


Transferable only in implicit form through the data recordings (i.e., representations) of the environment.

Transferable through languages (natural or formal) and communication (e.g., verbal).


Very well applicable to specific problem instances.

Applicable to both, specific and more generic problems.

Processing mechanisms

Pattern recognition, feature selection, associative memory.


Pantazi et al. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2004 4:19   doi:10.1186/1472-6947-4-19

Open Data