A body of knowledge (BOK or BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional domain, as defined by the relevant learned society or professional association. It is a type of knowledge representation by any knowledge organization. Several definitions of BOK have been developed, for example:
- "Structured knowledge that is used by members of a discipline to guide their practice or work." "The prescribed aggregation of knowledge in a particular area an individual is expected to have mastered to be considered or certified as a practitioner." (BOK-def). Waite's pragmatic view is also worth noting (Ören 2005): "BOK is a stepping stone to unifying community" (Waite 2004).
- The systematic collection of activities and outcomes in terms of their values, constructs, models, principles and instantiations, which arises from continuous discovery and validation work by members of the profession and enables self-reflective growth and reproduction of the profession (Romme 2016).
- A set of accepted and agreed upon standards and nomenclatures pertaining to a field or profession (INFORMS 2009).
- A set of knowledge within a profession or subject area which is generally agreed as both essential and generally known (Oliver 2012).
A body of knowledge is the accepted ontology for a specific domain. A BOK is more than simply a collection of terms; a professional reading list; a library; a website or a collection of websites; a description of professional functions; or even a collection of information.
The following are examples of bodies of knowledge from professional organisations: