Personal Knowledge Base

It is surprising how much of my personal (and professional) knowledge is just a list of links with some context. Some times the context is just tags and sometimes it is notes and meta information and even a few reflections. Here are a few tools I use.

Bookmarks and Social Bookmarking tools

I have been using them for a while but since I keep switching browsers, I keep losing a bunch of them. I started using delicious but over a period of time, its browser plugins are all broken. I still do have a lot of stuff in my delicious account.

The problem with bookmarks as well as delicious is that you need to be explicit. There is a chance to build something that is a bit smarter in several ways. More on that in a different post.

Evernote

Evernote is one of my current favorites. The advantage is that it works pretty well on Windows, Android and iPad. You can sync your stuff on multiple devices. The disadvantage (at least for me) is that it is not easy to link across notes or notebooks.

Google Docs

I don’t particularly like Google docs to do anything personal. I use it for shared lists and some other stuff but I have this uneasy feeling about having everything in Google.

Wikipad

For a long time this was my personal KB. But occasionally it gets corrupted. It does not have some of the capabilities of Evernote (formatting, synchronization etc.) but very simple to use and is great for cross linking notes.

Twiter

This is another one of my current favorites. It has a few problems but may end up working well in the long run. I use a private Twitter account to save links with some context and found an open source python program to download tweets (mine and others as well).

Blogs

My blogs (both public and private) are probably the most effective. The public blogs are a bit skewed since I also tend to think about my readers. Some times I fiddle with them months or even years after I write them. I don’t delete outdated blog posts even though some times I feel that I should.

I tried many others  – email, OneNote, Word docs etc. None of them worked to my satisfaction.

What about you? What works for you?

Meta:

Though not directly related to the post here are some links you may enjoy:

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3 thoughts on “Personal Knowledge Base

  1. I moved from delicious to google bookmarks!
    yes, it is on google, but works for me.
    the limitation that i face for a personal knowledge base is that it is more than just links and notes.
    i also like to associate them with people.
    people information that is spread across mail contacts, linkedin, facebook etc.
    to some extent, windows [8 as well as phone] helps me aggregate, but still dopes not link them the way i would like to have them.
    my need is a graph that can be easily edited — possibly using #tags

  2. Shiv,
    Good points. In an earlier iteration of the post, I linked it to a wikipedia entry on PKM. But I think the lines between PIM (Personal Information Management) and PKM are a bit blurry. I agree about expanding it to events, people, places and even topics.

    Looks like a good application to build with a plugin to either email or browser. But neither of this may work in handheld devices. An explicit web app may not be used much. That is the dilemma.

    Dorai

  3. Yes Dorai.
    My expectation from a PIM is more of organizing ‘static’ information about contacts. calendar etc that are operational, whereas PKM should help organize directly and indirectly related pieces of information .

    one analogy i like is that of a plate of noodles. multiple threads, seemingly unrelated, but have some possible crossovers – to let accidental knowledge discovery – and whichever thread is your focus at some point of time, the rest of the information should be pivoted around it, to provide knowledge needed at that instant. like putting in a fork and swirling it to collect related strands..

    to maintain this data structure on the cloud and client – browsers or apps syncing with that might be a possibility.

    i am watching google now [sorry, again google!], which seems to be in that direction. where it would pick up related information based on personal needs at that moment.

    i tried using a CRM application within an enterprise to address some of the personal KM needs within an enterprise for enabling functions.

    would like to talk to you sometime about that.

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