Personal knowledge management

A moleskine notebook filled with text next to a coffee.

The thought of being capable of managing my own knowledge have always been present, in some way. It was, in fact, one of the main reasons I started this blog: I wanted to store my ideas, yes, but I wanted some place to store everything created from the development of such ideas. I was starting to store part, a little part, of my knowledge on a moleskine notebook. But it was all based on this blog’s theme: people, behavior, psychology.

The rest of my mind have been kept in, figuring a way out through notes apps, sketches, photos, all stored in different places, even physically and virtually speaking. I wasn’t even near an answer until I found out about the concept of “Personal Wiki“.

You can read the article on wikipedia. Basically, a wiki is a set of pages, with the ability to link to one another, all based in showing information relating specific topics. Wikipedia is the “great” wiki, made to be used by anyone to build a massive encyclopedia. Now, a personal wiki is something else.

It’s about you, about your personal knowledge.

Think about it as a book about you… Or even if time lets you, several book about you. Don’t take the egocentric approach in this one. Look at it thinking you could have everything related to you in one place. Places you’ve visited, movies you’ve watched, childhood memories, information about other people (personal kind of information like what does that person like to talk about and what topics seem forbidden or that sort of things). The whole concept really amazed me (I can’t find a better word… Not at 5:30 in the morning).

I know you can organize your life using different methods. One of them being using lists and reminders, and that sort of things. But that makes you life the present: “I should be reminded to do something, I’ll do it then”. It’s not the words but the attitude; you’re making your life be a giant omnipresent and never-ending To-do list. I don’t want that, and neither should you.

With some way of organizing one’s knowledge, to let it be readable at any time, makes you actually know about you. It’s said that only you know yourself better than anyone else. Perhaps it’s not truth, but regardless of that, you don’t know everything about yourself. Unless you have “hyperthymesia”, you probably know a lot about yourself, but remember like a 10%… Which leads to not know everything there is about yourself.

So, storing that knowledge, to be able to read it, could be beneficial, am I wrong?

Photo by Gene Wilburn.

6 Thoughts

  1. Carol says:

    Found your blog a couple of days ago stumbling around and well… It’s pretty interesting!… Of course, I just read a couple of articles, but still, I liked them.

    About this one, it’s a pretty interesting idea to be able to do that… Like turning your brain into a book… Quite odd and puzzling…

    Keep on writing! (I know, I repeat myself a lot)

  2. Carlos Pelayo says:

    Original: Hola Mathias,

    Me parece muy interesante, y me llamo tanto la atencion que comence a investigar en la web, y ver de que se trata. No parece sencillo, he visitado dos paginas, una se llama TiddlyWiki y la otra MoinMoin, una parece ser personal y la otra cualquiera puede accesar y cambiar lo que escribes. Debo investigar mas.


    Eng: Hi Mathias,

    I find it very interesting, and it caught my attention so much I started some research on the web, to see what’s it about. It doesn’t look simple, I’ve visited two pages, one is called TiddlyWiki and the other MoinMoin, one seems to be personal and the other anyone can get in and change what you write. I have to do some more research.

    • Original: Hola! Lo que sucede con las wikis es que las plataformas para crearlas son muchas, cada una cuidando algunos aspectos más que otras. Muy pocas son exclusivamente orientadas a ser personales (y, por tanto, privadas).

      Como mencionas, TiddlyWiki es una de ellas. VoodooPad es al parecer la mejor opción en Mac OSX y iOS, mientras que Ema Personal Wiki parecer ser la más usada en Android. No es algo muy famoso esto de las wikis personales, y a mi no me convence ninguna de estas aplicaciones… En realidad planeo hacer una yo mismo. Saludos!


      Eng: Hey! The thing with wikis is that the platforms in which you create them are many, each taking care of some aspects more than others. Just a few are exclusively oriented to be personal (and, therefore, private).

      As you mentioned, TiddlyWiki is one of them. VoodooPad seems to be the best option on Mac OSX and iOS, while Ema Personal Wiki appears to be the most used on Android. This personal wikis thing is not something very famous, and I’m not really convinced by any of these applications… Actually I’m planning to make one myself. Cheers!

  3. Personal knowledge management is something I have struggled with for many years. I considered using both wiki and blog approaches, but I didn’t find either satisfying. In the end, I found that I still use several core tools, with Evernote being the closest to a wiki. When I want to tie things together, I usually prefer mapping tools to something that requires writing. I also blog on personal knowledge management, with two colleagues. I posted a few months ago about my pkm ecosystem, and my two colleagues have just started running a free, year-long course on pkm.

    • To be honest I find Evernote too packaged with features not everybody uses… I don’t like to use it because I feel cluttered by them. To be fair, I do like to map things for organization, and derived from that is the reason of liking the wiki approach: I can have information and links between pieces.

      I do have to ask, though. I read your comment and part of the web you shared… What do you mean by personal knowledge? What I mean is knowledge stored in my own mind… I’m sorry, if I understood you wrong.

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