Personal Knowledge Management

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by lcjjdnh, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. lcjjdnh macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Perhaps this is a foolhardy quest, but I'm looking to find some program that would help me organize/recall/archive/connect all of the "knowledge" I gather in the course of my reading. I'm thinking I want somewhere to catalog interesting articles, keep track of books I've read (and my notes), jot down other thoughts, etc. I've looked at programs like Evernote, DevonThink, Tinderbox, The Brain, etc., but I'm not really sure which would work best for something like this. Most of the things I've read have been geared toward using these programs to help with specific projects, whereas I want to just use this to generate a personal knowledge database of sorts. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm sure one of those programs will work, but maybe someone could point me in the direction of some examples of how I would use it for a project like this.

  2. Daysight macrumors regular

    Dec 15, 2011
    PIM - personal information management. One of the holy grails of personal computing. I've tried many apps over the decades. OneNote is pretty good but not on a Mac. I've settled on Evernote plus the stock PIM apps (calendar, contacts).
  3. onekerato macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2011
    How you could use Evernote:

    * Use elephant icon Evernote helper app in Mac OS X menubar to capture a quick note or URL or screen clip.

    * Use Evernote clipper for Safari/Chrome to clip entire web pages, tag it or file it if you prefer to do so.

    * Use with iPhone camera to scan in handwritten notes. Since Evernote has decent OCR built-in, you shouldn't avoid taking notes with pen and paper - such as when reading a book.

    * Capture everything into one large collection notebook in Evernote, say the "Inbox" notebook

    * Review this "Inbox" notebook periodically, assign tags to notes, move into other notebooks (clear out the "Inbox" so you always know how many notes need to be reviewed.) Add a short paragraph of text to clarify what the note is about, or to jot down the words you're likely to use to search for this note.

    * Drag out shortcuts to notebooks or tags or specific notes to Evernote's sidebar so information is one-click away. If there's a note you are currently updating, such as "10 things to remember for my next visit to ___" or "My Book Reading List", keep a link to it in the sidebar.

    * In general, write down notes in Evernote from the perspective of "your future self." When you come back to this note, what would you look for? For a book, it may make sense to jot down the core or unique ideas first. Or you may want to record a short audio summary. Since Evernote notes are editable, perhaps you spend a few minutes on the next visit to "improve" the note. For example, you could add a few URLs to relevant websites or files on disk.

    * Use Evernote note crosslinks to add "see also" sections to a note. Could be quite useful after running a search through your collection and coming across two notes that belong together. Further, try out the intelligent "related notes" feature in Evernote to discover related content.

    Why Evernote?
    - it's free version is excellent
    - reliable sync
    - works well on mobile devices
    - rapid development, new features
    - designed for quick capture of ideas/notes
    - share specific notebooks with other users
    - automatic OCR of scanned images
    - combine rich text, voice memos, checklists in same note

    Why not Evernote?
    - syncs all data to the Evernote cloud, so you should take care with the content you put in it

  4. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I use both Evernote and DevonThink. The post above gave a great list of incentives for using Evernote. I particularly like the smooth cross platform sync and the strong integration with lots of other apps I use.

    I use Evernote for information that I work on regularly, and DevonThink more as a filing cabinet for stuff I need to keep, but which I don't consult every day. I've written a bit more about DT here. I currently have three databases within DT, one for personal information (health, bank, pay slips, insurance, etc), one for a future book project where I'm currently sticking various sources, and one for other academic work.

    Both Evernote and DT offer tons of options for customising the way you organise your information, so you might want to start by considering how you want your information to be organised and accessed, and then look at which app best meets your need. One of the advantages of DT is that you can index rather than import files, and you're not locked into the proprietary format of Evernote. But whether that matters or not really depends on your personal preferences and how you like your stuff to be organised.
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I've been thinking of changing how I keep track of stuff too. I use DevonThink Pro, SOHO Notes, Kousek, Evernote and Pins a bunch. And lots of tagging. There seem to be quite a few good solutions for gathering info from the web; with tags I can keep it somewhat organized, especially with DevonThinks since it works well with websites and tagging. Evernote, Pins and SOHO Notes are nice, but I find their tagging doesn't play well with others like DevonThink.

    But then there's the what to do with it problem. For documents, DevonThink, Scapple and Scrivener do the trick. But sometimes I want something else.

    You mentioned a personal knowledge database, something expandable to more than just one subject/project. I agree; the document solution with DevonThink, Scapple and Scrivener can do that, but at the end it's still sort of a big document. So how 'bout a wiki? Kind of your personal Wikipedia, with links? And very expandable?

    If that appeals, try VoodooPad (luckily, on sale now). It's designed to make personal wikis, and there isn't much like it. Sort of a free form blog on your computer. Not the easiest to learn well, but it's so free form that one can just dive in and refine later, I'm finding. I just started using a demo. Has an iOS version as well. Check it out.
  6. lcjjdnh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013

Share This Page