Notes on stuff

Tagged Posts: PKM

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The Architecture of Personal Knowledge Management – 1

Back in July Harold Jarche posted a useful deconstruction of the processes involved in web-based personal knowledge management (PKM). Building on this, and in order to make a lot of implicit stuff in my head explicit, I’ve started developing the model into a full mapping of processes to tools.

I’ve chosen to use Archimate as a modelling language, and as I develop the model offline I will be posting views of it to pages liked from this wiki page.

Harold’s model looks like this:

As I began to unpick Harold’s seven processes I realised that although they are primarily focused on “self”, one key aspect to understand them is to identify the different roles that “self” (and “others”) play. This aspect of the model so far is shown in the Introductory View :

Alongside the work of developing models for each of the processes, I began to develop a view of the key information artefacts manipulated by the PKM processes.

I’ve also created pages on the wiki for the first iteration at modelling the  individual processes, linking them down to a core set of application services, and over the next couple of weeks I’ll write blog posts for those.

Comments welcome to help refine this modelling effort.

The boundaries of GTD

Ton Zijlstra has some provoking thoughts about the limitations of GTD-like systems :Ton’s Interdependent Thoughts: Thoughts on GTD System Weaknesses

In short, Ton highlights the increasing need to apply qualitative (and often social- and/or network-based) approaches to filter the info-glut before you can start putting actions into a GTD-like process.

I think he’s spot on, and it made me think a little more analytically about my personal organisation system, loosely-based on GTD, but heavily reliant on the capabilities of MindManager enhanced by ResultsManager.

ResultsManager adds a project– and action-planning capability to MindManager by allowing any topic in any mind-map to be tagged with task-related metadata, and further, the ability to define “dashboard” maps which cut across the information, pulling together a view based on whatever criteria the dashboard author chooses.

In the most GTD-like aspects of the process, this makes it easy to create a mindmap of “Today’s Next Actions” across all of my projects, but the filtering capabilities are very powerful and allow many other views to be created.

Key aspects of this system which, I think, go some way to addressing the issues Ton raises are:

  • Ability to store, manipulate and interpret information within the context of a given project or concern, yet pull out and record cross-links;
  • Clear signalling of which ideas do not have any current “Next Action”, and which therefore may need further thought to continue developing actionable sense;
  • An easy way top bring in external information sources – for example by using a MindManager map part to import the content of an RSS feed, I can connect this information management system to my wider information-gathering and filtering processes.

Ton’s closing challenge is for a system to present patterns about activity that could in turn become “inbox” items – this definitely needs further thought, but my intuition is that a combination of tagging and feed-derivation could take some kind of a log for re-ingest to the “machine”.

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A new tool: Awasu

Via Earl Mardle I’ve found a new tool to add to my personal knowledge management toolkit: Awasu

Although the core of the product is an aggregator, it’s a lot more than that as it offers a number of ways of inter-acting with the flow of information through the tool, both manually and in various automated ways. It also offers the facility to add “channel hooks” – plugins which carry out specific actions on selected channels.

Having installed the product, I must admit the first learning hurdle was to get used to a thick-client aggregator rather than my normal approach with Bloglines.

The next challenge was finding an easy way to blog using the tool. Although Earl recommends a workflow using Qumana, I’m not sure that’s the right one for me. I think that reticence is a little about Qumana: I’ve tried the tool before, in its earlier days and didn’t stick with it, so maybe I am transferring that to the latest version. Also, Earl’s proposed method involves using the Workpads and Reports in Awasu – functionality that I have played with, but not yet got to grips with fully. There have been a couple of funnies which might be bugs or might be configuration problems.

I shall keep experimenting with different methods of using the tool and integrating it into my work, and may well come back to the approach earl suggests. In the interim I have taken advantage of the easily-configurable User Tools menu in Awasu to call up the normal WordPress posting page for this blog within the Awasu main window, pre-populated with key content from the source page.

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