Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Out of frustration with imperfect existing solutions I often think about reference storage. My latest thoughts were captured on this diagram. It is based on my personal workflow, but I tried to shape it towards an idealised workflow sytem for knowledge workers and knowledge amateurs.
The map shows objects in green and storage areas in beige.You can easily see where input originates (can be something you find online, an email or a random thought). Information you find can be saved, bookmarked or labelled. Bookmarks and labels have a similar purpose, but usually are realised as distinct features in most browsers. There is also a History section (top-right), which is ongoing recording of your life/activities (digital immortality). It includes things like photo galleries and (for more advanced users)recordings by ActualSpy or a similar app. When useful material is saved, it goes into a reference system, which to be usable needs to handle any type of data, but also provide at least tagging. Existing PIMs like WinOrganizer are heavy and usually don't support tagging properly. They also insist on moving everything into their storage system which makes adopting them a somewhat difficult decision. On the other hand is a knowledge base system, which exists for the purpose of organising knowledge and ideas. It can take form of a set of mind maps (or possibly another technology, like a tag cloud). Knowledge base integrates bookmarks, reference items, projects, actions and pretty much everything. Eventually (not shown here) thoughts may occur based on the knowledge there and a project will be initiated. The core of the system is the GTD process, which is implemented quite well in ThinkingRock. The most complicated part is the reference. I think that's where most value may come from, but it's also the most difficult part technologically. For some reason, only Mac OS X applications like Notae exist that support tagging of notes.