Note: Many of the tools and platforms described below no longer reflect the current state of web technologies. More recent post on PKM in a Nutshell
Both Lilia Efimova and Denham Grey talk extensively about personal knowledge management. They have studied this field much more than I have, and if you’re looking for in-depth analysis then please look at their sites.
This post is more of a how-to for anyone new to blogs, aggregators and social bookmarking. I have mentioned how blogging is useful for me as a free-agent, consultant, knowledge worker. etc. Above is a overview of how this site is constructed to help me in managing my own knowledge flows [this is a screen shot of my previous Drupal installation and doesn’t reflect the current WordPress configuration]. It may also provide an argument on why you should have your own blog for work. First of all, Harold’s blog is the platform by which I try to make implicit knowledge (e.g. not codified or structured) more explicit, through the process of writing out my thoughts and observations of what I have come across in my work or on the web. A lot of these observations come from the web sites that I visit regularly.
These feeds are aggregated in my Bloglines account, which is publicly available, so anyone can see the sites that I read. This feed aggregator is sorted into various folders and feeds are routinely added and deleted depending on my preferences and information needs. If I’m working on a project in a specific field, like healthcare, I may add some feeds for the duration of the work. I also keep a couple of feeds that have little relation to my work for any serendipidous learning. My account usually runs at about 100 feeds, and the ability to preview and save posts makes this simple and easy – much easier than visiting each site.
There are also some web pages, posts or sites that I find interesting but are not worth the effort of writing a blog post (these take some time and effort). For these sites I use Furl because it not only saves the page but allows me to tag the item by category. For example, I have been using Furl to keep a list of items related to Public Education as well as Small Businesses that have blogs. My Furl archive is also public.
Because my website is searchable, I’m able to retrieve thoughts and comments and easily review them. Others can do the same. This is quite practical for presentations and papers.
Finally, I have links to my Associates. These show who I’m working with and can be helpful in redirecting people. For instance, the Atlantic Wildlife Institute’s URL is an amalgamation of the English and French acronyms (AWI + IAF = AWIAF). It’s not that obvious, so I tell people to go to my website and follow the link – much easier. Sometimes I’m in a conversation and someone asks for more details on a subject. In many cases I’m able to point that person to my website with either, “search for this term” or “follow this link on the navigation menu”. I will even access my website from a client’s office and use some article to reinforce or explain a point – quite useful.