Creating your PKM processes

In Sense-making with PKM I described some personal knowledge management processes using various web tools. The overall process consists of four internal actions (Sort, Categorize, Retrieve, Make Explicit) and three externally focused ones (Connect, Contribute, Exchange). Personal knowledge management is one way of addressing the issue of TMI (too  much information).


A sense-making routine can be regularly reading certain blogs and news feeds, capturing important ideas with social bookmarks and then putting ideas out in the open on a blog. The power of this process is realized after many iterations when you have created a personally contextualized knowledge base. PKM takes the notion of a personal journal and extends it significantly.

In Web Tools for Critical Thinking I expanded on Dave Pollard’s critical thinking process, showing how web tools can be used to develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is an important aspect of PKM but I had not put the two together explicitly. I created the following table to integrate my PKM process with Dave’s critical thinking process. You may have noticed that I’ve changed the order of  Retrieve & Make Explicit, but this is an iterative and non-linear process, so it doesn’t really matter.

My own PKM process has changed lately with my increasing use of Twitter and this is noted in the tools and strategies column.

PKM Critical Thinking Process Web Tools & Strategies
1 Sort Observe & Study Use an aggregator (feed reader) to keep track of online conversations

Follow interesting people on Twitter

2 Categorize Synthesize & Qualify
Use Social Bookmarks

Find a Twitter App to suit your needs

3 Retrieve Draw Inferences Now that information is in a DB, use Search, instead of file folders.

Create online (reusable) mind maps,  graphics and text files of your thoughts

4 Make Explicit Form Tentative Opinions Tweet

Write a Blog post

A Connect Identify Missing Information (and people) Connect via Twitter, follow blogs or join Social Networks
B Contribute Develop Supporting Arguments Join in Tweet Chats

Write Blog Comments

C Exchange Analyze & Challenge Arguments Continue and extend conversations from news sources, other tweets or blog posts

11 Responses to “Creating your PKM processes”

  1. Dave Ferguson

    How come there’s nothing like “send an email” or “talk on the phone,” let alone “pick some dignitary up at the airport?”

    Seriously, I have no disagreement with the “web tools” column, but the chart as presented could imply that there aren’t any other tools.

    For some reason I’m hearing Johnny Adams singing It Ain’t the Same Thing.

  2. Harold Jarche

    The subject is PKM with web tools, Dave 😉

    I did describe other tools in the referenced post, and didn’t want to repeat them. I did not mean to imply that there are no other tools, of course. The aim here was matching a critical thinking process to a PKM process and looking for similarities in negotiating information overload on the Web.


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