What is a Personal Knowledge Base?
A library of knowledge/documentation you create, save, and curate yourself.
Sometimes referred to as your “Second Brain.”
What Can I keep in a Personal Knowledge Base?
- Typed/written notes
- Articles and information from the web
- Scanned information
How Does a Knowledge Base Help Me?
- Saves knowledge so it isn’t lost
- Makes knowledge available offline
- Helps you find and make connections using your information
Uses for a Personal Knowledge Base
- Research, reusing ideas, building reports
- Process documentation
- Creating templates and checklists
- Preparing for meetings
- Saving time
- Hobbies and interests
- In business, knowledge bases are used to help customers (think FAQs)
Personal Knowledge Base vs Work Knowledge Base
- Your personal knowledge base goes with you wherever you work
- You lose access to work knowledge bases when you leave
Can’t I Just Use The Internet?
- Useful information you found once may be removed when you go back to it or not be findable as easy the second time
- Can’t work offline with the Internet
- It is difficult to add notes and context to Internet things you find if you don’t save them
- Articles you have read and chosen to save are stronger and more relevant than random new articles on the Internet on a topic
(remember that you didn’t choose to save most articles you read)
What Software Should I Use?
There us no one perfect software. I use UpNote, but you can use Evernote, OneNote or other notes programs to create your own
Why I use UpNote:
- clean, minimalist look
- web clipping
- bidirectional linking of notes
- good support
- multi-platform and device
Committing To Your Knowledge Base
- A knowledge base where you dump info and never look at it is a waste of time
- Your knowledge base needs to be the FIRST place you go to find information
- Then you supplement your knowledge base with Internet searches and other information and add that new information to your base
- So your knowledge base just keeps getting better and better
Collecting Useful Information
- Writing notes – will you understand the note 1 year later?
- Web clipping – saves web articles to your notes system. Helps keep info in the event online articles are taken down or moved
- Email capture
- Scan print items/articles you want to save
- Voice to text notes on smartphones
Curation: Making Content Useful
- Curating your notes adds context to them and helps you find connections
- Add graphic elements, highlighting, colors to add visual interest
- Dump notes you no longer feel are current or needed. Is it worth making part of your knowledge?
- Tag notes using @keyword to make them easy to search
- Link to other notes (bidirectional linking)
Using Your Personal Knowledge Base
- Need to live in your system – first place to go for info
- Search all notes
- Continually pruning, adding context
- Be cautious not to spend so much time organizing your knowledge base that you don’t use it
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