Posts tagged ‘memory’

2011-05-31

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management has always interested me. It might be due to the fact that I have a pretty good memory instead of a perfect memory. I can usually recall the main facts of something but am often at a loss to remember where I learned it and what the supporting items were. I have always envied Odin his ravens, as it would be very nice to have my own fact collectors.

Within the company I work for, we have multiple systems to capturing information, and some of them actually help radiate that information out to others. We have a global site which is a combination content management system, wiki, and blog site. It is very difficult to find information on that site. We then have a global intranet which is used for mostly communicating with employees. It has photos of different offices, photo contests, and feel good stories about employees. Then, in North America, we have a SharePoint site. I don’t even try to find stuff on it, I carefully bookmark every URL I am given so I can get back to the information. And finally, many development groups are now maintaining their own wiki’s. All the development wikis that I know of are MediaWiki sites hosted in a virtual image.

Of all those options, I like the wiki best. There are several reasons I like the wiki:

  1. Atom / RSS feeds. I don’t have to search the wiki to see what content is new, I merely took 30 seconds to add the feed to my Outlook client.
  2. The content can be manipulated with the programming language of choice prior to entry. This is a big deal when you are translating large quantities of text from various sources.
  3. Simple text doesn’t intimidate anyone so everyone participates in adding and maintaining the information on the site.

Momentum is definitely building behind wide adoption of the wiki and perhaps one day SharePoint will be a distant memory.

That still doesn’t solve my personal interest in recording the items that I want to remember. I currently have two methods of tracking items, the old fashioned paper journal and an on-line site. I actually have two different journals, one for work which fades in and out of use, and a personal notes one that I started to record stuff that could be useful, or since January, become a blog post.

The on-line tool is free and is called SpringPad. SpringPad is great because it allows me to save off web sites with notes without having to write out long URL’s in my journal. I was hoping for a software tool that would allow me to consolidate the functions of journal and SpringPad into one. There is a tool that looks really interesting, DevonThink. Steven Johnson talks about how he uses DevonThink in his book “Where Good Ideas Come From” and I thought this sounded perfect, except it only runs on Apple computers. I don’t own an Apple computer, nor am I likely to purchase one for the sole purpose of running DevonThink. That is why I settled on SpringPad.

I recently bought an Android tablet, the Motorola Xoom, and I am hoping that in the next couple of years an app like DevonThink will become available for Android. In the mean time, I have to keep my handwriting neat (so I can read my notes), and keep storing web sites in SpringPad. I hate waiting.

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