Drinking from a hose pipe

We all live in a world where managing information is key.  If I look back 20 years I got most information from books and libraries, research involved paper and general announcements and news came through in trade magazines.  Its an area that has been completely turned on its head, and continues to change.  I thought I’d spend a few minutes jotting down how most information arrives at my door and what I do with it.

Personal Knowledge Flow

  • Email: is generally where colleagues suggest information, partners email me and general update newsletters arrive with links.  These either generate a file or a URL.  Files if I class as personal knowledge are off into Evernote and corporate knowledge off to the appropriate repository.
  • Web pages: either arrived in an email, via twitter, within RSS feeds or from direct searches.  Most web pages get read and ignored.  Some get read and instantly stored to Evernote or Instapaper (Evernote when I know its needed for good and Instapaper when I need to read later or take time to digest).
  • RSS: is still a great source, and like twitter tends to be where I keep up with industry news and announcements.  What I love about Google Reader and Instapaper is there is a clever tool that takes all starred items and automatically posts them to Instapaper.
  • Instapaper: is absolutely excellent.  It allows me to read on a number of platforms at a time that suits me.  The new features to have friends and share favourites is excellent.  It means I get wisdom from people much cleverer than I.  The other feature I love is all my favourites flow automatically into Evernote.
  • Evernote: is ultimately my resting place for content and knowledge.  I know when its there its indexed and searchable, its available on numerous devices and from the internet.  I know wherever I am I‘ll be able to find information when needed.

It’s a far cry from the first job when I graduated where very little information was available online and most was available at the laboratory’s library.  Now I have better knowledge management and retrieval tools available to me than I could ever dream of from any enterprise.  I capture knowledge from new alerts, friends, industry experts and use the wisdom of others selecting the best information for me to consume.  I wonder how my children will laugh at these primitive tools in another 20 years time!


  1. Have you given much thought to who ‘owns’ the data that you now have stored in Evernote? I think that many organisations are going to have to start to get their head around the question of data ownership.


    1. Yes and I’m very careful about what I consider personal knowledge. There is an interesting debate that would be had between the legal people and knowledge workers about this. I doubt the legal folk would agree with me on what is “mine”. My general rule of thumb is anything publicly downloadable can go into personal knowledge libraries. The problem area for me is analyst reports which I place in there too. I never use it for corporate data which isn’t publicly available. I’d love the same tool capability for my corporate personal knowledge as I have for my personal knowledge.


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