My Personal Knowledge Management Systems : Evernote, Instapaper and OneNote

Its about time I updated my old post on personal knowledge management.  Things have changed somewhat since that time.


personal knowledge


Industry Updates – Twitter

I tend not to use twitter for research, however if something comes through in twitter that is of interest then it’ll get logged for either reading or captured in my research library.


Industry Updates – RSS

I’m still a big fan of RSS and subscribe to many streams in Feedly, these are scanned and logged for reading if appropriate.  I’ve not yet found a good tool to automatically assess items I would be interested – I’d like to (suggestions welcome).


Focused Research

Analyst resources, internal enterprise resources and of course Google search play primary roles.  Useful documents, data, images and information are then captured using Google plugins for Instapaper, Evernote and Pinterest.



Instapaper is the tool of choice.  The web client and the iPad/iPhone clients are great for reading at my desk, on the move or on the sofa at home.  I probably don’t spend enough time reading.


Personal Knowledge Library

Evernote is just the best thing since sliced bread for me.  I have a catchall folder and every once in a while I’ll move things to folders and tag them.  Primarily though its a search index.  Folders I’ll have a love affair with for a month or so and then drop them again reverting to search.


Note-taking and initial action capture

I can’t find a better tool here than OneNote.  As mentioned in a previous post you can’t beat it in conference meetings.  It doesn’t only work well for  me in conference meetings but also in day to day work meetings.  OneNote will generally be opened on half of my secondary screen in the minimal clutter mode shown below.  My primary screen will be running or consuming the meeting (most of my meetings are remote web conferences).  I’m looking forward to switching enterprise productivity applications soon so that I can use the integration with Outlook and then the onward integration with MilkSync to take actions into Remember the Milk.


onenote meeting use


Ultimately the result is an enterprise note taking system and a personal knowledge system; the contents of the latter is I suppose the tangible knowledge value that I have and bring to bear daily….I wonder how this will change over the next 24 months.


  1. interesting post this Stu, I followed a link from Max to this.

    It covers an area that I’d been trying to get my head around recently and puts some formality into thinking about what many of us see as informal tooling that we may have signed up for (or not as the case maybe). The latest townhalls and comms are making extensive use of twitter/crowdchat/youtube/googleplus and in order to join in effectively I realised I needed to start creating and linking various services together.

    I’ve a raft of questions that this post has triggered and its made me start to look at some of the tools you’ve identified in order to answer some of those. There’s a plethora of new apps that I’d no idea even existed and I need to spend time trying them out.

    A couple of questions I’d be interested in your thoughts on:

    1) have you subscribed to any of the paid options for these tools or are you using the “free” versions. If so:
    which are good value/worth it and why?
    have you managed to get CSC to pay for them or are we now entering an era of BYOSoftware?

    2) are you aware of any corporate licenses for some of these tools?

    3) what are your thoughts on the security implications – I assume the data you are storing is in the cloud somewhere?

    And an observation, to bring this to life for an old timer like me I’d like to see kind of process to application mapping table.

    thanks for the posting – 12 months late but its certainly generated a lot grey matter activity for me.


    1. Hi Ian,

      1) I pay for my personal knowledge stuff myself. Instapaper, Feedly, Evernote, OneDrive (for OneNote storage). I’d rather it that way as its my system.
      2) I’m not aware of any CSC licences.
      3) On security …. I don’t store corporate information here. I am concious of my own security so rely on Evernote and Microsoft for their embedded security.


      1. thanks Stu, I wasn’t worried about the corporate side of things it was more personal data and the risks of linking quite a lot of these applications together. I’ve been setting some of these up and you seem to create lots of “trusts” and shared authentication schemes.

        I’ve been using lastpass for about 12 months – I really like that for managing the mass of credentials I seem to have acquired on dozens of websites… but I still have a nagging doubt which has made me hold off on storing any of my finance/banking applications.

        I do wonder if there’s a case for everyone getting an “allowance” for personal productivity software – seems to be in keeping with the outside in approach.

        keep posting the blog by the way – found some interesting bits of information on here, previously I was a bit of a ludite in that respect and I’m slowly beginning to change my view 😉


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