Personal knowledge base
7 months ago
2 years ago
Table of Contents
- The commonplace book is an early example, whereby you might collect various quotes, poems, letters, and information relevant to your life in together in a book.
- A later development with a more formal organization is the Zettelkasten, a personal card catalog of knowledge.
- A more modern kindred spirit to the Zettelkasten is the personal wiki, the first example of which is Ward Cunningham’s C2 Wiki in 1994. “Wiki” today brings to mind Wikipedia, the global repository of knowledge launched in 2001, but I was surprised and delighted to learn that the first wiki was a personal knowledge base in the spirit of the commonplace book.
You remember things better when you have a place to put them
Andy Hunt in Pragmatic Thinking and Learning describes a wonderful pattern I’ve noticed while keeping a personal wiki:
With a [personal] wiki, you may have a random idea and write it down on your home page because you don’t know what else to do with it. Some time later, you have a second idea that goes with it, and now you can move the two thoughts off together on their own new page. Now suddenly more things will come up that belong on that page—you have a place to put it, and your mind will happily oblige.
Once you have a place to put some type of thought, you’ll get more thoughts of that type. Whether it’s a wiki or a paper journal, note cards, or shoe boxes, having a place for ideas in a specific topic area or project is a major benefit of an exocortical system.
“exocortical system”—what a charming way to describe a personal knowledge base!
You remember things better when you’ve put them in your own words
a.k.a. the generation effect