Web 2.0

My PKM Stack, 5

Part 1 – Capture | Part 2 – Manage | Part 3 – Connect | Part 4 – Enhance | Part 5 – Find | Part 6 – Create


Finding information, especially when spread around a bunch of applications as I’ve done here, can be a challenge. I didn’t put everything into this section (it should include Roam, Obsidian, Dropbox, Zotero, my mind map apps and probably more) because everything I use has some sort of search functionality in it, though I probably should have included Roam with Evernote, because it’s getting to have enough stuff in it these days to provide useful content for my searches. Anyway, all of the services I use have some kind of search function and I could use them all to find information, but the ones I find myself using most often are GDrive and Evernote (+Roam).

Google Drive is my second brain. I use Dropbox as a storage mechanism for stuff like my paystubs, contracts, great photos that I want to be able to post on FB at will, archived manuscripts and other things that are useful, maybe, but not *used* right now. Google Drive, on the other hand, has the stuff I’m doing now sort of organized in the PARA style, as made famous by Building A Second Brain. What I did to start off was I created 4 folders in my GDrive, Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archives and then just moved everything into Archives. As I need stuff, I’m finding it there and moving it into the appropriate other folder, based on whether it’s an area of my life that I have responsibility for, a resource that I need to support my work/personal life or a project that I’m actively working on. It’s sort of like a just-in-time organizational system and despite my 2 years of grad school education on how to organize unknown materials in advance, I’m digging it.

The other option here is Evernote (+Roam) where the majority of my notes live. I’ve been an Evernote user since April 24th, 2008, apparently and I have a TON of resources, notes, ideas, project files, archives, and more in there right now that I’m not going to move. I check there first if I’m looking for specific information or information about wine labels, recipes or any of the other things I’ve used Evernote to store in the past. I’m getting a good enough collection of info in Roam these days that I head there next when I need to find info for a project or document or whatever I’m working on. That brings up the big complaint I have about my tech stack…

It’s fragmented and duplicated and more difficult to manage than it should be. There is no one app to rule them all and there is no good way to seamlessly connect all of them into a cohesive whole that can be searched and used without having to check a number of different apps. I try to mitigate this by using my note-taking app as my “home base”. I put my mind maps and other documents that I create outside of my note-taking app into that app as soon as I can, so that the info is there when I go searching, but it’s not always easy to do that. Videos, huge PDF files and other formats of information aren’t a good fit for a note, so that’s where the GDrive backup brain comes in. Linux, at least when it was new, had a philosophy of no big do-it-all apps. You should collect a number of small, one-task applications that you can pipe together to make any number of useful commands and this is sort of how I’m feeling about my tech stack today. It’s not as easy to pipe things together as it should be (though see my comments about IFTTT and Zapier in a previous post) and that’s a problem, but it’s one that may get fixed, either by an app that *does* rule them all or by better Internet functions that allow you to move data from one app to another in easy-to-create ways.

Ha! This one was going to be a short one, I thought, until I began writing… The last one, though, is up next. Next we take all this *stuff* we have in our note-taking apps and various hidey-holes on the Internet and make stuff with it! Stay tuned…

Part 1 – Capture | Part 2 – Manage | Part 3 – Connect | Part 4 – Enhance | Part 5 – Find | Part 6 – Create

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