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Personal Knowledge System - Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why consider the Personal Knowledge System?
Have you ever found an idea while reading a newspaper or a book that really seemed to strike a cord with you; something that you wanted to remember and be able to find again? This is the problem that PKS is trying to solve.

The world is a really complex place. Do you need a tool to help you keep a handle on things?

Do you need a personal information manager?

"Could it be, that simple is better?"

"a user directed information storage and retrieval system"

"if you only have one program for your computer, this is the one to have"

Point and Click access to knowledge.

Q. What is the Personal Knowledge System?
The Personal Knowledge System (PKS) is a knowledge tool. It supports a free form entry and organization of information using a text editor. In addition, it supports the identification of linkage among the information. It is this linkage which provides the knowledge. Human intelligence requires the ability to move smoothly from one thought to another. The links associate information which are relevant to solving a particular problem.

Knowledge needs to be relevant to solving the problem at hand to be of interest to the person (or machine) using the knowledge base. Effective problem solving requires a clear understanding of the problem, a defined objective and sufficient information to allow the discovery of an acceptable resolution to the problem. The knowledge base provides the storage space for the data, information and knowledge to bring to bear in solving the problems of the person using the Personal Knowledge System. The knowledge base is the organized experience of the user(s) of the system.

Human kind has been collecting information needed to solve problems for a long time. In the beginning, there was a lack of information and a great deal of time was spent trying to discover information. Today, there is a vast amount of information available and people spend a great deal of time trying to learn about what is already known and trying to determine if the known information is useful to solving the particular problem at hand. In order to improve the efficiency of this process, human kind needs to publish and organize the known information.

The world wide web is the focus of a great deal of effort toward this goal. At the current stage of development, more progress has been made with publishing than with organizing. The users of the web still find a vast array of information but a limited amount of knowledge.

The Personal Knowledge System is an attempt to provide the individual a tool to organize the information of interest to that person. Each person will find a particular set of knowledge useful is solving the problems of interest to that person. No two knowledge bases will be identical.

A2. The Personal Knowledge System is the software equivalent of a number two pencil, little pieces of paper, a ball of string, a pair of scissors, a roll of clear tape and as many sky hooks as you need.

With the Personal Knowledge System (PKS) you can write short (or long) notes about anything of interest to you. You can then hang the note up in mid air. Then you can cut a piece of string and tape each end of the string to one of two notes in order to connect the pieces of information. You can connect any note to any other note. You can connect any note to as many other notes as you choose. In order to find any piece of information, you can follow the string from one note to a connected note and on to any other note which is connected. The system knows the name of all the notes and can find any given note for you.

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You can also tape the notes together to form a long list of notes on any topic of interest. A note can also be a list of things about which you want to keep notes. The notes can be empty or full of information.

When you are done, the knowledge system will file the notes away to keep them safe. The next time you want to see or update the notes, the knowledge system will bring them back out for viewing and changing.

Q. Why have a Personal Knowledge System?
To perform the following functions:

  • to easily re-locate needed information
  • to assist with remembering details
  • to assist with organizing information
  • to assist with solving problems
  • to assist with understanding what is important
  • to assist with understanding what is true

    Q. How is the knowledge base organized?
    While the underlying tool imposes no particular structure to the knowledge base, the Personal Knowledge System is built with a knowledge framework implicit in its operation.

    Information is entered into the knowledge base in a textual format. Normally, in complete sentences as would be used in spoken communication to another person, written in correspondence to another person, or as written to be retained for future reference by the author of the information. The smallest unit of information is the Node.

    A Node usually contains one or more complete thoughts. Nodes are then grouped into Topics. The Topic is stored in the implementing computer system as a File. The Nodes in a Topic should contain thoughts which are relevant to the Topic name.

    The Topics are then grouped by Subject.

    The Subjects placed into Groups.

    And the collection of Groups form a Knowledge Base (KwB).

    The Personal Knowledge System works with a single knowledge base. However, an individual may retain several knowledge bases on a single computer system.

    Q. Does this program run on the Intranet as well as the Internet?
    Yes, Personal Knowledge System runs in the Windows environment. The user may keep a private knowledge base and/or share a knowledge base with other users on a Local Area Network. Access to the Internet is provided by a web browser in the case of HTML. Data to be shared between the two environments could be moved by normal copy/paste Windows functions. If you wanted to distribute knowledge bases to other users, using either the Internet or intranet, the knowledge base can be transported as native knowledge base files. In its current form, the knowledge base is a set of ASCII files. The knowledge in Personal Knowledge System is displayed to the user as a series of "pages" in a manner similar to web pages

    Q. Is PKS able to do searches with a very brief description?
    A Find function will locate words in the current page. A Locate function will locate any Node which contains a given key phrase in either the Node name or the Node title. Knowledge is organized into Topics and Nodes. The Topic is a collection of Nodes, where each Node contains the information displayed on a page. There is an index for Topics and an index for Nodes. These can be located by name as well.

    Q. Does PKS support automatic scanning and indexing all words in text files?
    No, only topics and links in the knowledge base.

    Q. Why should someone use a Knowledge System?
    A. 10/11/07 08:09
    A person goes through life gathering information and knowledge. When that person dies, the accumulated knowledge is lost unless it is recorded externally to the person. The Knowledge System is a vehicle for recording some of that knowledge.
    A. 07/14/10 11:38 I would like to be able to recall information about my early years. The people I knew, the things I liked and the things I did. If the Knowledge System had been available and I had used it to record important things in my life, I would be able to examine the past. As it is, there are only a few, dim recollections.

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