Personal Knowledge Base Workflow

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I ran across a blog post back in 2014 where the author had a list of 11 requirements for a Personal Knowledge Base (PKB). I have had the response that I dust off occasionally and half-heartedly keep up to date over the years sitting on my file server so I thought I would share it here for posterity. The one requirement I would add that I still have not adequately found a good solution for is mobile access and workflow.

PKB Requirements

  1. Minimal Effort to Capture and Maintain
  2. All in one Place
  3. Non-proprietary (open source) file formats
  4. Ability to accept various kinds of input (text, video, audio, etc.)
    • See Item 3
  5. Linkability
    • Store PKB in Dropbox (See Item 2 – not iCloud because you can’t link to files in it), a link can be generated using the Finder context menu.
  6. Semi-automated input and organization
    • Combination of using built in tools (e.g. Safari, Preview, etc.) and Automator/Python/Bash scripts.
    • Also utilize a files metadata cmd + i
  7. Searchable
    • Spotlight
  8. Multiple organization schemes
    • Combination of folder structure, Make Alias from Finder context menu, and Smart folders
  9. Web-based
    • Not exactly web based, but since every object can have a url, you can use a Wiki, WordPress, Blogger etc.
  10. Accessible and operable via Graphical (GUI) and Command-Line interfaces
    • Since this scheme only uses tools that ship with OS X (mostly) you can generally do both.
    • Applications used:
      • Safari or Chromium based browser
      • Preview
      • Sublime Text 2 or VIM
      • Finder
      • Automater
      • Python 3
      • Bash
      • Marked 2
      • Alfred
  11. Cross platform
    • While designed for MacOS, the files are cross platform. I don’t use Windows, but assume that you could find tools that are similar to accomplish the same thing in Windows and certainly on Linux.