I started searching for PKM tools out of my own desperate need: my doctoral dissertation in international relations was based on semi-structured interview data. In 1987 – 1989, when I was collecting data, analyzing it, and writing up the results, there was no software that was very helpful. As a staff member at the World Bank in the 1990s, I heard estimates that 100,000 pages of information in report form crossed the desks of staff members like me every year.
After becoming a librarian at the Carter Center and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. I saw people struggling to tame the masses of verbal information (books, reports, articles, meeting notes, notes from phone conversations, ideas, reminders of things to do, etc.) that make up the bulk of what we all contend with. Spreadsheets and structured databases do not help with this mass of information.
I started to look for ways to help myself keep track of my personal sets of information resources, and I became convinced that different people would want different tools, depending on their tasks, the kinds of materials they were working with, and their preferred working styles. So I started to become a consultant on free and cheap tools for personal knowledge management, and I developed a presentation about types of tools for pulling things together – not for searching, but for re-finding and making sense out of what you find. It’s all too easy to find new tools for finding and sharing things – the hard work, for me, has always been taking those found things, combining them with my own ideas, making sense of it all, and transforming it into new knowledge. I am always on the lookout for tools that will help with those areas.
Elisabeth in brief: Currently, Librarian for Graduate Studies in Humanities & Social Sciences, Kennesaw State University.
Formerly, Research Librarian at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute; Coordinator of Research Information Services, The Carter Center; Operations Officer, The World Bank
PhD, International Relations, American University, 1989; MLS, University of Maryland, 1996
Peace Corps: Tunisia
Selected Publications Related to PKM:
Personal Knowledge Management: A Framework for Librarians Webinar recorded for the Georgia Public Library Service in January 2011. This is my overview of types of tools for PKM, including some examples of each type.
All views expressed on this blog are my own and not necessarily those of Kennesaw State University.