Crystal, Mary and I had the opportunity to attend a THATCamp, a digital humanities camp, at the Atlanta University Center last week. All three of us work more with science, engineering and the social sciences than with the humanities; though I now support graduate work in the humanities at Kennesaw State, my career up till now has been with social and economic development and entrepreneurship, so I am just learning how people in humanities work.
I presented a typology of tools for PKM with examples of each type, and Crystal and Mary presented Evernote and OneNote in more depth. From the discussions, we found that people in the humanities face the same kinds of issues as the folks we have been dealing with, that morass of mostly unstructured qualitative information which were not handled well by old-style personal information managers, with their largely structured and field-based approaches.
Someone raised the question, what is the difference between information and knowledge, and what is the difference between information management and knowledge management? I answered by introducing the data-to-wisdom hierarchy (summarized by Bellinger, Castro and Mills here). However, I think what we refer to as PKM is a mixture of information and knowledge management, characterized by the need to simplify our systems by using containers that can hold both, and by the need to transform information into new knowledge. I don’t want to enter into definitional discussions here. I also think that PIM brings to mind contact managers and similar software, which is far more limited than the kinds of tools that interest me. Hence, for convenience, I have always used the term personal knowledge management, and hope that it is fairly self explanatory.
I’d be interested in hearing from others whether you’ve found differences in PKM practices or needs across disciplines. And of course – any reactions to the information/knowledge management terms.