PKM is the act of collecting and organising a person's knowledge.


The ever-increasing volume of information humans generate and transmit

Martin Hilbert and Priscila López, The World's Technological Capacity to Store, Communicate, and Compute Information:

In 1986, the world’s technological receivers picked up around 432 exabytes of optimally compressed information, 715 in 1993, 1.2 optimally compressed zettabytes in 2000 and 1.9 in 2007.

McKinsey & Company, The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies:

Americans spend approximately 11 hours a day communicating or consuming messages in various ways, including in-person, watching TV, reading, and using e-mail.

The challenge of retrieving what we need

IDC, Intelligent Knowledge Discovery: Moving Beyond Search:

Nearly 70% of respondents (knowledge workers) to IDC’s KMWorld Conference search survey indicated that they spend five or more hours per week doing online information searches, with 16% indicating that they spend 12 hours a week or more doing searches.

EDM Group:

An average UK employee wastes one and a half hours a week looking for lost documents/information at work.

Top-down knowledge management doesn't work

Moving knowedge from individuals' minds to shared knowledge bases risks losing valuable context.


Extracting what's valuable


What is the point of having countless books and libraries whose titles the owner could scarcely read through in a whole lifetime?

Marshal McLuhan:

One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There’s always more than you can cope with.

Structuring for retrieval

  • Tree-like structures provide a means of more quickly retrieving information from a cache.
    • Drill-down from a specific note.
    • Browse siblings.
  • Linking related contents, preferably with some form of expression of the relationship.

  1. PARA