PKM Foundations - a Map of Content

I decided to try to get an overview of the general concepts and functions in the Personal Knowledge Management tool space. What are the fundamental building blocks, concepts, tools, etc. that make up PKM tools at present, and perhaps in the future? I hope to elaborate on each of these areas over time.

I will largely be trying to focus on the overall concepts rather than specific implementation details, e.g. avoiding discussion of Markdown vs. HTML for formatted text, etc. At least for now. I’m more interested in progressively developing a good baseline understanding of the PKM “possibility space” with the hope of perhaps being able to then outline a few levels of important functionality for a PKM tool, from basic “table stakes” (i.e. any app must have these things in order to be considered seriously as a tool for most people) to a sort of "ideal

:construction: Content types

  • Plain text
  • Formatted “rich” text
  • Tables
  • Formulae
  • Structured data (databases, fields)
  • Images
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Text-based (or text representable, i.e. image-based PDFs) files
  • Other files

:construction: Content Presentation and Interaction

  • Linear text (“document”)
  • Outliners
  • Block editors
  • Whiteboards/Canvas
    • Mindmaps
  • Graphs and Visualizations

:construction: Functional text enrichment

  • Stand-off Properties
    • Annotation
    • Comments
  • Relationships
    • Parent-child
    • Bi-directional (“sibling”)
    • Complex (e.g. typed)
  • Transclusion


Some additional ideas:

Reference and Inspiration