Some thoughts on knowledge management

Stephen Zeoli
3 min readMar 17, 2024

This is just a rumination on knowledge management, one in which I slip from one aspect of this topic to another, with little reason, other than that’s how my mind worked as I was writing this. Please do not read expecting any solutions.

Areas of Knowledge Management in a Heptabase Whiteboard

Would it be surprising if I confessed I am still looking for my note-taker-maker-manager of choice? None of them is perfect, of course, though that’s what I want. Or do I?

One of the most fully featured apps I am aware of is Heptabase. It does it all. It is kind of like Obsidian, but without the need to keep tinkering with plug-ins. Every time I use Heptabase, I ask myself why I am not using it more.

I am suspicious about trying to do everything in one app, because each type of knowledge needing management, needs different thinking. Or so I think. Also, an app that is so good at many things seduces me to do something else instead of the task at hand. Add a task, but then be drawn into brainstorming in the whiteboard, for example. Focusing on a job at a time, at least in my case, mightbe aided by using different tools.

Here’s a list (still partial I am sure) of my knowledge management needs (visually depicted in the screen capture):

Tasks. What I need to do and when

Notes taken. Information that comes to me from other sources

Notes made. My ideas and thoughts I have

Notes managed. Organizing all this information in such a way that it is easy to find, connect and use

Brain storming. An engine for ideas and developing processes

Project management. When tasks, information and resources come together for an single outcome, usually with a due date

Files managed. Keeping related project resources at hand for quick reference

Daily log. A bullet journal style logging of what happens during the day; perhaps a place to collect ideas for further incubation

Database management. Structured data most often in a table

But then there is this:

The Medium author Réka has written that she prefers to see personal knowledge management as a life practice, rather than a means to practical ends, although it is that too. This seems correct to me, though perhaps at odds with my notion of using multiple apps.

Of course, we are all already equipped with a pretty good PKM… our brains. So PKM life practice is then really all about helping our brains cope with the magnitude of information we are flooded with. Making sense of it. Creating new ideas from it. Providing peace of mind that we have our personal and professional lives under control.

Curating our information is the same as curating ourselves. Curating ourselves is manifesting the discipline to act in positive ways — healthy habits, kind and considerate actions, contributing to the best of our abilities at our jobs. Understanding the world around us is a good way to direct our actions. And ultimately, that’s the reason for effectively curating our information. So, yes, Reka is right. Personal Knowledge Management is really Personal Knowledge Curation. Or just Personal Curation.

That still doesn’t answer my question about which app is (or which apps are) best for me. But I think it means that any app is right as long as I use it.