The 3 pillars of my PKMS

Learn how I spent the last couple of weeks defining the three pillars of my Personal Knowledge Management system.

February 2021

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

The more reference material I read in the last couple of months, the more apparent it became that I need to build my Personal Knowledge Management System upon different pillars. Each of which backing up a different purpose - but they all work together as a whole.

This is how I ended up crafting this whole new website - which is my Publishing Platform; The first out of three pillars:

1. Publishing Platform

My publishing platform is powered by GitBook - you are looking at it right now: It's this website.

The publishing platform is where all my distilled knowledge is available for my future self as well as a broader audience. On this platform, you'll find everything I'm working on - along with howtos, manuals and best practices which proved to be useful for me.

2. Zettelkasten

My Zettelkasten is powered by Zettlr

The centerpiece of my Personal Knowledge Management System is The Zettelkasten Method. This method is a note-taking system, which grows organically and works similar to the way we think: Atomic pieces of information build an entangled web of knowledge. This approach ensures my notes stay useful over time and also enables me to discover new connections amongst them.

“each note is just an element that derives its quality from the network of links in the system. A note that is not connected to the network will be lost, will be forgotten by the Zettelkasten” - Niklas Luhman, p. 164

Pro Tip: Use NoteExplorer as Zettlr companion. NoteExplorer is a neat little CLI utility which is capable to discover notes with no outgoing links ("sinks") or notes with no incoming and no outgoing links ("isolated" notes) in your Zettelkasten. This helps to identify areas which need more work in order to improve the overall quality of your Zettelkasten.

3. Reference Archive

My reference archive is powered by Zotero - see "Howto setup Zotero" to get started.

The world of knowledge is constantly changing: Websites disappear, books may no longer be accessible. Therefore it is wise to store the reference material somewhere safe, so we can revisit it in the future. This is where the reference archive comes into play: It allows you to store a local snapshot of a website or archiving entire books in an organized way. Therefore the reference archive becomes your own, personal library.