Looking at personal knowledge management.

My thoughts tend to be somewhat away from the PKM mainstream, as I favor collective knowledge creation, vetting and sense-making. IMO, PKM is closely tied to personal learning and inquiry which is all about social practices.

Leverage does not come from personal thought organization or access, but from a network of weak ties, dialog and awareness in community. It is not the tools or practices you use, but the empathy you feel and the relationships you maintain, - these determine how effective you are at knowledge creation, how aware you are and what you learn.

IMO PKM that does not focus on networking, community participation, tacit knowledge exchanges and inquiry is pointed in the wrong direction. Personal voicing, thought organization and personal publication do not do justice to the social components necessary for real knowledge work.

I see the critical skills of the individual knowledge worker as those that support:

  1. networking and connectivity
  2. open dialog and productive inquiry
  3. collaborative virtual work
  4. creating value via working with knowledge (very different from information)
  5. community building and active participation in a domain practice

Others tend to focus on:

  1. technology and tool sets
  2. information access & organization
  3. analysis and decision making
  4. branding, identity & presentation
  5. security, protection and intellectual property

It seems a stretch (for me) to count social networking engines (Friendster, Ryze, LinkedIn) as PKM tools. Sure these can be used to promote indivdual brand recognition, enhance personal memory and for networking, but are they social rather than personal tools at the core?. Source: http://www.knowledgeboard.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=127806&d=pnd - scroll to end

http://www.knowledgeboard.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=137656&d=pnd My take is PKM has a rather narrow focus. It is firstly about information organization for the individual, personal effectiveness, voicing and networking. Proponents claim PKM is about taking responsibility for your learning, inquiry, learning, awareness and skills, improving knowledge related competencies and increasing your efficiency.

Social learning is about communities of practice, collaboration, inquiry, joint problem solving, building relationships, social capital and sharing insights.

The ethos is different, the practices are different and the end goals are divergent.

http://www.webassistant.com/site/Denham/blog_8.html PKM and k-logs are the hot topics in the PKM world - nothing wrong with that, but I question the very foundations of PKM as a viable approach to creating and sustaining knowledge


Here are links from my blog:

http://denham.typepad.com/km/2003/12/pkm.html - pkm as I see it

http://denham.typepad.com/km/2004/02/community_of_on.html - critique of Steve Barth's article

http://denham.typepad.com/km/2004/06/reflecting_on_p.html - PKM reflections

http://denham.typepad.com/km/2004/08/revisiting_pkm_.html - revisiting PKM

http://denham.typepad.com/km/2005/06/pkm_exercise.html - PKM is an enigma

Collecting PKM thoughts and posts. Started by DenhamGrey 02/15/04

There are a number of people who believe strongly in the value of personal knowledge management (PKM). Strictly speaking a person does not have access to their tacit knowledge, it is what you know and do without being aware that you know or do.

PKM seems to be mainly about information organization and contact management which is not the same as working working with 'knowledge' that has been socially learned, constructed and validated. An interesting emergent mix is klogs or kblogging where the focus is on publishing and 'pushing' personal view points, while inviting comments and delivering commentary on another's texts.

The key to knowledge work IMO is community, where you share, create, critique, validate new connections with others. Arranging reflecting and organizing your personal beliefs, perceptions and values without sharing is NOT KM as I see things.

I'm skeptical about the PKM movement as a viable route to knowledge sharing, learning and understanding here is why:

Self-elicitation is an endless circle to nowhere

Real Key discoveries mostly require external triggers

Reflection is a poor substitute for testing in dialog

Emergence and sense-making are tied to insightful questions

Knowledge needs (social) relationships to surface, flow and be tested Knowledge work is not about PKM - it is all about communcation, community, knowledge creation, conversation. Getting into a personal huddle and organising your thoughts can easily take you away from the real flow and emergence - where it all happens.

Or you could say these are just the confessions of an evangelist for the sociology of knowledge!

An understanding for the dynamics between individual 'knowing' and knowledge which is socially mediated. Context is peripheral to the distinction here. I'm saying you need to have social mediation (validation, testing, acceptance) before individual 'knowing' becomes knowledge. There are many people who experience strong individual 'knowings', but society does regards their 'knowledge' as ravings and places little value on any personal 'knowing' which is not socially mediated. My fundamental is not around the context but the necessisity and role of social mediation.

Dave Pollard on PKM 11/23/05


Steve Barth is a PKM proponent and values the personal approach to KM
PKM in the enterprise - a mix I do not quite get
PKM from wikipedia
PLE - wiki