Where Has All My Knowledge Gone?

2014-01-07 12.54.24I’m working on some ‘what I’ve learned in the last 10 years’ posts this month.  They draw on the long history of my personal knowledge management (PKM) archive, but unfortunately it’s decayed even faster than my aging brain.

All the systems that I’ve used at work for personal knowledge management and collaboration have changed so often that they become irrelevant as a way to store knowledge.  The repositories have gone, the links have gone.  All that’s left are some of the raw office files that are in my file system, but anything in HTML has been lost.

On this, my personal blog, most but not all of the posts have survived the 2 platform changes.  Many of the links to older posts are broken though.  Even worse about 70% of the links to superb external posts are broken.

When I look at at the deep archive of articles that I’ve read most of them have been lost, locked up on some system that’s long dead.

Recently I’ve been paying more attention to this issue, and it’s a serious one, because much of this PKM archive is still very relevant.  These are some of the steps I’ve taken:

  1. I blog much less on my companies systems, they are just too fragile for information that has a life of more than a couple of years
  2. My blog is now using WordPress which I expect to have a very long life and all links reference my own domain name
  3. The archive of articles that I want to save is duplicated in Instapaper Folders, in my @steveisreading twitter account and in Pinboard.  I have a local copy on my iPhone and iPad
  4. The articles that are of most value are also in Evernote a company committed to lifetime access to knowledge
  5. The documents that I create are all carefully backed up in multiple systems and formats.  Unfortunately I don’t have a local backup of my WordPress blog, I will need to look into that.  I’d also like a copy of the actual articles I read,not just the titles and links to them.

All the same issues affect my personal memories which are probably just as fragile, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyone else got a better/different system?

You can follow my blog on twitter @steveiswriting, follow my reading @steveisreading and follow me @steverichards

The photo is of the beach I used to play on as a child, it looks almost exactly the same as it did 45 years ago.  It’s an interesting contrast to the rapidly decaying memories in by brain and brain support systems.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Are you self hosting your WordPress, or using WordPress.com?

    If you are self hosting, I use BackUpWordPress which you can set-up to email you a database backup. As the database is where most of the content is that seems to me to be the most important part.

  2. Steve Richards says:

    Thanks Graham, I will look into that, it sounds useful. What I really want though are all my posts as files in my local file system though

  1. May 15, 2014

    […] For decades this has not been a particularly popular view as enterprises pushed employees to store their precious knowledge assets in collaborative spaces, or knowledge archives that often had a life much shorter than the knowledge they contained, I debated this issue back in 2009.  Had I not maintained my own PKM system in parallel to the enterprise systems I would have lost more than I care to think about. […]

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