Strategies to get a handle on all your digital stuff: Personal Knowledge Management

Like most academics, I have too much digital stuff – a personal library of resources related to my work, files for various projects in progress, files for completed projects, and miscellaneous files accumulated through service activities, university/campus/school initiatives, not to mention the personal files I have at home. 

Luckily for me, part of my job involves helping researchers manage their data more effectively. This means I spend a lot time thinking about ways to help people manage their digital research stuff better. Some of the advice holds for professional and personal stuff, while some strategies are fairly specific to particular types of research data. There are several communities talking about these issues from slightly different perspectives, including the personal information management community, digital asset managers in the business world, electronic resources managers in various settings, and personal digital archiving.  I’ll take a deeper look at the wisdom coming out of these groups in future posts. For now, I want to share one of the most useful blogs I’ve come across.

The Academic personal knowledge management blog at is a group effort of three librarians: Crystal Renfro, Elisabeth Shields, and Mary Axford. It started as a year in productivity exercise related to the Personal Knowledge Management field of study, described as “amalgamation of skills and tools to aid in knowledge creation, growth, storage and dissemination.” They have covered topics ranging from concept/knowledge mapping to academic workflows to automating repetitive tasks, reflecting the broad range of information management issues we face in our daily work. For me, the blog has served as a gateway to areas of expertise that I didn’t know existed. When I’m trying to solve a new organizational or project management issue, I often find that they have already explored relevant tools or strategies.

Some of the most useful posts, in my opinion:

It’s all about the P’s: Paper, Productivity, and Pomodoro:

Notebook software:

Task automation: 

Blog Categories: 
Digital Scholarship Blogs
Updated Feb 25, 2014 by hcoates