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Building the Memex Sixty Years Later: Trends and Directions in Personal Knowledge Bases

Submitted by on June 10, 2008 – 8:53 pm 477 views No Comment

By shear serendipity (ala Google), I stumbled across a truly great paper on Personal Knowledge Management. The paper, titled Building the Memex Sixty Years Later:
Trends and Directions in Personal Knowledge Bases
, is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive pieces of literature that I’ve read on PKM (Personal Knowledge Management). This paper was written by 3 students at the University of Colorado (Stephen Davies, Javier Velez-Morales, and Roger King) in Aug 2005.

Two key things from this paper really stood out to me:

  1. The distinction between the role of objective and subjective realms when it comes to PKM. For example:

    “… the objective realm – the set of electronic documents and other information that are
    available to a group at large. This is often the entire public domain, as with the World
    Wide Web, but sometimes it may be communicated only internally with an organization.
    The key factor is that it consists of materials everyone within a large group has access to,
    and views identically (ie., a given text appears the same to everyone.)
    a subjective realm – the viewpoints, interpretations, classifications, and relationships
    that an individual perceives when examining the objective realm. This set of elements is
    unique to each observer. It represents the ongoing accumulation of knowledge each
    person builds as they browse and learn from objective sources. It need not consist solely
    of elements from the objective realm, as the observer will also bring in their own
    background knowledge and biases, but it is most often primarily comprised of such
    objective elements.”

  2. The depth and range of coverage of the existing PKM solutions (mindmaps, outliners, wikis, semantic web technologies, and numerous references to historical PKM products)

If you’re interested in Personal Knowledge Management, I would *highly* recommend checking out this paper. My curiosity about the Memex has been peeked recently, and this paper definitely re-enforces the notion that others are interested in also achieving this vision.

I was able to find this pretty easily (by luck) via Google, however there is a limited distribution notice in the paper itself. So, i’m not certain if I can or should provide a direct link. However, you can check out the link to the ACM Portal (ACM subscription required). It seems the link on ACM is referencing a new paper published in 2006, which I have not yet reviewed:


And, of course, you can simply Google the paper title in quotes and you should be able to find the .pdf pretty easily:

Google “Building the Memex Sixty Years Later: Trends and Directions in Personal Knowledge Bases”

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