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KnowledgeManagementSystems

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Background

Every now and then there is a discussion on /g/ or /sci/ about note taking, notes, second brain or knowledge management systems (KMS). Latest thread is the start of this page. This page is meant to collect useful information and make sure future discussion keep progressing rather than noodling around in small circles. People talk a lot about KMS but usually it is too abstract stuff and colourful presentations with fashionable drop shadows, and when everything has been said and done, too much has been said and nothing has been done. That is why we are here. Also see this older note.

What

KMS is simply about collecting information so that you can easily retrieve it and also share it with other people. This sounds simple, and yellow post-its abound. The problem comes when you want to retrieve information and yellow notes do not scale. Instead you end up with the "sunflower syndrome" - yellow paper bits surround your monitor until it looks like a deranged sunflower. To retrieve information you need keywords, title, abstract, categories, and complexities quickly increases.

Common Features

Most offer one or more features along

  • Simple markup such as Wiki or Markdown, typically bold, italics, strike through, underlining
  • Notes
  • Outliners
  • Todo-lists
  • Meta data such as title, keywords, abstract, name and date of creation, name and date of editing etc.
  • Searching based on contents, metadata and folder
  • Linking to other pages

Examples

For now just a list of various KMS that were brought up in these discussions.

CherryTree

CherryTree describes itself as a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. It is open source.

Dendron

Dendron describes itself as an open-source, local-first, markdown-based, note-taking tool. It's a personal knowledge management solution (PKM) built specifically for developers and integrates natively with IDEs like VS Code and VSCodium

Foam

Foam describes itself as a personal knowledge management and sharing system inspired by Roam Research, built on Visual Studio Code and GitHub.

Joplin

Joplin is an open source note-taking app. Web pages can be saved as notes and notes can be shared via the cloud. It is crossplatform, with clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Its internal database can be synced without external botnets using tools of your choosing.

Logseq

Logseq describes itself as a privacy-first, open-source knowledge base, a joyful, open-source outliner that works on top of local plain-text Markdown and Org-mode files

Markdown Memo

Markdown Memo describes itself as a knowledge base with bidirectional links built on top of VSCode. Is is inspired by Obsidian.md and RoamResearch.

Memex Garden

Memex Garden (formerly Worldbrain.io) is in beta but offers presently "Collaboratively Curating, Annotating and discussing websites & PDFs" and interfaces with other systems such as YouTube and Roam/Notion/Evernote via Readwise.

Mymind

Mymind is a non-collaborative system described as "notes bookmarks, inspiration, articles and images in one single, private place, enhanced with artificial intelligence."

Napkin

Napkin is a system to collect and reflect thoughts.

Notejot

Notejot describes itself as "Stupidly simple notes app."

Notion

Notion is a collaborative document/note taking system with a workflow. Data is in the cloud and people complain about reliability. When the cloud is gone the sun shines over your empty workspace.

ObsidianMD

Obsidian is a KMS based on local files written in Markdown. There is also graphics to show how things are interrelated. Export is not completed yet.

Org Mode

Org mode for Emacs is a plain text major mode for keeping notes, to-do lists, and more. It provides for metadata such as title, author and date.

Org Roam

Org Roam describes itself as a tool for networked thought. It reproduces some of Roam Research’s 1 key features within Org-mode. It is open source.

Org-Roam-UI

Org Roam UI describes itself as a graphical frontend for your org-roam Zettelkasten. Note that Org-roam-ui tries to keep up with the latest features of org-roam, which conflicts with Doom Emacs's desire for stability.

Orgzly

Orgzly is a free outliner for taking notes and managing to-do lists with specialised search functionality, where notebooks are written as plain text files in Org mode file format. This can be synched with many existing systems.

Paper (Gnome)

Paper is a note taking app for Gnome. Some report there are still a few bugs.

TiddlyWiki

TiddlyWiki is a single page application (SPA) that implements a wiki on a file.

Tomboy (Gnome)

Tomboy describes itself as "Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X. Simple and easy to use, but with potential to help you organize the ideas and information you deal with every day." It has Wiki style linking and add-ins. Note Tomboy is well know even though it is no longer maintained and replaced by Tomboy-ng.

TreeSheets

TreeSheets descibes itself as a "hierarchical spreadsheet" that is a great replacement for spreadsheets, mind mappers, outliners, PIMs, text editors and small databases. It is open source.

Typora

Typora is a minimal markdown editor. Files can be saved to Git.

Roam

Roam describes itself in a whitepaper as an online workspace for organizing and evaluating knowledge that is built on a directed graph.

VimWiki

VimWiki is a simple local wiki with a search engine.

Zettelkasten

Zettelkasten is a complete and complex system from reading and writing to management of knowledge. It takes the no-hierarchy approach to knowledge management.

Zettlr

Zettlr is another open source notebook with markdown

ZimWiki

ZimWiki states: "Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages."

Reference Management Systems

These are systems with a focus on handling references to and between document. Note that the Wikipedia article on comparison of these is having trouble with Wikipedia gatekeepers, and is also out of date.

Zotero

Zotero is an open source reference management tool to help you collect, organise, annotate, cite, and share research and documents. There was a major upgrade recently.

Specialised Systems

Hydrus Network

From the home page: "The hydrus network client is a desktop application written for Anonymous and other internet enthusiasts with large media collections. It organises your files into an internal database and browses them with tags instead of folders, a little like a booru on your desktop. Tags and files can be anonymously shared through custom servers that any user may run."

Shaarli

Shaarli is a personal bookmark manager written in PHP. It integrates into any modern browser using a JS bookmarklet and allows the user to apply thumbnails, tags and Markdown descriptions to bookmarks. It can also store tagged notes in Markdown, which are just bookmarks without a URL. It's private by default, but you can expose part of your bookmarks as public. Your friends can follow your public bookmark feed over the built-in RSS feed.

RemNote

RemNote is a tool for thinking and learning, with flashcards, PDFs and backlinks

Graphics

Knowledge can be illustrated by various tools such as Freeplane, Graphviz and more, but will quickly run into the problem of connecting lines piling up like mats.

Synchronisation

Often it is useful to sync data between devices. This is often a paid for feature in freemium products. Free alternatives exist, such as Synchting.

Colophon

This is a start. We need a lot more.