Personal Content Management

Personal Content Management

Several years ago, when I was working in the School of Information Sciences and Technology the Dean gave my a beautiful leather journal as a Christmas gift. In the front he wrote, “To help you keep your stuff straight.” To this day I still track a ton of what I do in numbered leather journals … but the times they are a changin’. The journal is just one piece to my personal content management strategy …
Clearly I am not the first to do this, but I finally got sick of using all sorts of apps to keep track of private thoughts, ideas, planning documents, meeting notes, etc.

Yesterday after a brief talk with one of my colleagues I went ahead and installed Movable Type on my 15″ PowerBook. I am doing local publishes, but it feels so much better than the apps I had been using to track all my stuff. As a matter of fact, it seems to work better for me than my recent shift to BaseCamp. Prior to BaseCamp I was using a custom FileMaker Pro notebook application I had built a couple of years ago. It was nice, but just had too many limitations and too often as I was writing I would stop and say, “why don’t I just tweak this and fix that …” After a short time, that really started to get in the way of the writing.

So here I am … using MT as my personal content management system. Thanks to an amazing tutorial over at MacZealots I was able to get the whole thing running on my system. It was a lot funny geeking out with it all yesterday. I am still struggling with where all the add-ons for MT go, but it is making more sense to this old WordPress user. MT doesn’t seem to match the simlicity, elegance, and flow of WP, but it does seem to work really well for what I am using it for. I won’t be switching to MT for this space anytime soon, but who knows. What kinds of tools do you all use to help kep your stuff straight?

6 thoughts on “Personal Content Management

  1. I looked at the Notational Velocity and just doesn’t feel right to me … but it is crazy how much I use del.icio.us these days. I haven’t added a bookmark to my browser in so long.

  2. For my personal life, I use a wiki installed on my server, that is behind a password, that my wife and I can access. It works great for sharing information: To do lists, shopping lists, calendar, recipes, etc… It is really convienient for either of us to be able to access it from anywhere. I also wrote some custom scripts to grab a few of the pages, like the shopping list for example, and copy it to my ipod’s notes section. this way if I find myself stopping at a store I can easily check and see what else needs to be picked up.

    for my work life I have been experimenting with just one huge text file I call everything.txt. It is easy to search, update, transform to meet my needs and it is 100% cross platform.

    I also like to carry around a small notebook that can easily fit into a shirt pocket. This acts as what the GTD crowd would call a collection bucket. As things come to me I add them to the notebook. Then later, when I am at a computer I transcribe the notebook to the appropriate digital system, then rip the page out and discard it.

  3. Brad, I like the personal wiki available from anywhere … one of my big challenges is the amount of travel I do … it keeps me offline for several hours — hours where I want to get a big slice of thinking/brainstorming/writing done. I find that desktop apps sort of blovk my creative flow for one reason or another. I try to refuse to use Word for nearly everything … I love the feel of creating an entry in my blog, but so much of what I want to write is for my eyes only. BTW, the dump to the iPod is a great idea!

    I am also an analog notebook user for a lot of stuff. I have a ton of trouble transcribing it though and it ends up sitting and getting ignored.

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