7.6 Tools Supporting PKM Processes

7.6 Tools Supporting PKM Processes

          We live in a knowledge society in which people have access to tremendous amounts of information and communicate with others all over the world. Although most of this information and communication is digital, people still predominantly use traditional analogue techniques: several studies (Jones, 1997; Blandford, 2001; Campbell, 2003) show that simple to-do-lists, paper calendars, address books, and diaries are the most commonly used tools, all of which are analogue paper-based tools.  Although email is increasingly used for some personal information tasks (Bellotti, 2004; Whittaker, 2006) it is mostly unstructured (Dai, 2005).

           In an attempt to compare the various PKM tools viewing at the classic KM processes, Eric Tsui has categorized following tools for supporting PKM processes:

  • Index/Search: tools that help searching through gigabytes of text by indexing local and networked drives. See for example ""dtSearch Desktop" (dtsearch)
  • Meta-Search: tools that consolidate results of searches performed by different engines like for example Metasearch.com,  CNET (Search.com) or Copernic 2000 (http://www.copernic.com)
  • Associative links: online thesaurus, dictionaries or hyperlinks to web resources starting from any document, like for example "GuruNet One-Click"
  • Unstructured information capturing: tools those help supporting the re-organization and structuring of unstructured information and documents finding the hidden key within them. Examples in this category are the "Stratify Discovery System" (Stratify) or the "Decision Intelligence Platform" (APR Smart Logic)
  • Concept/Mind mapping: visualization tools that help organizing and connecting different chunks of information, supporting personal and collective brainstorming. Among others "MindManager" and PersonalBrain are to be mentioned.
  • E-Mail management, analysis and Unified Messaging:  beyond simple e-mail clients, all those applications that enhance and integrate different communications systems, facing problems liking message overload or contact management.
  • Voice Recognition:  "voice-driven" interfaces to be applied to a wide range of PKM tools. "Dragon Naturally Speaking" and "IBM Via Voice" are the main products belonging to this category.
  • People/Expert finding:  social networking tools that allow searching for experts or like-minds often enhancing the connections that stem from personal document repositories. Due to its inner nature, these are often web-based tools like the "Spoke Network" (Spoke) or the "Friendster Community" (Friendster) just to name a few.

          We do think, as Dave Pollard has recently written in one of his essays, PKM is the cornerstone for a new KM architecture, that goes "from content to connectivity, with social networking applications and expertise-finding and community-building processes taking over in priority from the populating and management of massive, just-in-case, context free repositories of documents, and from corporate content management to personal content management, with simple, intuitive tools, personalized processes and one-on-one personal effectiveness training taking over in priority from complex, one-size-fits-all intranet tools, portals, 'productivity' software, and undifferentiated training".

           Due to the popularity of PKM among business, academic and professional communities a large number of PKM systems and technology tools are available in the market. A Comprehensive discussion about these systems/tools has been given in our other forthcoming book “Tools and Technologies of Knowledge Management”.


Tsui, E. Technologies for Personal and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Knowledge Management. http://go.webassistant.com/wa/upload/users/u1000062/1000246/p2p_km.pdf