After defining Personal Knowledge Management (PKM), I’ve identified an initial Personal Knowledge Management workflow. Then I researched the differences between data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. I am now Learning Out Loud about the Capture phase in my PKM to explore why you should capture knowledge.
Reasons to capture knowledge
“Capture” is the phase where you acquire data, information, and knowledge to be added to your Note Archive. By exploring the motivation to capture information, we can be more intentional. By being more conscious, we can focus on what matters to pursuing our research goals. As usual, we can go “top-down” by defining the capture criteria a priori or capturing “bottom-up” by following curiosity and instincts.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of reasons to capture knowledge.
You are your memory. Anything related to your personal and professional life worth to be remembered should be a potential candidate to be captured. By keeping track of important dates, events, and writings, we can be more efficient in our lives, avoid little and big problems and reduce redundancy by reusing saved forms, templates, and models.
Capture what you don’t know. Yes, there’s a lot that you don’t know, of course, I know it because I feel the same. Would you capture every single unknown bit moving around you? No, dear, follow your interests. Capture what stimulates your curiosity or your intention. You should capture what you want to learn or must learn, and I am thinking about you, students. But also professionals needing to get continuously be up-to-date in their fields.
Capture relevant information sources. If you have a purpose in creating something out of your PKM, you can drive your relevant material research. Capturing meaningful information related to your research field will allow you to develop your research question and provide some answers.
To develop your interests
Feed your curiosity. Create a list of your interests. It will be a useful prompt to evaluate something worth to be capture. Does it fall in any of the listed interests? If no, why am I even asking this question? It might be that you have found a new interest to add to your list. Establishing a feedback loop between you and your interest, you make progress towards being more self-aware. By knowing what you like, you can draw a better picture of yourself. Capturing information about your interests contributes to understand and define your identity.
To be more creative
Invest in your idea bank. Your knowledge base is like a bank. If you don’t put anything into it, you won’t have anything to withdraw. Capturing data is the most crucial activity needed to enrich your note archive.
Choose unique perspectives. Creative comes from “to create,” and a popular definition of creativity says something about “being novel and useful.” So capturing information from unusual sources or in uncommon ways could contribute to the next creative phase of your PKMS, especially the Develop one.
To deal with complexity
Complexity can be made of simple rules. A diversity of applications of simple rules in space and times generate complexity.
Capture information to extend your brain
Capturing data, information, and knowledge can be highly subjective. It depends on your needs and wants and the life you conduct, and the perspective you see. It might be helpful to write down your reasons to capture information. It would allow you to choose more wisely what is relevant or not.