[pmwiki-users] Wiki as PIM/Personal Notes tool

Sandy sandy at onebit.ca
Tue Sep 12 10:36:28 CDT 2006

Chris Lott wrote:
> I am doing a workshop in a few weeks on using wikis (specifically
> PmWiki of course) as a PIM/personal notes tool. My target are faculty
> and staff who might be using tools like Evernote, OneNote, hundreds of
> notepad documents, sticky notes (real and virtual) etc. to manage
> "misc" information.
> I use PmWiki for this reason myself, but in a fairly vanilla way.
> Does anyone have tips, tricks, hints, particularly apt cookbook
> recipes, etc? I control the environment for these folks, so I can use
> whatever reciped make sense.
> I am going to talk about trails, page tocs, categories, page lists,
> sticky notes (using the postitnotes recipe), and WikiPublisher.
> c

Something I've thought of doing myself sometimes, sharing one group and 
a calendar with hubby, but somehow the datebook in my purse at all times 
and another on the fridge in my face when making breakfast works better.

Having said that, if PmWiki worked on a handheld and there were a faster 
data entry method and more screen space, I'd try it:

1. Categories.
Haven't used them myself, but looks fairly easy. While you're typing up 
note on one topic, include a link to the [[!ToDo]] category. Then you 
can generate a list of all pages containing this link. Can also use for 
[[!Buy]] or [[!AskBoss]] categories.

2. PmCal.
Easy to install, and looks like it can combine several individual 
calendars into one display. So you can see your personal one, the 
company holiday one, and your appointments one. Or you can see the 
appointment one for everyone when scheduling a meeting. (Although we 
tried this at work one time with a different product, and everyone 
complained about having to enter all their appointments, and a few 
didn't, so we still had to schedule things the old way.)

3. I'd ease off on the "you must plan things first" bit. Makes it look 
like they can't play and change things on the fly. Whenever I changed 
careers, my paper system took months to adapt to the new demands, even 
when I knew what those demands were in advance.

Instead, give them several examples to show how versatile the system is, 
and that they can change on the fly. (Although I will admit that 
changing the group of a ton of pages can be a pain.)

4. Empasize the usefulness of the Search tool (and a consistent set of 
keywords). Even if they don't use the Categories idea, if the word ToBuy 
appears next to each thing they have to buy, a search for ToBuy will 
show them all the projects needing something bought. And point out the 
problem if they are looking for that great Christmas gift idea, but 
labeled it Xmas. Some people use one page for a list of keywords.

5. Privacy.
Do you want them to put personal stuff on, and if so, how personal? (And 
can they access it at home?) Tell them up front, and either reassure 
them that only the SuperUser can read the private pages, or emphasize 
that, while you don't mind them putting a few personal things on (like 
"I'll be out of the office so don't schedule a meeting") they should be 

6. Routine Maintenance.
Especially useful if they do change their system. Search for orphaned 
pages is a big one.

7. Other Recipes that may or may not prove useful,
Create a list of recipes you're comfortable with supporting, and turn 
them loose.

8. User Group
Create a place (hey, maybe a wiki!) where they can trade ideas (and 

Let us know how they take to it!


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