For the next ten weeks I will be treating you dear readers to a new topic that is tangentially related to personal digital preservation – Personal Information Management or PIM. Why you may ask this topic and why just ten weeks? Well that is simple. This new topic is the theme of one of my classes for the quarter and our professor (hello!) requested that we try blogging about our own PIM and any PIM experiments we try over the quarter.
Now I know some of you are probably wondering what exactly is PIM. The short and sweet answer is that PIM is the art of getting things done in our lives through information or having the right info at the right time to meet our needs.
As a starting point in this post I’ll be sharing my PIM as it stands at the beginning of the quarter. Nothing here is extremely ground breaking or even that sophisticated, but it has worked so far for me.
E-mail – I use Gmail for both my personal and school use. I never delete any emails (thanks to the ridiculous storage of Google!) I actually have email in my personal account going back to 2004. Now one might think this is a ridiculous large dump of info and that I would never be able to find anything, but since I keep everything in my inbox it is very easy to search for keywords or email author or recipient. If I need easy access to certain important emails frequently I “star” them.
Files– I have folders for each class for readings and papers. I create us folders for major projects especially long term group projects. When a class ends I move the folder from the desktop (for easy access) to an MLIS folder. I also have folders for my job search that contains resumes, cover letters, and helpful news articles, important non-class school documents, and important personal files such as tax documents. I also have a miscellaneous full of saved amusing pictures or articles from the Internet.
Photos – My photos are kept in topical folders (vacation, PAX, Christmas etc) with the year or date. I take very few “everyday” photos a picture organization scheme by month doesn’t make much sense. Except for photos of my cat, but these can be kept in a cat folder with subfolders of different years then months.
Notes – I almost exclusively still take notes in physical notebooks. I use one notebook per class and after the class is over I filed in a file box under the class name/number. I do take reading notes on my iPad in the PDF app I use. These PDFs can be moved off my iPad with the annotations and notes still intact.
Recipes – I keep almost all of my recipes in a Google Doc. These recipes come form websites and blogs. I keep the recipe title, website/blog name, and URL. I highlight the recipes that I have tried out. I may start highlighting favorite recipes in a different color to make them easy to spot in the list.
To-do lists – I have been using a physical weekly planner for my daily and long term to-do lists. At this time I have no digital system has even approached replacing the method I have been using since middle school. However, this is one area where I am interested in exploring alternatives. I will most likely be searching for iPad apps that can mimic or even improve on my weekly planner.
Reading lists – I have recently begun using Goodreads to manage my reading lists. Since grad school keeps me from picking up interesting novels or monographs as soon as I come across them, I use Goodreads to keep track of my “to-reads”.
While compiling this list I have learned that I organize my information in a very topical manner. Dates have very little place in my file names. I’m not sure if this is a good trait or not or what it has about me as an organizer of information. I also have noticed a few areas where I would like to experiment and try a few tweaks to my PIM. I will keep you all updated on my progress in these areas.
Not all my PIM blog entries will be this “me” focused. Hopefully I’ll be able to review a few PIM services and share my thoughts on different PIM principles. Also I won’t exclusively talk about PIM over the next 9 weeks so no worries on that front if this is not your cup of LIS tea.