With the sheer amount of data that we can collect every day, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. The problem now comes not from a lack of information, but a lack of tools to help effectively sort and search through the content. Knowledge Management Systems can help with that. Of all the different types of Knowledge Management Systems, today we will be providing more information on specific knowledge bases.
Today, we will be going through and discussing the 4 best web based personal knowledge base apps, along with their pros and cons. This will allow you to determine which software you wish to use regularly.
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How is Personal Knowledge Base Useful?
Having a knowledge base provides you with a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it allows for easy and consistent service. Having a knowledge base allows all of you to reference information and guidelines quickly. This allows you and your team's workflow to be smooth and consistent. Just one example of an implemented knowledge base would be a hospital. Doctors and nurses frequently need access to clinical data, such as a patient's health record.
A knowledge base can allow hospital staff to increase patient care by giving its faculty critical information from a patient data file, and relevant links to articles from the national library of medicine. This decision support provided by a knowledge base can help save lives.
Just like a knowledge base can, in this case, help a hospital it can help you too. A knowledge base can range from a simple system to collect notes, images, documents, and links to a vast library spanning thousands of users across a corporation. Each knowledge base has its uses and today we will be going through 4 different software and based on the pros and cons you can decide which one works for you and your team.
Top 4 Personal Knowledge Base Apps to Check Out
Notion is an application where you can write, plan, collaborate, and organize. It allows you to take notes, add tasks, manage projects, and do much more besides. The notion is sort of like an internal wiki, which allows you either individually or part of a team to plan ahead on your projects, goals, and deadlines. It has incredible functionality that allows you to plan using a calendar, or a simple list.
The team-based functionality allows you to interact with your team by allowing you to share, comment, and assign tasks and reminders. As for ease of use, Notion allows for cross-platform compatibility including all mobile devices, Windows, and Mac support. The learning curve is also one of the biggest selling points of Notion, as the software is both simple to use as well as effective. We will now be listing some of the pros and cons of Notion, so you can decide whether or not this application is good for you.
- Eye Catching
- Easy to Organize
- Includes Amazing Quality of Life Features
- Blocks Offer Incredible Flexibility
- No Lightweight Tables
- No Linux Version
2. Microsoft OneNote
OneNote is one of Microsoft's offerings, and while it may not be as well known as PowerPoint or word it can still be an incredibly powerful tool. It is pretty much the best tool when it comes to taking notes, and gives you a very broad canvas to work on. It can be an incredibly versatile tool as well, as OneNote can handle lists, photos, tables, text files, spreadsheets, and much more. This versatility along with its ease of use makes this program a top contender for use as your personal knowledge base.
The usability is also a major positive. Pages can be arranged into tabs and notebooks, with tags available to further categorize your notes. OneNote also ties in tightly with the other parts of Office 365. This means if your team is already using Microsoft's software, OneNote is not only free but integrates with the rest of your software as well. For example, you can drop in a sheet from Excel that updates as you change it in the other application. One area where this application can struggle, however, is in its formatting.
The amount of flexibility that OneNote provides can be both a blessing and a curse. You have to remain conscious of where you place elements onto your page, as otherwise, it may prove to be distracting. The menu can also feel overcrowded at times. As OneNote has a lot of formatting options, the menus can feel cluttered and may take some time for you and/or your team to get used to. Overall though, OneNote is a fantastic option for you to use as a personal knowledge base.
- Text can be easily manipulated
- Easy to Organize
- Cross platform
- Offers flexible encryption
- Article Web Clipper available on desktop and mobile
- Not open source
- The added flexibility means your notes may feel cluttered
- The collapsible menu can feel crammed
"Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting, and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control. Zim handles several types of markup, like headings, bullet lists, and of course bold, italic, and highlighted. This markup is saved as a wiki text so you can easily edit it with other editors. Because of the autosave feature, you can switch between pages and follow links while editing without worries." (Zim-wiki.org)
- Plain Text Data Format
- Basic Formatting
- Easy to Organize
- Support For Multiple Platforms
- Automatically Manages Files and Folders
- No Synchronization with Other Devices
- Can be Difficult to Install
- Is Much Less Intuitive to Use Compared to the Competition
Evernote is one of the best note-taking applications that is used as a personal knowledge base by millions of people. The main reason why Evernote is so popular is because of its ease of use. One of the main features that allow this is Evernote's synchronization. Evernote is a cloud-based platform that allows the service to sync the information you give it across devices. For example: If you made a note on your phone, that note will appear when you open the application later on your computer.
Taking notes is also incredibly easy, as you can add notes in just a few seconds. You can format them with bold, italics, underlines, or links. If you don't need a note anymore, all you have to do is click delete. The notes you create are also incredibly easy to manage. Evernote has a feature that allows you to organize all of your notes into separate notebook folders. These folders are incredibly versatile as well, as Evernote has an insane amount of integration. The software is currently integrated with Google Docs, Gmail, Onedrive, and most other tools you may use. This allows for the transition process to be much smoother.
- Incredible search function
- Easy to use note-taking and syncing across devices
- Web Clipper Browser Extension
- Integration with other applications
- The free level of service too restrictive
- Lacks features that competitors offer
1. What are the benefits of using knowledge base applications?
Answer: Having a knowledge base gives you a lot of benefits. First and foremost, it allows for easy and consistent access to information and knowledge. Having a knowledge base allows you and if applicable your team members to be reference information and guidelines quickly. This allows you and/or your team to be more efficient while reducing confusion and frustration. Another benefit that a knowledge base provides is information retention. Any notes or ideas that you may have noted down will always stay inside your personal knowledge base, whether they be from a day or a year ago. These notes can be organized relatively easily by the wide variety of tools that these applications offer.
2. Which is the best personal knowledge base app?
Answer: While there are a lot of personal knowledge base applications, there are two that we can genuinely recommend. Evernote is perfect if you are the only person using the application. While it is not open source and can be expensive, Evernote is the perfect app. It has all the key features which allow for easy use, such as its search function and web extension. The amount of features and polish on those features that Evernote offers is unmatched by most of its competitors. It is also extremely well integrated into other applications, which allows it a level of flexibility which is rarely matched. The app can be used as a todo app, a note-taking software for taking study notes, and everything in between.
The second application that we recommend is Microsoft OneNote. If you are working with a team or already have paid for the Microsoft Suite, OneNote is an amazing application. The first advantage that OneNote has is the cost. OneNote is free if you already have access to the Microsoft suite. The second main advantage that OneNote has are the features that allow for collaboration. OneNote allows for real-time collaboration, which allows more than one person to interact with the knowledge base at one time. OneNote is also probably the one knowledge base application with more integration than Evernote, which you can find out about here.
3. What are the 3 must-have features of knowledge base apps?
- Organizational features
Every Knowledge Base app should include some sort of organizational features to sort your notes. This allows you to work and sort your data quickly and effectively. This can range from OneNote's collapsible menu system to the blocks found in Notion. These tools are essential to any knowledge base, as they help keep down clutter which would inevitably pile up otherwise.
- Search Bar
Having a search bar within your knowledge base can be extremely useful. It allows you to find content quickly without having to search for it through the many different folders if you forgot the location. This search capability allows for much greater efficiency when working.
- Web Clipper Extensions
Having a web clipper extension is extremely useful, and the level of utility one provides is irreplaceable. Currently, the only 2 personal knowledge base apps that have an inbuilt Web Clipper are Evernote and OneNote. This tool allows you to not only link web pages but to screenshot them so you can display the relevant information without having to load up a link. The screenshot can be the whole screen or just a picture or snippets of an article.