Public vs. Private Knowledge Management

If you've read my earlier posts from today you'd know that I've been experimenting with the idea of using a blog as a Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tool. The main advantages of blogs for this purpose are the chronological recording of ideas mirroring a typical progress log that one might use to record daily ideas, thoughts, findings. Unlike a simple paper-based or Word-document like log however, blogs allow you to add labels or tags and categorize posts for easier information retrieval.

This lead me to have a look at both Blogger and WordPress as potential PKM solutions, however both came short when looking at private vs. public post permission handling. Basically, I'd like to be able to use the blog as a complete Knowledge Management tool, my one-stop-shop for recording and refering to anything and everything I know. Obviously, a lot of this information I would not want to share with the rest of the world (hence the Personal in PKM), but some bits may be generic enough to publicise.

To this end, Blogger only gives you the option of making everything private, sharing everything with only a select group of people, or making everything public. The lack of post-level permission settings means I can only use this current blog to store my Public Knowledge, everything else has to go in another system.

WordPress fairs a little better as it does provide the option of marking posts as private. However, private posts will not appear in the tag cloud, categories panel or even search results by default making it almost impossible to find the information again - the chronological trail is the only path to a particular post. This of course could be hacked, but I'd prefer to use a hosted solution rather than wasting effort trying to keep up-to-date with patches on a self-hosted public site (I've made that mistake with WordPress before).

As it stands at the moment, I'm using Blogger for this public site and using a localhost WordPress installation for my Private Knowledge. Not an ideal solution as I either need to duplicate the public knowledge chucks in both systems or search two separate systems for information when I need it months from now.

Perhaps I would've had better luck investigating Wiki engines or advanced CMS systems as more suitable alternatives, but few fall under the free-hosted category with free CNAME custom-URL mapping, and even fewer I would trust with semi-sensitive data...

If anyone has better ideas please let me know!


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