In my earlier posting on information strategy I discussed how I look at the way I filter information. This posting I will talk about the tools I use to filter incoming information, select, process and share it.
Let’s have a look at the basic picture I drew last time.

Filtering information

Of course this picture doesn’t show only the filtering. The arrows for Actions and Sharing imply that some processing and output is taking place as well.

In terms of functionality it looks more like this:


functionality.jpg
On the left hand side you see the different input channels. I read and select from that for both processing and filing. The output of the processing results in taking actions (decisions, taking stuff into client projects etc.), or in sharing through the different channels mentioned.
Let’s have a look at the tools I use.
Input
For blogs I use the RSS reader Lektora
E-mail I read with Thunderbird and Gmail (private), and Outlook Exchange (business)
Podcasts come to me through iPodder and I listen to them with my iRiver H10 MP3 player.
Bookmarks I collect from Del.icio.us and Furl, through my RSS reader Lektora
Photo media come from Flickr, through RSS again.
I also routinely take photo’s of workshop sheets and sticky notes, which I load into my personal wiki (on which more later)
Conversations take place via Skype and GoogleTalk, and through IM in Trillian (I use IRC, Yahoo, Icq, MSN, AIM through Trillian). The reason I use all of these applications together is to increase reach. I also use a webcam for some of these applications.
Other conversations take place face to face, or via regular (cell) phone. Of all these conversations I take notes, either in my personal wiki, or pen and paper, to be transferred to the wiki later.
Processing
What I select from all my reading, listening and talking (which as I said in my previous post I do based on pattern detection, and current relevant questions I have) gets processed, for which I use three tools I am extremely fond of:
Wikka Wiki, which runs locally on my laptop on a local webserver. The wiki is the one place I use for working out ideas, filing, keeping notes, and the like.
For writing blogpostings and other items to be published on-line I use Qumana (the original full version, not the current Qumana Light Edition which is very good in it’s own right, but lacks the library and work pad function I need badly for my writing in progress. I am not an ‘in the moment’ blogger). Qumana has a very easy drop pad to select morsels of information, and allows me to post to any or all of the 8+ blogs I write in.
For searching outside Wikka I use the Copernic desktop search tool (which indexes the archived RSS as well).
Next to these three great tools I use Picasa and Irfanview for managing photo’s.
Output
For sharing I use Movable Type and WordPress (both on my own server, as well as elsewhere), sometimes Blogger, for blog posting. Different Wikka Wiki installations, Media Wiki, and proprietary platforms for different CoPs. Del.icio.us for sharing bookmarks, and Flickr for uploading photo’s. E-mail of course (same as inputs)
Work related things end up, apart from company blog and company del.icio.us account, in a Sharepoint Portal which forms the back-office of our company.
All this next to conversations (again through the same tools as the inputs), presentations (PowerPoint) and documents (Office, OpenOffice)
Now we have seen my view on information filtering, and the tools I use, I will spend one or more coming postings on my daily routine.
In the mean time I am curious to hear more about your way of working. Differences with what I’ve described thusfar, similarities etc: I’d like to hear more about it.
To me understanding how we are reshaping our information strategies from what they were before blogging/social software/web2.0 is key in explaining others what they might do about what is perceived as information overload.

5 reactions on “Information strategy: tools

  1. A thought provoking post, Ton. I’d like to see it spur a broader conversation on personal workflow. If I *had* a personal workflow, I’d contribute. As it is, I’ll sit back hoping to gather some good ideas to be both more productive and more effective.

  2. Information Strategy: My Routine, Inputs

    In previous posts I showed how I filter information, and which tools I use. This posting is about the actual routine I have. I will start with the inputs, and keep the processing and output parts for later postings.RSSMost important…

  3. Ton –
    How much cognitive overhead do you have switching between all of these tools? It all sounds like hard work to me, even though I probably have mastered an equal number of apps that I use in one way or another to do a lot of the same things.
    I do envy the people who have a single telecorder device for most of their work and seem to manage fine with a limited application space (probably phone calls, email, Powerpoint, Word, and Excel). I know I couldn’t live in Office but your description of your work environment makes me wonder what bit of systems glue will generate the Office equivalent for Web 2.0.

  4. Ton,
    I agree with Terry’s comment on thought provokingness and would like to thank you for the work put into this post and the previous two.
    These past few weeks have found me using RSS and blogging in new ways and I’m starting to push my own envelope and determine where the cognitive and tool boundaries are in my own process. It’s very valuable to have insight into another’s process so that I can better reflect on my own.
    My aggregator is NewsGator which links well for me in Outlook and conseqently syncs to my PDA as well so I can periodically (but pretty rarely) read infomation offline. I don’t have a train trip but a 5-min drive to the office each day. That’s then backed up by MSN Desktop search which picks up emails, file content and RSS feeds as well (by virtue of them being in Outlook).
    David
    David

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