How I manage information

I manage digital information differently according to what I am doing and the context of the process. I generally browse from my Netvibes RSS listings, or from more detailed subscriptions from NetNewsWire which is a high-end Mac content aggregator that automatically synchronizes with Google Reader. (I like the security of having my desktop aggregator duplicated with a cloud based system). NetVibes contains the frequently accessed subscribed sites, while NetNewsWire is a more extensive collection of subscriptions.

I typically browse RSS feeds beginning in Netvibes. I quickly tag anything I want to capture with a bookmarklet icon that takes me directly to In Delicious tag with a generic tag (css), a more specific tag (css3_tutorial), and sometimes added specificity (css3_queries_tutorial). When I am short on time I create a “READ” tag, which takes me back to articles I want to read in the very near future.

I also carry a Moleskine pocket notebook to Collect other types of information. It goes everywhere I go, and collects anything I want to collect. I also have a Moleskine for books/authors/publisher data in which I keep a lengthy list of new books that I think are important.

If I am going to post several articles, I use Marsedit, a Mac app that is a great outside editor which can add images, links, etc. and then automatically post to whatever blog I wanted to post to. I have multiple blogs so this is a handy and quick tool for getting a lot of posting done. It is also easy to create drafts, then go back and add to them and edit.

I am not a friendly FaceBook user, but do check it occasionally and get more links reminding me to than I choose to pay attention to. I also use Linkedin, with about the same amount of enthusiasm! I prefer searching subscribed resources and constantly updating my storage of articles and files that I can then find instantly.

More to come. Your process and any interesting tools you use to learn with, would be welcome comments.

Managing information

George Siemens stated that “The most critical skill that individuals need to master today is how to manage information.” Skills such as critical thinking, detecting information that is not accurate, creating personal learning networks, and similar 21st century skills are all based on how we manage information. This is the focus of our Fundamentals Of IMD course, that involves experiencing social networking tools that can become an extension of how we learn in a digital world. Hopefully, you continue to build your personal learning environment that began in Fundamentals.

It is important to learn the topics of our domains of study such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PhP, Flash, image manipulation, and planning processes. But these languages and tools are constantly changing as are the types of problems potential clients will ask us to solve.

We will only be as successful as the way we manage the overwhelming maze of information that is available to us. We are only as “smart” as the way we choose to manage the information that is the basis of our domains.

How do you manage information? What tools and processes have you developed and customized to support your design creativity? What networks or communities have your found that support your domain of learning?

If you only do your assignments, you may not develop the real skills necessary to become a successful designer. If you only create what teachers ask you to create in classes, you may never find out how to solve real problems that will confront you when you graduate.

I will add another article here about how I manage information, and I encourage you to share your methods and practices as a comment to this blog, or in discussions with your peers and instructors.