Building a Better World with Our Information

Building a Better World with Our Information

The Future of Personal Information Management, Part 3

William Jones
ISBN: 9781627053419 | PDF ISBN: 9781627053426
Copyright © 2015 | 205 Pages | Publication Date: August, 2015

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This is book #3 in a three part series.

Book 1: The Future of Personal Information Management

Book 2: Transforming Technologies to Manage Our Information

Personal Information Management (PIM) is the art of getting things done in our lives through information. How do we - can we better - manage our information at home, at school, at work, at play and "@large" in a global community? How do we use information not only to know but also to represent, communicate and effect useful change in the world around us?

In the study of PIM, does the search for practical methods with practical impact lead to methods that are "massive open on-line"? Can the ancient practice of storytelling help us better to weave our fragmented information together? In the practice of PIM, how can our information best serve as "near knowledge" - close at hand and, through our information tools, serving in practical ways to extend the knowledge that's "in the head"? If attempts to multitask lead to ineffective, even dangerous, instances of task switching and divided attention, can better PIM help us to realize, instead, opportunities for "multi-goaling" where the same time and effort accomplishes not just one but several goals?

These and other questions are addressed in this third and final book to conclude the series on "The Future of Personal Information Management".

Part 1, "Our Information, Always and Forever", covered the fundamentals of PIM and then explored the seismic shift, already well underway, towards a world where our information is always at hand (thanks to our devices) and "forever" on the web.

Part 2, "Transforming Technologies to Manage Our Information", provided a more focused look at technologies for managing information. The opening chapter discussed "natural interface" technologies of input/output to free us from keyboard, screen and mouse. Successive chapters then explored technologies to save, search and structure our information. A concluding chapter introduced the possibility that we may see dramatic reductions in the "clerical tax" we pay as we work with our information.

Now in Part 3, "Building a Better World with Our Information", focus shifts to the practical present and to the near future. Part 3 is in three chapters:

  • Group information management and the social fabric in PIM. How do we preserve and promote our PIM practices as we interact with others at home, at work, at play and in wider, even global, communities? (Chapter 10).
  • Designing for PIM in the development of tools and in the selection of teachable (learnable) "better practices" of PIM. (Chapter 11).
  • To each of us, our own concludes with an exploration of the ways each of us, individually, can develop better practices for the management of our information in service of the lives we wish to live and towards a better world we all must share. (Chapter 12).

Table of Contents

Group Information Management and the Social Fabric of PIM
PIM by Design
To Each of Us, Our Own
Author Biography

About the Author(s)

William Jones, University of Washington
William Jones is a Research Associate Professor Emeritus in the Information School at the University of Washington, where he works on the challenges of Keeping Found Things Found. He has published in the areas of personal information management (PIM), human-computer interaction, information retrieval (search), and human cognition/memory. William Jones wrote the book Keeping Found Things Found: The Study and Practice of Personal Information Management and, more recently, the three-part series at Morgan & Claypool, The Future of Personal Information: Part 1: Our Information, Always & Forever, Part 2: Transforming Technologies to Manage Our Information and Part 3: Building a Better World With Our Information. Dr. Jones holds 5 patents relating to search and PIM (2 more pending). His current special area of research is "Information, Knowledge and Successful Aging."


No challenge today is more pressing than managing the rapidly escalating volume of information that would be of considerable interest to any of us if we could find and retrieve it. This book and the series that it concludes will reward anyone, whether their goal is to better manage their information, do research on the subject, or build an application or system to support others in their handling of their information. William Jones has worked intently on this topic for many years. His coverage is very broad, and he has thought carefully and deeply about the issues, pursuing them to the point where knowledge passes into wisdom. Because each of us is different, and each of us has many different relationships to different categories of information, this is a complex topic with no silver bullet. Yet this book will remain an invaluable resource for a very long time, whether as a foundation for research or as a basis for action, because no one is likely to come along with such a monumental grasp of the subject.
Jonathan T. Grudin - via Reviews

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