Saturday, January 15, 2005

Information management - How to use Gmail as your second brain

Information management - How to use Gmail as your second brain: "Information Management: How to use Gmail as your second brain

By Adam Boettiger - adam@digitalocean.cc
Please feel free to Link to this article from your own web site.

I don't know about you, but I subscribe to quite a few email discussion lists and ezines/newsletters. I've been online since 1992 and through the years have found email discussion lists to be an invaluable source of topic-specific help, tips and information.

But information is useless unless it meets at least two criteria:

1. You can easily and quickly store it

2. You can easily and quickly retrieve it at the time when you need it

We are all overloaded with email and information, however there are many nuggets of gold that we see every day that we wish we could file away in our brain somewhere. You may subscribe to a discussion list and receive 10 posts a day from it, with maybe 2 being relevant to your problems, and of those two messages, maybe there is only one single paragraph and URL in each that you find useful or want to store for later retrieval.

There are plenty of desktop search applications. One particularly good one for PC users is called Copernic and can be downloaded free of charge from http://www.copernic.com/. Once it indexes your hard drive the first time it is an incredibly useful and fast application for locating information.

If, for example, you wanted to store a paragraph and URL for a resource you saw in a newsletter or discussion list, you might take a text editor like TextPad http://www.textpad.com/ or BBEdit http://www.barebones.com/ (Mac users) and highlight, copy and paste, saving the snippet into a .txt text file in a folder named 'My Brain' on your hard drive. Once Copernic indexes your brain, information retrieval becomes incredibly easy.

Another method you can use to store and retrieve snippets of information, knowledge, experience and resources can be done through a separate web email account. I tend to move around a lot from computer to computer so this is the preferred method that I use:"

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