How have you organized your personal wiki?
April 6, 2005 7:24 AM   Subscribe

If you're using a wiki for personal note-taking and keeping organized, how have you organized it?

I want to set up a wiki that will run locally on my computer for keeping track of my projects and mananging all the bits of information that usually end up on a post-it note or on a notepad.

My problem is, even though part of the beauty of a wiki is the lack of structure, that I feel lost just looking at a blank slate. I'm looking for some ideas on how to initally set up my wiki.

As for which wiki to use, I'm still deciding. There are so many to choose from! If there is one in particular that makes it easy to enforce a structure around the content, I would be interested in hearing about it....
posted by isotope to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I do this same thing. My structure... uhm.. isn't. Couple of main pages.. "remember this" "do this" "passwords" etc but mostly just lots of little jots seperated like paragraphs. I use PmWiki
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 7:58 AM on April 6, 2005

I use QwikiWiki running on the loopback of my Windows desktop.

I have a page called DailyEntries on which I pre-build a link for each day of the month, like:
_Apr-7-2005_ Thursday
_Apr-6-2005_ Wednesday
_Apr-5-2005_ Tuesday

I use each day as a scratchpad, recording phone calls and one-off tasks. If something takes the feel of a multistep project that will take more than one day to complete, I make its own page off of the daily entry page.

The "top" page of the wiki is just links to a few things: The DailyEntries page, a BookMarks page, and a PersonalPages page in which I create links to non-work-related ideas or projects.

Reviewing the "Recent Changes" page, I probably create one "project" page every other day, on average. Examples include a workspace for a meeting agenda, workspace for outlines for presentations I'll be giving, a collection of links for something work related ("BypassingContentFilters" for example), and a page on a vendor product I'm evaluating.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:30 AM on April 6, 2005

Instiki is supposed to be great for this and I may try it someday, but for simplicity's sake I have been using NoteTab to collect all my random post-it types of notes. It's a text editor with a tabbed multidocument interface, and it can automatically remember all the docs you have open from session to session. Better yet, it has an easy single-level "outline" function, which is actually more like a TOC for a single document. It shows section headings in a sidebar and displays a section at a time in the main window. Between a few loosely-defined categories and the global search tools I can find stuff instantly, without thinking much about organization at all.
posted by Tubes at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2005

Ooh, thanks for the Instiki link. JSPWiki just hasn't been doing it for me lately.
posted by furtive at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2005

I user Evernote and I'm very happy with it.
posted by stevyb at 1:16 PM on April 6, 2005

Oops...I mean, "I use..."
posted by stevyb at 1:17 PM on April 6, 2005

I've been using VoodooPad as a backup brain for my current project. I'm not really using it as a Wiki that much. I keep a daily log if there's something on my mind regarding the project and thats pretty much it. I set up topic pages and pages to hold links early on, but I use those exceedingly rarely.

VoodooPad is very useful and worth the price of admission, but its not on the same level of complete awesomenewss other Mac applications I use are. That said, it beats the pants off anything similar I've found for Windows. This could be because I'm unwilling to pay for Windows software, as I'd only use it at work.

I have all these crazy ideas of stuff to do with VoodooPad. They mostly circle around writing all the pages as Markdown, Textile, etc. and using that to make the HTML VoodooPad exports a little nicer to look at it in a browser. I've also thought of passing that HTML through Ruby's ERB so I can add some programmatic stuff. Thus far, my inability to grok Applescript has tabled these ideas.

Lots of people note that you can execute the text of a page in a VoodooPad document as a script. I've never seen anyone say when, exactly they've used that or when it saved their ass. That said, it is pretty cool.

I've also thought of attempting to bang VoodooPad and Instiki together to form the most unholy duo of hyperlinked personal knowledge management. Seems like the VoodooPad remote-wiki support is in a funky state in-between versions. I didn't get to the part where I added XML-RPC code to Instiki, after wading through VoodooPad's API support for a few hours.

To wrap it up, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 43 Folders wiki page on VoodooPad and highlight Getting Things Done with VoodooPad. Go forth and let the unholy writings of the followers of Merlin Mann and David Allen seep into your noggin.
posted by therealadam at 2:06 PM on April 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here's mine (with a few things omitted for privacy ;-)

!Quick Links

* [Movable Type|url]
* [Bloglines|url]
* [|url]
* [Music Catalog|url]


* ToDo
* ScratchPad
* DevNotes

!Music & Movies

* MusicWishlist
* SilentMovies


* HowToUseWiki
* ReleaseNotes
* PhpWikiAdministration
* PhpWikiDocumentation
posted by hyperizer at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2005

I use VoodooPad, too, and I love it.

I have five separate wikis (separate because I don't want them to cross-link with each other):
Chicago (to keep track of stuff when we were in the process of moving)
Crafts (for keeping track of craft projects and ideas)

The fifth one is for school -- I use it to take notes in all my classes. This is the most brilliant use, I think, because I can make new entries for words and concepts, and these words will be conveniently linked to their definitions in all pages relating to my notes. It also makes it easy to cross reference notes from other classes and other days.

The school wiki is divided into classes, then each class is broken down into class notes, book notes, and other. Class notes is broken down by date, book notes by chapter, and other by subject.

The other general subject wikis I organize by subject. So for example, in the wedding wiki, the high level categories are: Time, Place, Invitations, Dress, Guest list, Reception, Ceremony, Pre-wedding party, Other, Attendants, Music. These are then divided into subcategories as necessary.

The "General" wiki is divided into Shopping List, To Do List, Interesting Things, Writing, Books to read. Those aren't categories I thought of from the beginning, but just categories that I decided I needed as I was using the wiki.

So my suggestion for organization would be by project with subcategories for each facet of the larger project, plus a "general" wiki with categories that you add as needed.

Good luck! It took me a couple months to warm up to the wonderfulness of having a wiki but now it's the piece of software I use the most.
posted by jennyb at 3:12 PM on April 6, 2005

Wow! I had no idea programs like this existed and have been using Instiki for the last 30 minutes. It's awesome. Thanks!
posted by inksyndicate at 6:25 PM on April 6, 2005

Uh oh. You people have talked me into installing both Instiki and Evernote. With new productivity tools to play with, now I won't get anything done!
posted by Tubes at 8:59 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: Yeah, me too...thanks for all the great ideas!
posted by isotope at 7:29 AM on April 7, 2005

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