Theme: Information Management in various environments - viz Email, Wiki, Desktop, Web etc.
We will talk about: Information management in different environments. Primarily: Email, desktop, web, wiki. And can users get to keep their environment, and yet be able to achieve all objectives of usual information management requirements?
Most 'active' people in industry move around with a laptop. And they love and live in email.
Why? The primary reason: They always have access to most important information - mails, contacts, important documents and so on. The laptop platform is hard to replicate on other platforms such as PocketPCs or Palms.
And Emails play an important role here. Let us look at this from perspective of Information management. What is good about email? (Compared to other information management platforms such as web ...)
- You are triggered when new information arrives.
- You have very good search
- Information is browsable based on time and folders
- You can 'relate' to any piece of information: It remains same since you last saw it. Nothing changes "under the hood".
- Information replicates in the Inbox. This means, your 'view' of information is intact even when source changes. This is, in general, a good thing.
And bad things about email (at least in existing clients):
- Browsability, unlike web, is linear.
- Relation between information - in form of links (as in web pages) can't be introduced, nor the system can automatically create them. At most, you have threads. (You can also sort by sender which is also a relation.) But the whole system remains static.
- And "one bucket" model is not suitable for information management. We require context sensitive views. If I am in home, I would like to see a different inbox. If I am meeting a specific client, I would like to have different view. And all automatically. (BTW, does anyone else feel this is a requirement?)
AvantGo-type functionality: You view the same links, but information in them can keep changing.
twiki and other wiki systems
Main problem with wiki systems is that information "changes under the hood" because anyone can refactor the information. The model is good to write shared documents, but not for information management of what individuals like. However, this is easy to fix.
Second problem is: Information replication. Because of shared nature, this part is indeed difficult. Note that in email you never have to 'integrate information'. You only create new information - referring to other information as necessary (say when you reply to mails etc.)