Personal knowledge management

I’m going on a bit of a journey.

(that’s a thread)

With Roam Research being a bit hyped, I’m looking for alternatives that can enable people who aren’t super nerdy to develop a personal knowledge management system with a decent bit of ease.


  1. Easy to log information/thoughts and keep it in context
  2. Linking between notes
  3. Outline or easy ability to structure information
  4. Needs to be non-nerdy


Is there anything I’m missing? Any other tools I should try? I plan to narrow this to 3-4 and do a video on it for the YouTube channel.


What about DEVONthink3?

I intentionally didn’t include it because it’s a little too nerdy (involves a large financial investment and is basically expert mode for information storage). Super powerful app but not quite what I was aiming to hit.

I have a video coming today or tomorrow yet, so be watching for that!

Standard Notes is a fantastic app too. Incredibly simple at it’s core, the multiple-editor setup makes it a pretty powerful app. Oh, and it’s definitely the most secure & private notes app out there.

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Apple notes + PDFs in Finder. What I am using now :slight_smile:

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I’ve been using Drafts for the last little while. The upcoming version (I’m on the beta) has really powerful linking capabilities, and this, combined with its tagging, scriptability and actions make it really easy to get text in and out, and to link it in smart ways. I’ve been really happy with it.

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What kind of linking capabilities? Almost all my text goes in Drafts at this point so I’m very interested in this.

The beta allows for wiki-style linking between drafts, using wiki-style [[d:TITLE OF DRAFT]] links in the text, along with other links like [[s:SEARCH TERM]] for links to fire off searches, as well as other sorts of links to other apps. The release notes for the Mac Beta give the details of what’s coming up.

When you combine this with scripting abilities inside Drafts (and the shortcut integration), you can do a lot to link between drafts quickly, and dynamically.

That’s very interesting… I’ve downloaded the beta and am going to experiment! Thanks for the heads up @consequently and welcome to the community!

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and I am still using Evernote with 15,442 notes!!!


Just a followup on this. The latest Drafts beta has made a slight change for the wiki-linking protocol. It drops the “d:” prefix for internal links, which will make it easier to transfer your notes out of Drafts into another system that also uses this style of linking.

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I posted this in another thread but is another option, but it’s a request access stage right now. I’m in line to try it, but seems like a great competitor to Roam.


My problem is the whole concept of “notes” I keep a fair few PDF’s, images, videos and code snippets, as well as simple markdown notes. A good “personal knowledge manager” needs to be able to handle all these hence I oped for Devonthink 3.

I use Drafts which is excellent, for transient notes, but the less information is spread around my system the happier I am.

It would be interesting to see how people actually define “notes” when discussing these types of issues.

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For me, notes are:

  • thoughts
  • ideas
  • interesting pieces of information
  • things I’ve learned
  • connections I’m making between concepts

I don’t consider notes to be source materials unless they’re heavily highlighted or annotated by me.

I love Drafts for ephemeral capture, but I’d never use it for long term note storage. I need somewhere more permanent. Maybe I’ve used Drafts for too long but I can’t get the ephemeral nature of the software out of my mind.

There’s a YouTube video dropping on Wednesday about Obsidian! I had a first look, and I’m actually pretty impressed with it. It does everything Roam does except bock-level linking/transclusion.

My definition of notes is somewhat different:

  -Book notes (photographed pdf notes, typed notes, mind maps)
  -Copy of web pages
  -material for my coin collections
  -Car issues/service history
  - Insurance documents
  - Health records (pdf)
  - Notes and material of courses and mental models
  - Food for thought - articles from the web
  - Notes from places I have been
  - travel itineraries
  - Receipts 
  - Manuals 
  - Work Library -pdf tagged with topic/subject
  - Work Expenses records
  - Businesss ideas 
  - Discussion/phone conversation records
  - Vision boards 
  - Information about family and friends - likes and dislikes, spelling of names in case I have to issue tickets, show and clothes sizes
  - Shopping research material
  - Hobby research material
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