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I want to try using a knowledge management system. So far I looked at mindmapping tools like freemind and Kdissert. What I don't like is the tree structure, every item can only have one parent. Much of the stuff I find intersting is interesting in more than one context, so I want something that allows a more web-like structure. In all likelyhood this will be a wiki, but I'm open to other suggestions. My other specs:

  • shallow learning curve, I want to start right away. Learning a bit markup is okay though
  • stores data locally
  • supports Tex/Mathjax like syntax for mathematical and chemical formulae
  • allows inclusion of video, pictures and pdf in some way
  • high flexibility in organizing and re-organizing my data
  • Shouldnt make it needlessly hard to export the data and structure into another format when I change my mind about the system to use
  • open-source, runs on linux
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  • "What I don't like is the tree structure, every item can only have one parent" - true, but you can link items to non-parent, non-sibling items. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 16 '15 at 8:48
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    and PDF in some way <- Does that include a hyperlink to a PDF file? – Tymric Mar 16 '15 at 13:33
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    hyperlink's ok ok – mart Mar 16 '15 at 14:19
  • @Mawg gotta try this, thx. – mart Mar 16 '15 at 14:20
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Been there. A very easy to set up and use wiki is TiddlyWiki. I used it to take notes for some classes, but I ended up transcribing stuff from books and wikipedia. Don't waste your time duplicating information. Make summaries or lists with links to the websites/documents.

When I used it, it was kind of ugly, but it looks like it has had some work recently. I might start to use it again.

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Piggydb is an interesting approach to your question.

I found myself wrapping a programming editor called Leo around my information and now use it pretty much exclusively for note taking, outlining, writing and organizing my life. It is in essence an outliner, but it allows clones. So any node can belong to any other node. Changes to cloned nodes propagate to all clones. Extensibility is via plugins and ultimately, Python. The entire editor is scriptable. All content is searchable.

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Maybe the iMapping Tool is right for you. It is a visual knowledge mapping tool, that lets you organize your text snippets, files and pictures visually on what could be described as an infinite pinboard. Items can be nested and interlinked so you can add structure as your collection grows.

Comments to your requirements:

shallow learning curve, I want to start right away. Learning a bit markup is okay though

stores data locally

supports Tex/Mathjax like syntax for mathematical and chemical formulae

not yet

allows inclusion of video, pictures and pdf in some way

(√) pictures are displayed inline, local files and remote URLs (Videos) are referred to by clickable links (currently not clickable in free version but soon yes.)

high flexibility in organizing and re-organizing my data

√ That is what iMapping is made for. You can also create duplicates (so-called equivalents) of whole parts of your maps, so you can rearrange one version while keeping the original. And these "eqivalent" items are still connected in the back-end, much like hard-links on linux.

What I don't like is the tree structure, every item can only have one parent. Much of the stuff I find intersting is interesting in more than one context

√ The mechanism of these equivalents lets you creade several instances of an item in different contexts. In the included semantic search tool, they are still one item.

Shouldnt make it needlessly hard to export the data and structure into another format when I change my mind about the system to use

Well, it is a little hard, but not needlassly ;) Data is stores locally in an open semantic format, which, however is not widely used.

open-source

Used to be but currently is not. You might get the sourcecode based on a bilateral agreement though.

runs on linux

√ While not officilly supported, it inofficially does.

The website is in German, while the tool itself is English. Just check out the video - you will get an impression.

Disclaimer: The iMapping tool is my own development I sell it commercially (although there is a free version availabe for download).

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  • Looks very promising. How'd I use this to share knowledge with coworkers? I see it can be used locally for myself, which is nice. It seems to be one file though, i.e. it can be edited by one person at a time only. When changing the data inside the map, will such a change dramatically change the file data? I'm asking because I think of putting such a file into version control, which like small changes to files. – Thomas Weller Mar 4 '16 at 21:31
  • Currently, yes, all map data resides in this one file. For sharing it would be much like office - you have to agree on who is editing. There is no native collaboration feature yet. The file itself is a zip archive, whith more fine-grained data inside that would be more suitable for use in version control systems. Currenly, there is no option of saving this data unzipped, but maybe you could use a script to unzip the file, copy and commit it into your VCS and reverse... – Heiko Haller Mar 5 '16 at 8:25

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