How You Manage Your Knowledge Repository Contents

Hello all!

I would first like to thank everyone who has replied to my other two posts of similar nature:

And also to Wendell for his original video and post on the topic:

While my brain still feels like it is going to explode from all of the different ideas, concepts, and overall desire to become more organized, I at least feel a bit less chaotic. Everyone has been super helpful thus far and again I thank you all! In re-reading Wendell’s Knowledge Repository post, as well as all the replies to my earlier posts (linked above), I feel that I have much better idea of what answers I’m looking for and also what questions to ask to get those questions.

Hopefully everyone isn’t tired of replying to my questions and will be able to offer a bit more help :slight_smile:

For some quick context prior to getting to the questions:

  • I have used/messed with/utilized to some degree or another the following note-taking/to-do/wiki/text editor apps: DokuWiki, TiddlyWiki, Obsidian, OneNote, Google Tasks, Google Keep, Google Docs, Zoho Notebook, Zoho Tasks, NextCloud Notes, LibreOffice Writer, LibreOffice Calc, GoodNotes (iOS), Pen & Paper
  • I have research various note-taking and to-do concepts such as Zettelkasten, Bullet-Journaling, GTD, etc.
  • I have a home server running Ubuntu Server that I use, among other things, as a document repository. In addition I have various iOS devices (I trust them more then Android personally), an iMac for graphic design/3d rendering, a Windows 10 gaming rig, and a laptop daily driver with ZoronOS (fancy Ubuntu though I have been thinking about trying Fedora).
  • I usually find myself using my iPhone or iPad Mini to look at various topics/web searches/videos instead of my computers.
  • I highly value open/future proof solutions: Obsidian with .md files that can be edited in any number of Markdown Editors, TiddlyWiki since it is a single HTML file that runs in any browser (minus some functionality without a plugin), or .odt for Word Processing applications.
  • In a similar vein as the one above, I don’t want to be stuck in a walled garden.

As for the question: How do you personally go about, or have heard of others going about, collecting, storing, and reviewing/revisiting/searching for the following information types?

  • Instructions on how to perform a task. IE: You’re searching for how to add an existing user to a permissions group in Linux and you find the following page/instructions that has the answer (How to add existing user to an existing group? - Ask Ubuntu). Or you are searching for ways to update the default links in your file explorer and come across the following page with part of the answer (File explorer – customising the shortcuts - General Help - Zorin Forum). Do you save the whole page as a PDF? Copy and paste the relevant content into an individual note with some description and then reference the link? Do you just save the link with a quick description of what you used it for?
  • An online article (news website, academic, etc): IE: You come across a new article that you find interesting and feel it may important later as a conversation piece or for research. Do you download the PDF? Do you just save the link with a quick description? Do you put it in some kind of reference/citation software and hope the source doesn’t disappear later?

Ultimately my issue is I can’t wrap my head around a way (the ways) that each concept would be recorded. I have thoughts/ideas, come across interesting websites, articles and/or videos, search and find or come across DIY articles for building things or how-to articles for tech stuff, and support pages for fixing a problem in a program or OS. Up until now I simply saved a bookmark for every scenario besides my thoughts/ideas but I now see such a system as serious flaws. I also hardly EVER went back to search in the bookmarks.

When you go to search for something, do you automatically search your Knowledge Repository before going on the web? If you are running something like a Zettelkasten and have PDFs of how-tos or DIYs do you run separate searches? I feel like I’m on the verge of figuring out a solution but have a puzzle that is still missing a few key pieces. Like should I consider the downloaded PDFs reference material only and edit the document keywords to make them more searchable? Do I keep them as references and then link to them inside of a note with a description of how I used it?

I apologize if this went off on a tangent. I thought I had the concept together pretty well when I started writing but obviously it went off the rails. Any and all help is very much appreciated but if this post falls outside the acceptable range for this board, I completely understand.

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I currently have a very messy tech life, so it’s all a WIP.

My plan is to have a git repo, write my documents in either markdown or html, then have a SSG (static site generator) create the articles. My files lately have to be plaintext, because Linux tools are powerful and you can control text files easily. Can’t find something, but you remember some keywords? Just do a grep -r and you can find it. And if you plan accordingly, the SSG can send links to other articles for quick access.

For note taking, if it wasn’t obvious, a plaintext editor. I find myself in situations where I test new stuff, so I mark every step I took, try to recreate the process, remove all unnecessary commands, then write an explanation of what everything does.

For web browsing, this is a mess, but I wouldn’t have it any other way at this point in time. I don’t bookmark often, because I rarely open bookmarks. All the things I need to come back to are opened in browser tabs. Those get saved when I close the browser. I probably have over 200 tabs at this point. Most of them are kinda sequential. When I feel like it, I go read the stuff I need and close whatever I don’t feel will be needed anymore.

My active tabs are only around 10 or so at most. The rest are just sleeping, because I’m not loading everything up, that would kill my system, or at least lock my browser due to RAM limitation.

I have books, articles, tutorials, instructions, item descriptions, ftps and other similar stuff opened in tabs. For example, I could close the tabs I have on Odroid HC4 and on Alpine, as I don’t have a need for them anymore, just to give an example of what’s going on in my tabs.

Whatever you do, either your own generated static website or a wiki server, do not go with anything proprietary, or even open source that requires a specific editor to use, like .odt. Just do plaintext and format and compile documents in other ways, like with markdown.

I have a single spreadsheet that I keep alive, that I’m finding myself using, because I have some filters on it and some color coding. But I realized I can do the same thing in HTML and get rid of the ods format, I just didn’t get around to convert the file, because I have like 2000 lines or so. But this one is the least important and not really related to my knowledge base.

Another thing that I am struggling with, and I haven’t found a way around, is storing personal documents. I still have everything on paper and I barely have digital copies of stuff, but I want to organize them on an encrypted drive on a NAS that I only unlock when needed, like when I have to upload new documents, receipts, warranties and other stuff. I want to get a scanner to make my life easier, but I don’t know how I’ll make that setup, and currently I don’t even have a NAS, only a makeshift one.

I’ll probably post an article when I finally start developing my homelab, but currently I’m still on building it. It’s a long ride, because I’m dumb and try to run unofficial / unsupported OS on ARM SBCs. They are technically supported by the mainline linux kernel, but not by the OS makers, so it’s up to me to get them going.


I have a DokuWiki instance:

I used to store notes on text files on a flash drive, then moved those text files over to Github and Gitlab.

I search my notes if I know I wrote something about it in the past or need to quickly adapt something, but if I don’t find it quickly then I turn to a general search.


Thank you very much for your reply and time!

So regarding my question on how you handle how-to’s, DIY guides, or general solutions you find online, you basically create a note that confirms/lists the steps you took and create your own “solution” note rather than simply saving the webpage.

IF my previous comment was accurate then how do you determine when to take the articles, tutorials, instructions from tab you will close later to a note you write up? Is it based on whether you are just reading/looking at vs actually using the information/instructions?

Would you consider DokuWiki or TIddlyWiki appropriate/acceptable? Or do you mean using plain text files (I assume .md, unless you mean .txt only) with links to other files inside to be used by an editor like Obsidian?

How about we say you are a rebel who likes to live dangerously instead? lol! Thank you again for your time and help!

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Thank you very much! I have a private DokuWiki hosted with my web server and very much enjoyed it. I also very much enjoy TiddlyWiki. Thank you very much for your reply, time and thoughts!

I see. Would it be safe to say that you recreate/rewrite the steps needed to do something instead of downloading/saving a copy (IE: PDF) of the instructions you found online?

Do you ever deal/bother with pictures/images say of a diagram or workflow? Like if you came across a PDF that had a process or workflow you found interesting, how would you record/store it?

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I create the notes because I find information scattered around the web, or some steps don’t work, aren’t necessary anymore, or need an update, or I need to add additional steps, or I need to combine steps from different sources.

Usually I take a note if I am going to find myself using that information very often. For example, the Void Linux chroot install has a useful part about mounting some partitions (dev, proc, sys) in a chroot. Now I have learned that myself, but before, I used to go back to that page often, so I eventually took a note.

Don’t judge based on my opinion. I hate JavaScript, so I am going to stick to static websites. Some wikis, like mediawiki, function without JS, only using php. That may be fine, but in all honesty, a Wiki is just an easy to write website. I would trade ease of use for a lightweight option. So while I would not consider them because I’d rather write things my way, they aren’t to be avoided. That being said, I have never looked into Doku or Tiddly wikis.

Use whatever labels you want on me. The only reason why I’m doing this is because I am used to the distros I like and I have a preference for keeping things consistent in my infrastructures. I don’t like mixing and matching OS very often, unless it’s for a good reason, like security or software being seriously unsupported on other platforms.

I mostly deal with text files, because they are easy to write and edit. For my personal notes, I don’t need bold, italic, big, or other format options, I only do those for articles that are meant to be read by others.


Thanks again for your time, help, and reply! The replies to this thread have helped immensely!

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couple of reasons.
generally the link will still be there if i ever go back to it. especially for things like tech support.

academic articles are often copyrighted and some publishers ain’t scared of using copyright law.
especially if you download there ip and allow paid access or even free access to it.

downloaded pdf’s are a great way to infect your system with malware. especially when they are from 3rd party repos external to reputable (still not trusted) sources.

i did the whole helping in the tech support forums thing for 6 years on toms. got a pretty good rep by the end.
so i would have had good reason to log useful links, and i tried to at the beginning.
turns out i quickly got bogged down trying to remember which bookmark list a link was in.
so about a week in to my 6 years, i gave up. (lol turns out you learned this already)

as for longevity of links. again not really a problem. its very rare to hit a tech question that hasn’t been answered correctly multiple times already on multiple forums. so other routs to an answer likely exist.

so yeah that’s pretty much my reason for not logging and correlating.
in part because im lazy :wink:
but also in part because i found there was little need. despite my initial thoughts it might help.

don’t get me wrong im not a complete luddite :smiley:
occasionally il make a cheat sheet in notepad and stick it in my misc folder.
but even then, its often only a short time before that folders data becomes outdated.

so yeah pretty much everything if i don’t already know it off the top of my head will go into google.
rather than logging links. i found it more efficient to ask google my questions in a way that gave me the result i wanted quickly.

i started with google dorks
moved on to google keywords.
added in the extended functions allowed when using | - [ ] ( ) or and, and.
error number are your friend.
as are esoteric error reports…
all help pair down your focus to get the replies you need when doing tech support :wink:

i know its not the answer you wanted. but its how i deal with my knowledgebase :slight_smile:

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All of it is in basic text files in a folder which Notepad++ defaults to. If it is important enough or I need it for long term, I transfer it by hand to a physical notebook. While a lot of it can get outdated, it will always contain exceptionally useful tidbits I can forward to a new OS. Rewriting or adding onto isn’t a big deal to me as long as I number all my pages and point forward to the updated information.

I’ve thought about using a document management system like dokuwiki, but so far it just hasn’t clicked. I’m thinking of setting one of them up at work as a side project to knowledge dump a run book if I ever leave the company.


Ive found notepad++ works great for me. I really need help as CLI is completely foreign to me and my memory is junk now.

I usually do the “input” and the “sample output” possibly with notes.

I usually devide said doc into sections as I go (such as when I am setting up a server and its VMs or CTs) and each section has its source webpage at the bottom for refrence. Hopefully a manual page or article that explains what I was doing like when I was setting up mail notifications.

This way I can set up my server if need be from the ground up and have everything I need in one place and can update commands and sources as needed like with never drivers versions or formats of commands that may have changed.

Then can always use my cntl+f to find anything in the doc I am wondering about and its right there.

I have diffrent docs for diffrent machines and OS’s and keep them centalized on a file server all my pcs have access to.

It can be a long process but is very worth it when i have to go back and fix an issue maybe with a single peice of software or a process.


Maybe something that can help consolidate/integrate hard copies/printed documents with your system - paperless-ngx. I use it with my TrueNAS right now and it is helpful in keeping important documents, bills and receipts. Papermerge is also an alternative to that.

I put my thoughts in Standard Notes but I havent had the habit to continuously do it. It can do rich text so I can embed images on my notes but I’m liking the way markdown presents itself.

I should use something like a local wiki for something self hosted.

Thank you all for reply and offering your time and help! I have come to a conclusion/process for “Knowledge Management” and have posted the details in the post linked below. Thank you again!