PMLogo Triage Incoming Data
By: John Hollingsworth


Everybody Does Research

Professionals in many industries expend a lot of effort researching issues and analyzing data they have obtained.

The internet makes it possible for anyone to research any issue and collect up the information they find.

This fire hose of incoming data can be so overwhelming that people are usually limited by their ability to organize and store data as they find and create it.

Traditional hierarchical storage systems are very badly suited for storing the type of random information you find when searching through on-line or off-line data.

Both professional and consumer email, bookmark, note and file management systems have never been designed to store, organize, find and display the volumes and complexity of unstructured information now available to anyone.


Triage Data Into Patterns

If you triage data in real time as it comes in, you can acquire much larger amounts of data and not risk missing something important to your research.

A small piece of information may seem to be related to your research but you may not yet see how it fits into a larger pattern.

Data triage requires the ability to:

Objects Change Complexity as You Do Research

When you identify something new, you should be able to just use that incoming note, bookmark, email or file as an anchor to represent a new concept.

Say for example you never heard of Thermodynamics and you saw the word online, you could just create a note named Thermodynamics and associate it to a list of interesting words you found. You could just as well have come across a website, email or file about Thermodynamics and use that to create an Object to anchor the new issue.

This triage approach gets the concept into your database quickly and lets you associate it to whatever made you interested in this new idea you just heard of, before you forget why you were interested in it.

If you have no further interest in the issue, it would remain as a simple Object in that form until you need it or eventually delete it. However, you likely collected the data because it interested you and can become a seed of an idea that grows in your database.

A simple note Object can grow in complexity as you learn more about an issue:
Every new piece of interesting information you add to a pattern may:

Your Pattern Database Becomes Your Personal Search Engine

Once you have grown your personal research pattern database for a while, it will become a better place to start new research that just wandering the internet or local library.

As you use your database each day to lookup information, you should create indexes to find common information more quickly. You eventually can jump to the index for a group of related issues faster than searching the entire database.

If you come across a new word or idea that does not exist in your personal research pattern database, you immediately know it is truly new to you.

If new data does exist in your database, you must decide if growing your saved patterns about the issue are really needed. Does the new data tell you anything more about the data pattern than you already know?

You may need to backfill your personal database with things you know so that it accurately reflects your full knowledge.

After maintaining a personal pattern database for many years, you will have no memory of most of the notes, bookmarks, emails, files, collectors and views you have created.

You are effectively searching the knowledge of the person you once were.


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