|Topics and fields|
A personal knowledge base (PKB) is an electronic tool used to express, capture, and later retrieve the personal knowledge of an individual. It differs from a traditional database in that it contains subjective material particular to the owner, that others may not agree with nor care about. Importantly, a PKB consists primarily of knowledge, rather than information; in other words, it is not a collection of documents or other sources an individual has encountered, but rather an expression of the distilled knowledge the owner has extracted from those sources or from elsewhere.
The term personal knowledge base was mentioned as early as the 1980s, but the term came to prominence in the 2000s when it was described at length in publications by computer scientist Stephen Davies and colleagues, who compared PKBs on a number of different dimensions, the most important of which is the data model that each PKB uses to organize knowledge.: 18 
Davies and colleagues examined three aspects of the data models of PKBs:: 19–36
Davies and colleagues also emphasized the principle of transclusion, "the ability to view the same knowledge element (not a copy) in multiple contexts", which they considered to be "pivotal" to an ideal PKB. They concluded, after reviewing many design goals, that the ideal PKB was still to come in the future.
In their publications on PKBs, Davies and colleagues discussed knowledge graphs as they were implemented in some software of the time. Later, other writers used the term personal knowledge graph (PKG) to refer to a PKB featuring a graph structure and graph visualization. However, the term personal knowledge graph is also used by software engineers to refer to the different subject of a knowledge graph about a person, in contrast to a knowledge graph created by a person in a PKB.
Davies and colleagues also differentiated PKBs according to their software architecture: file-based, database-based, or client–server systems (including Internet-based systems accessed through desktop computers and/or handheld mobile devices).: 37–41
Non-electronic personal knowledge bases have probably existed in some form for centuries: Leonardo da Vinci's journals and notes are a famous example of the use of notebooks. Commonplace books, florilegia, annotated private libraries, and card files (in German, Zettelkästen) of index cards and edge-notched cards are examples of formats that have served this function in the pre-electronic age.
Undoubtedly the most famous early formulation of an electronic PKB was Vannevar Bush's description of the "memex" in 1945. In a 1962 technical report, human–computer interaction pioneer Douglas Engelbart (who would later become famous for his 1968 "Mother of All Demos" that demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing) described his use of edge-notched cards to partially model Bush's memex.
In their 2005 paper, Davies and colleagues mentioned the following, among others, as examples of software applications that had been used to build PKBs using various data models and architectures:
What does 'personal' in PKG mean? It could be taken to mean (objective) facts about the user (I ate lunch at restaurant X on date Y. I like fish.), subjective beliefs of the user ([I believe that] Pineapple pizza is just wrong. The Earth is flat.), or objective facts that are of particular interest to the user (Pineapple pizza is also often called Hawaiian Pizza).
I have a memory annex which serves my purposes. It uses edge-notched cards.