The existing personal knowledge management tools are insufficient to help us process information, especially during web-based research. 

The tree structure and unique file path inherited from analog metaphors encourage collection, not connection, of ideas.

They make it harder to reuse and cross-reference ideas, and easier to hoard information.

Can building associations be more intuitive?

I believe that a natural city has the organisation of a semilattice; but that when we organise a city artificially, we organise it as a tree.  –– Christopher Alexander
In Notion, page links are treated as an independent block. There is much less friction when connecting pages in Roam Research with its inline syntax support.

Text organized in linear reading order accomodates high-bandwidth documentation.

But the production of knowledge is an evolving process of discovery, experimentation, and iteration, in which multiple mentalities of thinking are involved.

Is playfulness possible?

Product designers think about ideas by sketching them out on sticky notes. Writers, like Jo in Little Women, think about story lines by laying out and moving sections around.

We constantly associate new information encountered with the knowledge in our mind, yet the browsing context has been kept separated from the thinking space context.

Can web discovery be an organic extension of the existing knowledge base?

Solutions like Evernote Web Clipper focuses on importing, instead of expanding from a known idea. The webpage import in LiquidText makes a new thought easier to be researched, but the experience is temporary and mechanical.

Semilattice is a collection of system and interaction concepts for personal knowledge management tools.

Fluid Content Structure

A block is the basic element.

Blocks attach to each other and form a list.

A card consists of multiple lists of blocks and hand drawings.

Networked Relationship

A card could have multiple parents and children. Locations are represented in familiar nested structure, but become relational and flexible.

Mise en place

A designated space is within reach for quick access. See the recently opened cards and their connections.

Fast, Modeless Input

A modeless input environment lets thoughts flow with minimal distraction.

Double tap anywhere to create a block.
Tap the bracket button once to create and name a new card, or enter the new card immediately.
Type to search across cards or create a card of web search results.
Draw directly on the card. Draw while holding one finger to erase.


Reference ideas with context by default. 

Drag from the quote button to create a reference block that includes the back link.

Web is Local

Web links become retraceable local archives and stay accessible as a part of knowledge base. 

Place a web link as the card name to create a webpage card. 
A webpage snapshot is saved locally and could be updated when there are any new changes. 

Expand knowledge from well-sourced, web-based research. 

Long press and paint over webpage to select the area as image. Release and drag again to reference the area.

The provocations were created with the hope to spark conversations about how our tools could be reimagined. They were inspired by creations of many others in the community.

Phase 2 by Xylo-Ziko
Aosheng Ran, 20200508
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