Rhizom is a personal information management system, archive and smartphone app. Inspired by the famous Zettelkasten of German sociologist and systems theorist Niklas Luhmann, Rhizom can record, retrieve, edit, tag, link and annotate digital information in the form of text notes, images, videos and audio recordings. Rhizom is designed to be easily accessible, but versatile and powerful enough to cater to a vast range of user needs – from personal journaling to field research.
Managing all the bits and pieces of information that are relevant for our work and our private lives is a lot harder than it should be. Computers may have made it easier to access, process and store large quantities of information, but they also further information fragmentation. Personal information in the digital age doesn’t exist in a single, unified space; it is scattered across computers, smartphones, tablets, file systems, storage devices and online services. Information fragmentation forces us to remember not only that we have a certain piece of information, but also where we stored it.
A unified, well-managed information archive not only makes it easier to find what we need in any given moment, it also enables us to discover the knowledge hidden beneath its surface. This knowledge doesn’t exist inside isolated information entities, but between them – in an associative network or rhizome. As the archive grows over time and becomes more and more heterogenous, the chance for spontaneous associations increases. A long-forgotten photo of an artwork can set in motion a train of thought that produces an innovative solution to a current problem; an excerpt written months ago turns out to be the missing piece of a difficult essay. Rhizom is designed to solve the problem of information fragmentation by offering a unified archive for everything its users deem relevant and to promote associative thinking and serendipitous discoveries.
Rhizom is the result of my long and frustrating search for an ideal personal information management tool. Until now, none of the countless tools and applications I tried fit my needs, so I decided to design my own solution:
- Rhizom is neither too simplistic nor too complex. It is easy to use, but offers advanced features for more complex usage scenarios.
- Rhizom is designed with mobile use in mind, enabling its users to record and access information wherever they are.
- Rhizom supports linking, annotating and shuffling information entities. This promotes associative thinking and serendipitous discoveries.
- Rhizom supports all media formats. It is able to record and store text notes, images, videos and audio recordings and supports links and annotations for all media formats.
- Rhizom supports different types of metadata, such as titles, categories and tags, timestamps and geocodes.
- Rhizom offers advanced content filters and sorting methods. Information entities can be placed in collections called stacks – either manually or dynamically, based on content filters and metadata.
- Rhizom offers a map view which shows where information entities were created.
- Rhizom offers a review mode which enables its users to quickly modify information entities created within a certain timeframe.