[This is #1 in a series of essays about managing informal knowledge ("lore").]
What is lore? Lore is what we know, but we don't know that we know it yet. This is an oversimplification, as we usually learn lore from others, and there are degrees of not knowing what we know.
A more precise (if not more accurate) definition of lore is that lore is informal knowledge, often passed on through informal channels. Lore is not seen in whitepapers and manuals lore is heard in hallway conversations and passed along through archived USENET posts. Lore is a hidden grease that helps the wheels of technology spin smoothly. Unfortunately, not everything you need to know has been neatly codified and indexed some information is found only through word of mouth, obscure FTP textfiles, and other such unofficial means.
Personal knowledgebases are a way to get your arms around lore. By "personal" I don't necessarily mean limited to one individual (although those are useful), but rather knowledgebases that don't require a 6000-seat Lotus Notes installation before any lore can be captured; more like a wiki and blog publishing software installed on an old, abandoned whitebox server. One software system for building personal knowledgebases is Kwiki, which can be easily built into a powerful personal knowledgebase platform.
In the next installment, I'll talk about the levels of lore (as I see them).