Personal information manager
A personal information manager (often referred to as a PIM tool or, more simply, a PIM) is a type of application software that functions as a personal organizer. The acronym PIM is now, more commonly, used in reference to personal information management as a field of study. As an information management tool, a PIM tool's purpose is to facilitate the recording, tracking, and management of certain types of "personal information".
Personal information can include any of the following:
- Address books
- Calendar dates, e.g.:
- Education records
- Email addresses
- Fax communications
- Instant message archives
- Legal documents
- Lists (such as reading lists, task lists)
- Medical information, such as healthcare provider contact information, medical history, prescriptions
- Passwords and login credentials
- Personal file collections (digital and physical): documents, music, photos, videos and similar
- Personal diary/journal/memos/notes
- Project management features
- Reference materials (including scientific references, websites of interest)
- RSS/Atom feeds
- Voicemail communications
Some PIM/PDM software products are capable of synchronizing data over a computer network, including mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs. This feature typically stores the personal data on cloud drives allowing for continuous concurrent data updates/access, on the user's computers, including desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile devices, such a personal digital assistants or smartphones.)
Prior to the introduction of the term "Personal digital assistant" ("PDA") by Apple in 1992, handheld personal organizers such as the Psion Organiser and the Sharp Wizard were also referred to as "PIMs".
The time management and communications functions of PIMs largely migrated from PDAs to smartphones, with Apple, RIM (Research In Motion, now BlackBerry), and others all manufacturing smartphones that offer most if not all of the functions of earlier PDAs. The convergence of many communications technologies, including email, news and journalism, radio transmission, telephone, and social media, in a compact, ubiquitous device, along with the ability of these devices to create, transmit and publish photos, text, video, and voice almost instantaneously, is a development that many social commentators expect will revolutionize the way humans interact with each other, and with government and the media.
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