« on: April 27, 2006, 12:53 AM »
I find this thread very interesting. I have been looking for the ultimate note taker for years and am not satisfied with my current choice (one note). Someone talked earlier about Memorymate (a DOS program) and this is still my reference today (although I can't use it any longer because of the format restrictions).
For me the most important criteria of a note taking software should be ease of use and automatisms. This excludes all tree-based softwares: building a tree is a waste of time and is irrelevant to the way the information is actually structured in my head and the way I am searching for it. As the information grows, the tree is anyway irrelevant. OneNote functions with a kind of tree structure but at least you can mostly ignore it since the name of each article is inserted automatically.
Tagging should be the way to go but not through formal tagging: defining and typing in tags for each note is a waste of time. Each word in the article should be a tag. The key should be to have a search functions which allows the refine or broaden a search on all words in the database. A very good example of this kind of search (but unfortunately badly implemented on other aspects and no longer supported it seems) is exalead, an internet or desktop search engine (I use it to search my local files, as an internet search it is useless). The search function should also allow to locate articles quickly from the date of their creation (Memorymate had a wonderful and easy way to do this with a search in the form of c<010106 where c means the date of creation).
The ability to view articles within a calendar would also be helpful (or a timeline like picasa 2). Templates should be optional and freely modifiable for any article.
Another important factor is unicode compatibility and the ability to import web pages and graphic formats. I work in a multinational environment and unicode compatibility is a necessity and the main reason why I use OneNote.
I like the concept of Asksam very much but it is not unicode compatible. The same with Keynote (as far as I remember). The concept of Evernote is interesting but unicode compatibility is limited (web pages in another language, I use Japanese, cannot be imported properly). Mybase and Surfulater are tree-based as far as I could understand and for me uninteresting (it seems that you could ignore the tree in surfulater and just build everything in the same page but this is not very elegant; in addition surfulater does not seem to handle well copies from the clipboard which are not in English).
I tested Zoot a long time ago but it was not unicode compatible and the learning curve was too steep (but the concept very interesting). Infoselect and Inforecall are just tree-based programs, like treepad and many, many others.