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General brainstorming for Note-taking software

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And, rjbull, as far as fully indexed searching, well...YES!  Why?  Because fully indexed searching will allow the program to have the search-as-you-type filter -superboyac (March 08, 2006, 09:47 AM)
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It's the key to FAST and PRECISE text retrieval, including Boolean searches.  It should help with things like proximity searches too, e.g. ACRYL?(2N)BEAD? = find the stem "acryl" (acrylic, acrylate, acrylated etc.) within two words of the stem "bead."

I don't understand what Dialog does...I'm on their page right now.
-superboyac (March 08, 2006, 09:58 AM)
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Dialog is a large collection of large databases, mostly of peer-reviewed journals and the like.  It includes, for example, about 16 databases on patents alone; plus equivalent and generally large classes of journal databases on chemistry, pharmaceuticals, financial, business intelligence, marketing, general news, agriculture, products, brands and trademarks, aerospace, and I could go on.  For quality of information, it knocks the Internet into a cocked hat, but depending on what you want it can be very expensive.  The company I work for spends about $7,000 per year on Dialog, the great majority of it on patent searches.

One of the good things about Dialog  is a command language that gives you precise searching.  You can build up the search bit by bit, e.g. something like this:

s1  (toner? or developer?)
s2  (acrylic or acrylated or acrylate)(2n)bead?
s3  s1 and s2     #  combine first two searches
s4  s3/eng         # limit to English language only

So that's where I'm coming from, and perhaps you can see why I'm interested in powerful database systems rather than hierarchical trees.  There are few such systems available at low cost.  The only one I can think of is the DOS program Inmagic, which was declared freeware when Inmagic Corp. launched their Windows version, DB/TextWorks.  And if you have to ask the price of that, you can't afford it...

Inmagic links:
Third-party view of Inmagic  for DOS
Inmagic Corp. DB/TextWorks

Hey guys,

I work at EverNote Corp, and have been fascinated by all the great comments on this thread. It's wonderful to be able to read about the things that serious users like and dislike about note-taking programs, including specifics about individual programs that you've looked at personally.

That said, I was a little disappointed to see that EverNote didn't get more coverage and enthusiasm. I'm guessing it's because EverNote was described as having "a unique, quirky navigation style" and -- more to the point -- it only allows you to see your notes in chronological order.

While it's true (today, at least) that notes are ordered chronologically, I thought I should point out the main strengths of EverNote with the invitation that you might want to give it another look.

CAPTURE: EverNote makes it really easy to capture content from anywhere. In the top Tool Bar of web browsers like IE and Firefox, you get a Web Clipper button that with one click sends the current webpage or selected content to a new EverNote note behind the scenes. (In just a few weeks we are adding a Clipper button for Outlook as well.) What's more, you can turn on options to call up EverNote from anywhere with Ctrl+Alt+N, or to send the currently pasted content in the Clipboard to EverNote from anywhere with Ctrl+Alt+V. You can also easily drag-n-drop content or file names directly from the File Explorer to EverNote.

ORGANIZE: In addition to organizing your notes chronologically in one long scrollable tape (so you don't have to open notes one-at-a-time to see what you want), EverNote offers Auto Categories that can automatically categorize notes for you in various ways: by Date (created before or after a specified date), by Content Type (Web clip, Outlook clip, Word clip, etc.), by Content Format (plain text, HTML text, template, digital ink, rich text), by Included Elements (graphic images, photos, encryption, file links, voice notes, video, To Do state, previous versions), by Category State (uncategorized, deleted, history notes, To Do Open, To Do Closed), or -- most importantly -- by whether or not a note contains specific keywords.

Of course, you can also create as many Manual Categories as you like, and assign as many of them (like tags) to a single note as you like, just by dragging the category name(s) to the note. Furthermore, Categories act as both tags and tree structure, since you can have as many levels of subcategories as you like. You can also have duplicate category names in several locations as well as shortcut categories that contain the same notes as the original, and intersection of categories to find all notes that have been assigned one category AND another.

FIND: EverNote makes it really easy to find your notes later, in any combination of the 5 following ways:

* By Auto Category
* By Manual Category
* By Look (scrolling the tape with our special Accelerator Scrollbar)
* By Date (a single click anywhere in the Time Band)
* ...and most importantly, by Keyword SmartSearch, which filters your tape to display found notes literally as fast as you can type.

In other words, EverNote is really a quite simple but powerful program that – once you appreciate the basic idea behind it – is really an easier and more efficient product for keeping your notes.

I know this probably sounds like marketing-speak, but it's really not my intention. I just hope that you'll give EverNote another (or first!) look and post to the forum what you think. Also, you might want to see what Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says about EverNote at

welcome to the site mike!
thoughtfull developer comments like this are always welcome here.

ps. if evernote is interested in offering a discount to members here and donating a few copied for us to give away, don't hesitate to email me ([email protected]).

EverMike, thanks for adding to our discussion!  By the way, that would probably be me that made the comments you mention about Evernote.  Don't get me wrong, I think that Evernote, like Surfulater, is an extremely interesting addition to the notetaking category.  My criticism, like the comments I made about Surfulater, are more of just me thinking out loud and brainstorming about how I would like this genre to progress in the future.  I truly mean it in the most constructive manner.

Now that I have the qualifications out of the way...

Evernote, of all the notetaking software I've tried recently, was the one software that made me perk up and say, "Wow, that's really cool!  I never would have thought to do it that way."  Honestly, I think the program has A LOT of potential, and I also believe that it is still in it's primitive stages as far as a highly practical and robust notetaking software.  About the chronological order thing, if you read my original post more closely, I already mentioned that notes can be automatically categorized and manually, also.  What I meant was that even AFTER the notes were categorized, the notes can only be shown chronologically STILL.  I mention this because after using Evernote for a while and amassing a large number of notes, I found that even once the views were reduced to specific category views, I felt that I'd still like to have some manual control as to how to order the notes.  Whether it is alphabetically (with some sort of title text), or just a totally manual placement of notes.  That is really what I meant from my comments.

Also, as far as auto-assigning of categories, the variety of methods to do this is (in my opinion) pretty limited.  I will look into it more, but I'm sure some people here who are more familiar with tags and labeling methods will have better suggestions on what kind of features they would want in something that is automitically assigned.  I can't remember what I tried doing a while back that I felt limited by...if I remember I will post it here.

All in all, Evernote is one of the very few notetaking softwares that I am holding my breath for.  I use it on a Daily basis, but in a limited manner, because of the chronological thing.  I use another software for my main collection of information, but I still use Evernote as kind of my virtual post it...when I don't want to think of how to organize information or just write something down on the run, or to capture a quick web thing, I use Evernote, because I know that I can quickly retrieve it with the best-in-class search feature.  Here's what I would like Evernote to do in the future:

--Have more control over organization of notes displayed.  I understand this can be a complicated problem because unlike typical tree-heirarchy notes, where it's easy to move things up and down, in Evernote, categories and labels are used, so notes can appear in multiple places, so defining a "solid" position for a note is difficult.  Personally, I have no idea what the solution is, I'd just like to see it happen!

--In the tree on the left where the categories are, I'd like to be able to show some kind of title text for each note so I can see which notes are included in that category.  Right now, notes have no titles, it's just the content of the note.  Sometimes, when there are a lot of notes in the category, you're not sure where exactly that note is, or even if it's in that category, and if the notes themselves are large notes, you have to scroll around forever to find it.  (I know the search can quickly filter the notes down, but sometimes you're not even sure what to search for!)

--There's something weird about attaching pictures to the notes and trying to resize them.  Usually they are too big, and resizing them was really difficult.  It should be a matter os simply grabbing a corner of the picture and dragging.  Now, you have to go into fullscreen mode, and do some fairly non-intuitive dragging around the border or something.

For those of you that haven't tried Evernote...try it.  It is truly unique and may be exactly what you are looking for.  By the way, Evermike, Evernote rocks!


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