We all make a lot of notes as information flows past us during the course of a day. I like to make paper-based notes in my book, and then will post some of the more organised ones on the blog. But there are definitely ways this can be improved – it is especially hard for me to search the older notes.
Scott Love of AquaMinds talks about his company’s tool NoteTaker, which seems to be just like what I should be using:
NoteTaker is a tool for organizing your personal notes, lists, information, clippings, file/document links and any other related information all in one place. From this standpoint, it’s unique in that the user decides how best to group, categorize and re-organize information, not the software. The key user metaphor is the visual notebook with tabs. Although this is not a new approach, the idea that you can decide how to divide up your pages into various sections using tab sections is a familiar one. NoteTaker is much like paper filing systems in that you just start adding notes and information as you like without worrying about how to do it. Specifically, NoteTaker is indexing the content behind the scenes so you can retrieve it later.
For me personally, I love to think and organize in an outline format. But realistically, I need to work with more than merely text; I have information access needs as well. For example, in running AquaMinds, I tend to leverage as much as possible using Web-based services. I have a notebook I use daily that contains clickable links to various company Web sites and their services that I use. Along with these Web links, I have relevant information about the service or company (much like a personal database system), and I keep a journal along with any passwords or user names to access these accounts. It just seems natural to work from one place without always having to jump back to the Finder to locate a file just to open Excel or to access a bookmark from inside a browser. Additionally, I have several documents attached inside this same notebook that I use for standard business transactions. So again, I find it first in my notebook before I go hunting for it from within the source application (in this case, a word processor).