Software for General Archive

jc
jctracey
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Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:19 pm Post

I have over the past month or two moved into Scrivener fully as my primary writing "environment". I have a Scrivener file for the novel I'm working on, and then another filled with jottings, exercises, lines and phrases that may or may not become something.

I also keep a lot of files in Notebook 3 from Circus Ponies--some clips I love from many different writers, lots of advice on writing and just writing about writing, generally divided into author pages -- John Gardner has one, W.G. Sebald has one. And so on.

I feel like I've been looking for a place to store all this for a couple of years. I like Notebook, but I don't use it as much as I might because I don't find it fast to move around in. And now I just have an enormous notebook with 50 pages; It's not an environment for browsing.

I don't think Scrivener is right for this kind of storage, obviously, since it's absolutely a writing tool.

Does anyone have other suggestions for this sort of thing? I've tried Yojimbo, DevonThink, SOHO Notes, Evernote (can't stand the interface), and obviously Circus Ponies Notebook.

Pl
Plette
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Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:03 pm Post

You could try VoodooPad, which is personal wiki software. I use it for collecting tidbits of information on assorted topics. I make heavy use of backlinks and other useful features and it suits my purposes very well.

http://flyingmeat.com/voodoopad/

The other thing I can think of that's vaguely in the same realm is Curio. I've never used it myself, though. http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/

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AmberV
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Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:13 pm Post

VoodooPad is a great suggestion for this type of organising. You could also check out Together and EagleFiler, which are more oriented toward file collection than note collection, but both have ways of making new text files within their archives and easily tagging and organising them. You could also try something very simple and elegant, like Notational Velocity.

And you *could* try Scrivener, too. While it is absolutely a writing program, there are a lot of people here who use it more as a "notebook" than a book generator. I certainly use it for more than just authoring texts. It has most of the things that you need for that kind of application: cross-links; keywording; clipping; multimedia support; and some things that none other have, like: viewing/editing multiple notes at once; keeping short notes on index cards; extensive exporting (which means if it doesn't work out for you as a notebook, it's easy to get the stuff out and into another system); and 2.0 will be even more friendly in that regard. So I wouldn't rule it out just because it's a great writing program. :)
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dr
druid
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:14 am Post

DevonThink Pro. First, last, always.

http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/

Ve
Vermonter17032
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:54 am Post

I sympathize with your situation. Finding the right application to keep all of that "extra" information can be challenging. Each offers something attractive, but none of them pulls it all together, it seems.

Without knowing what it is about DevonThink and Yojimbo that you did not like, I will take a stab in the dark with a couple of recommendations to consider:

1. Go simpler. Try MacJournal. It is a really fine application. You can organize your clips into subject notebooks, tag each clip with the author's name, and keep saved searches of each author across the different notebooks. MJ is a nice writing environment, too. It's where I write shorter works that don't benefit from Scrivener's "building blocks" approach.

2. Go more complex. Try PersonalBrain. This is a Java application that will feel a little different than any other Mac app you're used to -- that may be off-putting. But it is a very powerful way to collect and organize information. It's like a mind map, but with so many additional ways to link your information than through simple hierarchy. You can use tags and types to add a further layer of organization. I won't go on here about it, but there are extensive video tutorial's you can view to get a better idea of what PersonalBrain can do.

MacJournal: http://www.marinersoftware.com/products/macjournal/

PersonalBrain: http://www.thebrain.com/products/personalbrain/

Ty
TylerGred
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:20 pm Post

Tinderbox is my application of choice.

jc
jctracey
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:24 pm Post

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful emails. These are all great software programs -- I have to admit I've tried DevonThinkPro and found it, like OmniFocus, a bit overwhelming. I spent a few days getting my tasks and projects into OmniFocus and then sat down on the fourth night with a glass of wine and sighed at the complexity of it. Not because I didn't understand it, but because I felt like I was being forced to think in the manner dictated by the software, if that makes sense. Same thing for Devon -- it looks very potent, but I don't really need that much horsepower. I noticed that when you drag things in Yojimbo to smart folders, it assigns the tag associated with the folder to it, and at least in my brief experiments with DT, it didn't seem to do that. I'm sure it's marvelous software, I can see the power of it, no question. I already use Yojimbo for recipes, manuals, articles from the web, etc.

I think what I am wishing I had was an online reading experience akin to what iBooks is like on the iPad -- text that you can flip through, for browsing, and yes search. This probably sounds reductive but that I think is the point -- It's almost a homemade book on writing comprising advice from many different sources. But I'm not looking for indexing or links or any of that. Part of me thinks I should just build an "ebook" in Pages.

I'm probably driving everyone nuts ... I will go sit by my bowl now and regret my behavior ...

Ve
Vermonter17032
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:32 pm Post

TylerGred wrote:Tinderbox is my application of choice.


I like Tinderbox a lot, and use it for specific project by project tasks. I haven't yet gotten comfortable thinking of it as my information archive, the place to keep all my random notes, mostly because I have two issues:

1. Do you put everything in one file or do you split it up into multiple files?

2. I still feel a bit tenuous about my ability to extract the information I want in useable form for other applications.

Anyway, I am wondering if you can discuss a little how you use Tinderbox, and how you meet these challenges. Thanks!

Steve

Ve
Vermonter17032
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:50 pm Post

TylerGred wrote:Tinderbox is my application of choice.


I like Tinderbox a lot, and use it for specific project by project tasks. I haven't yet gotten comfortable thinking of it as my information archive, the place to keep all my random notes, mostly because I have two issues:

1. Do you put everything in one file or do you split it up into multiple files?

2. I still feel a bit tenuous about my ability to extract the information I want in useable form for other applications.

Anyway, I am wondering if you can discuss a little how you use Tinderbox, and how you meet these challenges. Thanks!

Steve

Ty
TylerGred
Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:17 am

Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:25 pm Post

Vermonter17032 wrote:
TylerGred wrote:Tinderbox is my application of choice.


I like Tinderbox a lot, and use it for specific project by project tasks. I haven't yet gotten comfortable thinking of it as my information archive, the place to keep all my random notes, mostly because I have two issues:

1. Do you put everything in one file or do you split it up into multiple files?

2. I still feel a bit tenuous about my ability to extract the information I want in useable form for other applications.

Anyway, I am wondering if you can discuss a little how you use Tinderbox, and how you meet these challenges. Thanks!

Steve


I misread the question. I use DevonThink Pro for more of an information dump. I use Tinderbox for more of a general notes dump pertaining to projects I'm working on and export everything to Scrivener once I feel ready, if that moment ever strikes...

Sorry for the misunderstanding...

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Qlibet
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:34 pm Post

I use SlipBox (free) for my research notes. A file for each project. To archive material from various projects in one place, DEVONthink. To archive material from the Web, Evernote.

Kh
Khadrelt
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Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:27 pm Post

I have never been able to find a file organization program that suits me. I've tried them all, but there's always something uncomfortable about them, and I inevitably go back to using Scrivener for notes and the Finder for documents.
And that, my Liege, is how we know the earth to be banana-shaped.