Help me organize all these factoids!
November 4, 2005 12:06 PM   Subscribe

I need a good way to organize - or, barring that, sift through - the many small but important factoids that I encounter on a daily basis.

In my job, I frequently come across many small, unrelated and useful pieces of information. One example might be, "Company Y expects worldwide shipments of widget X to fall by Z per cent next year." Another might be completely unrelated, such as "Such and such business A is thought to be interested in buying a stake in company B."

I usually don't use this information right away, but I like to keep it because it often comes in handy at a later time. Right now, my MO is to make a note on a piece of paper, and promptly lose it in the shuffle of paperwork on my desk. This frequently leads to frantic searching for said factoid, and much unwanted stress.

What I'm looking for is a piece of software or other service that will allow me to enter these factoids as I find them, then save them and search for them whenever I need them. That way, instead of rifling through my desk to find out about company Y's expecations for the Z market next year, I could just type "Company Y" and "Z widget" into a search field and boom, there it is.

Does anyone know of a service out there that does this?
posted by nyterrant to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Email to self using Gmail? Gives you an excellent search engine.

Save the notes in text files on your HD and then install a Desktop Search like Copernic? Searches inside files very nicely.

Use an online organizer app like Backpack?
posted by selfnoise at 12:14 PM on November 4, 2005

posted by fire&wings at 12:19 PM on November 4, 2005

I like Evernote.
posted by melvix at 12:25 PM on November 4, 2005

Combine one of the above with the oft-discussed Hipster PDA for an even better, more portable solution. Take notes as needed, binder clip 'em, then "dock" at the end of the day with your favorite notetaker.
posted by SuperNova at 12:32 PM on November 4, 2005

Second the Hipster PDA.
posted by deafweatherman at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2005

I second the Evernote rec. Combined with the Firefix plugin.
posted by Sagres at 12:42 PM on November 4, 2005

I keep a page at QuickTopic for just this kind of thing.

A small wiki at pbWiki can accomplish the same thing in a non-chronological fashion.
posted by megatherium at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2005

I've used Onfolio for that sort of thing.
posted by Good Brain at 2:08 PM on November 4, 2005

a simple text file with one factoid per line would work. to search, open the file in notepad and search for "company x"

in windows Notepad use Ctrl-F and then F3 to jump to each instance
posted by jacobsee at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2005

Second Backpack.
posted by aebaxter at 3:06 PM on November 4, 2005

Possibly going to be addressed by Google Base.

And when are they going to do a decent calendar, already?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:17 PM on November 4, 2005

I use KeyNote. It has a good search feature and you can encrypt your data using Blowfish. Best of all, it is FREE!
posted by wannalol at 3:32 PM on November 4, 2005

A personal wiki would be perfect for this - host your own with something like pmwiki or use one stored on your hard drive like TiddlyWiki. If you chose one with tagging as well as search it will make tracking down information much easier.

See my recent thread on alternatives to Backpack.
posted by blag at 3:45 PM on November 4, 2005

Notational Velocity is what you want. All else pales and flees before its might. Accept NV and nothing else. Buy the platform to run it on if you must. I am not kidding. NV is possibly the most important software written in the last 5 years.

It's basically Tornado Notes but, you know, not an ancient MSDOS TSR. And free.
posted by majick at 6:26 PM on November 4, 2005

if you're on a mac, i just found this little program.

posted by hummercash at 8:20 AM on November 5, 2005

I second blag--I use TiddlyWiki for exactly this purpose, and it works very well.
posted by frykitty at 7:39 PM on November 6, 2005

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