Which Mac notes application do I need?
May 7, 2007 11:28 AM   Subscribe

There are tons of Mac notes applications out there, but I've yet to find the right one for managing the notes for my book. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?

I want to create thousands of very small text files (small as in 4 sentences or less). I want to be able to tag each file/note with one or more of about 200 tags or keywords. Then I want to be able to search on the tags (NOT just the text in the notes). The ability to search on two tags at once (Boolean AND-style search) is essential. Searchlight-style searching is not adequate. Something that displays all this nicely would be good, and preferably not too high of a price tag or learning curve. Because I have to create so many notes, easy, automated entry of the metadata is important, too.

I've already looked at and eliminated the following: Voodoo Pad, Xpad, Notational Velocity, DevonThink & DevonNotes, KIT, Mori, Yojimbo, Circus Ponies Notebook, Journlr, myNotes, Tinderbox. Most of these don't work because they don't support tags or metadata sufficiently and the workarounds are laborious and ineffective.

The most likely candidates are Notae, which would be perfect if it didn't appear to be unstable (when using a large number of notes) and poorly supported, and Eaglefiler. But my difficulty finding an application better tailored to this use makes me think I'm looking at the wrong category entirely. I don't need a "junk drawer" note-taker, but a research-manipulator. Any suggestions?
posted by Lauram to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Scrivener is supposed to be incredible. Here's a review from Ars Technica.
posted by AaRdVarK at 11:40 AM on May 7, 2007

How about Scrivener or Soho Notes?
posted by jeffxl at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2007

You might take another look at Mori; the latest version (out a few weeks ago) adds pretty good tag support. I just tested Boolean searching of tags, and it worked perfectly.
posted by raf at 11:55 AM on May 7, 2007

I'm not sure that plain-text files are really what you want -- it sounds more like you need some sort of database. Depending on how much time/effort you want to put into this, you could probably create a FileMakerPro database in a few afternoons that would accomplish everything that you want. You'd probably need two tables at least to do what you're talking about, one for the text clippings themselves and an ID number, and then another table with the ID of the clipping, and a tag. Set up this way, you could have as many tags assigned to a clipping as you wanted, and it would be pretty trivial to query the "tag" table for all the clippings that have a certain combination of tags. FMP allows you to not only have text fields, but also to embed other types of files into the database if you want.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:18 PM on May 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, you want scrivener. Keywords, tagging, references, searching.
posted by filmgeek at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2007

I use Scrivener, it's amazing. And pretty cheap. And exports everything to raw text files when you want it.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:04 PM on May 7, 2007

Oh, man, there IS a a program almost exactly like what ou're describing, and I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. If I find it again in my travels, I will e-mail you.
posted by crayolarabbit at 6:01 PM on May 7, 2007

I like Journler for Macs...and its free
posted by DudeAsInCool at 9:05 PM on May 7, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, I use Scrivener to write with, but it's not really designed for such a high volume of small notes. It *is* fabulous as a writing environment, though.

I'm hoping to avoid going to a database -- groan -- so I'll try out the new Mori. Sounds promising.
posted by Lauram at 6:33 AM on May 8, 2007

crayola: or maybe you could post it here!!!!!
posted by ookamaka at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2007

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