View Full Version : Data Management?

09-16-2008, 09:14 PM
OK, so I need a program that will organize all my research, all the little tidbits I've picked up, story ideas, quotes, snippets of overheard dialogue etc... into some coherent, tagable, searchable system on my PC. I have these bits separated in folders, but they're not very searchable right now. I've downloaded a demo of OneNote, but it doesn't seem to be what I'm looking for. It seems more for note-taking than disparate organization... but I've only played around with it for a few minutes, so there could be hidden features I don't know about. I could tag individual file names and search them using window's search function, but I really want to be able to see the list of items tagged and view one or two open items in the same program. Is this too much to ask? It seems like it would be a common and useful program, but I've looked on download.com, googled to no avail.


So any suggestions? What do you use to organize your research? I know we've recently had several threads on organization and writing programs, but I've read through them and I just can't find what I'm looking for.

I just downloaded KnowledgeTree Document Manager (http://www.download.com/KnowledgeTree-Document-Management-System/3000-10743_4-10632972.html?tag=mncol&cdlPid=10828180), maybe it will be what I'm looking for :-/

ETA: KnowledgeTree was no help. Apparently it's a MYSQL database management program... or something involving MYSQL. Oops. But that's the problem, when I goggle "Database Management" or "Document Management" I'm given programs that manage internet databases. Ugh... frustration!

09-16-2008, 10:16 PM
OK, so I need a program that will organize all my research

Your brain!

I have all my initial planning on paper, and my new planning work on separate MS word files, all in the same folder. That works for me.

09-16-2008, 10:22 PM
LOL, it would be nice. But I need exact quotes, references, years of notes on books I've read, articles etc... organized into some kind of coherent searchable system. My brain isn't up to the task I'm afraid. :D Maybe when I was younger... Now I can barely remember what file I put what in.. and some things really should be filed in two places (i.e. a review of a book about books should go in both the book review folder and the bibliophile miss folder...) It's just insanity.

I just wish I had a system like the posts on my blogs... each post can be put in multiple categories, with as many tags as I care to add. It's searchable, organized by date, category or tag and easy to navigate. Now if I could just find something like it for Windows XP my life would be complete (well, almost...)

09-16-2008, 11:26 PM
Try EverNote (http://www.evernote.com/)
Also check out http://www.softpedia.com
There are a lot of organizer programms.

09-17-2008, 12:26 AM
Jessica, can you make a private blog? Some blog programs allow you to make a blog that only a limited set of people can view. Make one for your data, and just don't give permission to anyone else to view it. You'll have the UI that you're looking for, at the very least.

09-17-2008, 01:37 AM
Thanks for the advice guys!

I've tried evernote, and thus far it's the closest thing I've found, but I'm not crazy about the interface. A private blog would be great, but I want the info on my hard-drive where I can back it up etc... I suppose I could make back-ups of a private blog though. I just don't know how I feel having all my stuff out there in web-land. You've given me some options to think about though, thanks.

ETA: I do love Evernote for transferring stuff from my desktop to laptop though. It's great for that.

Dale Emery
09-17-2008, 02:05 AM
Consider SuperNotecard http://www.mindola.com

L M Ashton
09-17-2008, 05:17 AM
This has been discussed at least a few times that I'm aware of, and at least once in Tech Help, so you might want to do a search to get more ideas.

09-17-2008, 11:08 PM
WikidPad (http://wikidpad.python-hosting.com/)

09-17-2008, 11:47 PM
I just use word documents. xD

Matera the Mad
09-18-2008, 05:30 AM
I have this wonderful thing called a computer... seriously, use your file system. It is easier to reorganize.

09-18-2008, 05:43 AM
I have this wonderful thing called a computer... seriously, use your file system. It is easier to reorganize.


Gee ya know I have one of 'em too!

It's a small world.

09-18-2008, 06:14 AM
Have you looked at yWriter4 (http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter4.html)?

Linda Adams
09-18-2008, 02:44 PM
I'd suggest getting your files into order as much as possible first. I went through my computer file system earlier this year and was amazed at how many problems I was having were caused by me. This is what I learned:

* Start with the filing structure and keep it simple. Think about exactly what you need and come up with a list of folders that suits the way you work. Not necessarily the category where a file might fit, but where you would look for it. For example, I have a folder called Research, and inside that folder I have subfolders of Auctions, Wine, etc.

* Avoid anything called "Miscellaneous." Trust me, you will never remember anything in this folder and file. Find a category where it fits.

* Always, always, always get the file into the right folder. It's easy to get lazy and save it in a convenient location, but it becomes inconvienent when it can't found.

* If one file can be used, then use one file. I was thinking of this with the dialogue snippets. If you come up with a snippet, save it a file, come up with another and save it in a different file, that's making more work. If it's one file, it's easy to find and easy to scan. I just took out about fifty pages of my book, and I save it in a file called Extra Scenes_Sep 2008. If I need one of those scenes back, I know exactly where to look instead of hunting through backups of drafts.

* Create a naming convention and stick to it no matter what. I was struck by how many files I had named Doc1 when I went through my files. I had to open each one and see what it is, and in most cases, they should have been deleted long ago. Use a name that makes sense at a glance to you and date it i.e., Dialogue Snippets_Sep 2008. You should not need to open a file to see what's in it; the name should tell you if it's the file you need to open.

* Lastly, every few months make a sweep of the files. With the dates on it, it's easy to tell at a glance if the files have been used at all. In my case, on one of my sweeps, I found that my Wine research materials were more than six months old and hadn't been used, so I transferred them into my Archives folder. I can still get at them if I need them (haven't), but they're not adding clutter by simply being in the way. Doing it every few months keeps it from being a major project.

I think the most important part of this is staying consistent. Make sure the file names are name consistently and that they go into the right folders. You might find you don't need to spend money on a program at all.

09-18-2008, 04:20 PM
Thanks all! I do use the innate filing system on my computer quite a bit and it is really useful for keeping like things together (all files related to each book in a separate folder, organized according to draft, research, source etc...), but the place where the system breaks down is items that fall in multiple categories. I could make shortcuts of documents and stick them wherever an item falls in multiple folders, but I'd rather not. What I really need is a system that will allow me to search within the text documents and tag them, just like my blog. I suppose I could add tags to the titles of my files, but then they'd be so long as to cause problem when saving them onto CD :-/

So far the program that Dale suggested seems most like what I'm looking for.

Thanks again, you guys are great! I think my problem is that I'm trying to be too organized here.

ETA: OMFG, I just looked at the 'advanced options' on Window's Search and found an option to search within a document. I'm such a dork. God.

Thanks all, again for your help!