Evernote

I find it dif­fi­cult to be over enthu­si­as­tic about Ever­note, the web­site and desk­top appli­ca­tion that promises to “remem­ber every­thing.” It has a slick and easy to use inter­face, per­forms well, and often in the back­ground, and allows you to cre­ate con­tent, such as notes, to include images and even whole pages from the web, as well as to scan directly into it from a scan­ner, take pic­tures with your web­cam, phone … I could keep going. (Their sup­port for mobile devices includes: iPhone / iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Black­Berry, Palm Pre / Palm Pixi, and Win­dows Mobile.)

Now, they are announc­ing a few inter­est­ing inte­gra­tions. You can use Seesmic to auto­mat­i­cally sent Twit­ter and Face­book posts (yours or those of friends or col­leagues that you would like to remem­ber) off to Ever­note, for stor­age, sync­ing, and avail­abil­ity. I haven’t fig­ured it out yet on the Mac, but I should also be able to use the Mac OS X Ani­ma­tor to cre­ate a watched folder for Ever­note, to sync images and other files. (This is out-of-the-box func­tion­al­ity on the PC.)

The ser­vice is free, with some lim­its (that I have never run up against, by the way: 40 MB a month), and there’s a pre­mium ser­vice, which ups the monthly upload limit to 500 MB.

In Ever­note, you can orga­nize your notes or web clip­pings into fold­ers and with tags. Addi­tion­ally, tags can be nested. I have been cre­at­ing tag struc­tures along the lines of:

geneal­ogy
     archives
          LVA
          NARA
          NC Archives
          Pres­i­den­tial Libraries
     ceme­tery
     cen­sus
          1790
          1800
          1810 …

     mil­i­tary
          Civil War
          Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War
          Spanish-American War
          WW I
          WW II
     obit­u­ary
     pro­bate
          loose estates
          wills
     sur­name
          atkins
          blake­way
          gregg …
     web ser­vices
          Ances­try
          Foot­note
          NewspaperArchive …

What’s handy about this, is that you can have an unlim­ited num­ber of tags. As a user, you don’t need to remem­ber how the tags are orga­nized when you tag them. In other words, if I tag some­thing as, “Geneal­ogy, Civil War, Gregg, Wills” that note is auto­mat­i­cally avail­able from all of the fol­low­ing locations:

geneal­ogy

geneal­ogy
mil­i­tary
Civil War

geneal­ogy
sur­name
gregg

geneal­ogy
pro­bate
wills

This means that I don’t have to remem­ber the doc­u­ment in any par­tic­u­lar way, I only have to remem­ber the item in one of its con­texts. How­ever, to make this use­ful, one needs to remem­ber the orga­ni­za­tion scheme, as you can­not re-use a tag for a dif­fer­ent purpose.

Here’s what the Pre­mium ser­vice gets you. I’m not sure that I need to go beyond the free prod­uct at the moment, but I do think that with half a gig a month, I could turn Ever­note into another backup mech­a­nism. It’s also handy that the pre­mium account will take any file type. We will see. I’m still on the side­lines, but using Ever­note more and more.

Free Pre­mium
Access to all ver­sions of Evernote Yes Yes
Syn­chro­niza­tion across platforms Yes Yes
Text recog­ni­tion inside images Yes Yes
Note allowance Unlim­ited, upload 40MB/mo Unlim­ited, upload 500MB/mo
File syn­chro­niza­tion Lim­ited: images, audio, ink, PDF Any file type
Search within PDFs No Yes
Access to note history No Yes
Offline note­books (iPhone/iPad/iPod) No Yes
Note­book sharing Read only Allow read and edit
Max sin­gle note size 25MB 50MB
Sup­port Stan­dard Pre­mium support
Secu­rity features Stan­dard SSL encryp­tion
Pri­or­ity image recognition No Yes
Hide pro­mo­tions No Yes
Cost Free $5/month or $45/year

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