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I would like to organize ideas and quotes and being able to access them online and from devices.

Requirements:

  • Ability to attach tags/categories to cards
  • Available online and from Android
  • Full-text search
  • Simple: not overloaded with functionality that I won't use. So it's not like Trello, or more elaborate systems for writing documents/wikis

Google Keep fits the bill exactly, but I cannot use it because I already use Google Keep for some quite different purpose and don't want to mix these use-cases. (Too bad Google Keep doesn't have a notion of "spaces". But, maybe I'll opt in to create a separate Google account just for this purpose.)

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For now, I'm actually getting away with a single Google Keep account, assigning all the existing notes (which are not index cards or quotes) with a specific tag. It makes the home, unfiltered view of all notes a mess, but this doesn't appear to be a problem yet because in Google Keep it's easy to filter notes by label.

This approach would probably be harder if I used labels for that my original use-case for Google Keep, but luckily I didn't.

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I'm also interested in this topic of a computerized index card file.

My intended use would be for storing and cross-referencing data items in research programmes. Like many researchers I have missed logical connections between related facts - and sometimes this resulted in not pursuing more productive lines of enquiry.

Doing my research in 1990s I saw others making entries to a physical index card file. But I never saw anyone using their index file to suggest new directions for their research. (This of course may have been done secretely or out of the office.) It happened once then that I missed applying some phenomenon I had read about in a paper when examining an image. The effect of the phenomenon was noticed but I explained it as due to some other (incorrect) cause. That made me question my own purely mental way of connecting facts. A more striking example occurred years after completing a project when I rationally connected about 6 core facts in the old research topic and found an astonishing and counterintuitive conclusion.

Today, a database allows us to query multiple cross-references between items in different tables. We may add new keywords to our record index as our programme continues.

I believe in research towards worthy objectives. These objectives may be very specific, e.g. a quieter lawnmower, or quite general, e.g. exploring a new phenomenon so as to characterize it and its limits. But research budgets in every country are limited and none of us can really afford to be attempting things that are impossible or very unlikely. An online or standalone logical query system is something that could provide useful savings in research programmes as well as speedier advances in technology.

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  • I ended up using Notion.so – leventov Jan 25 at 9:59
  • I just looked at notion. Indeed it would be a useful update to physical index cards. But on deeper reflection, I think my intended objective of not missing logical connections between research facts would be better served by an expert system using something like Prolog en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prolog – Trunk Jan 25 at 13:48

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