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(Archived) Paperless Office / Life - Is Evernote the tool?

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I have to tell you I really dig evernote. I've got my data capture workflows pretty will developed. I can using my iphone, scanner, camera, computer..etc push pretty much all my notes, important bills, business cards, menus..etc into evernote. I would love to be able to use evernote as my system for managing my information/notes but I still have questions/concerns.

1. Is the design and intent of evernote to serve this purpose? it looks like it but I want to make sure I'm not using it for something it was not designed for. The messaging has really focused on notes. I'm focused on removing all my paper clutter.

2. Security - I think I'm over the hump here..I'm a premium member and I believe you have to trust that the evernote team is treating this as one of the most important requirements. One issue is whether evernote the company can survive. I will certainly do my part in ensuring this but that is a issue.

3. Finally, Once I have all the note in evernote. How do I get it out? there needs to be a better way to export out the data when you have hundreds of notes

I'd really like to hear everyone's perspective on this. I think evernote has really potential and really, really want it to success but I want to ensure it fits my requirements


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We're definitely designed for doing just what you describe. I.e. taking all of your different memories and information and storing it in one place.

Evernote is in great shape right now, but you have a legitimate concern for any company when the world economy is in the toilet like it is lately. We feel that part of the answer to this question is that we give you much more control over your data than the average "Web 2.0" system that only exists on the web. With our desktop clients, you have a full copy of your notes that you could use indefinitely even if California fell into the Pacific, and we have various export formats you can use to access your notes without Evernote. We do plan to extend our export capabilities in 2009 as well, especially on the Mac.

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You're going down the same road I'm on, and you're on the right track, I think.

1. Absolutely!

Evernote's particularly OCR/indexing strategy makes it ideally suited for a paperless life. You can take quick scans of your documents and reliably find them in Evernote, without taking the time to correct inevitable OCR errors. (Evernote DOES OCR, but it saves a matrix of possible search terms, rather than doing a straight word-for-word text conversion)

Security: Well, don't use it online if you're really concerned about security. Of course, you can split up your public, sync'd and local notebooks to meet your personal security requirements. I certainly have a couple non-sync'ing notebooks.

Export: Pretty darn good. Evernote can export as XML quite easily, but the XML is rather Evernote-specific. If you're mostly saving scans, however, you can very easily pull the graphical content out, leaving you with the same thing you started with. (The same is embedded in the XML) Also, sync'd notebooks are available as IMAP mailboxes, which is a particularly cool approach since you can save all your sync'd information in a mail client if you stop using Evernote.

And then there's the API and scripting support. With that, well, you can do about anything you might want to.

So as with anything, there's the techie way to handle your export -- which is either time consuming to do or expensive to hire someone to do it; or the simple way of saving out your scans or exporting as email. Both are perfectly good solutions.

My one critique of this approach is that Evernote's database is, well, a single database. This makes incremental backup and recovery very difficult, as it becomes a matter of restoring the whole database at a go. This shouldn't be seen as a design flaw, as it's a necessary component to support Evernote's searching and indexing, but it does add a little complexity to the data archiving process. My recommendation is to do very frequent (at least daily) backups so that you have as little as possible to "roll back" to.

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