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(Archived) Tough one: eLogbook

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This one driving me nuts for several years, any ideas short of whole-enterprise software (or abandoning EN for a dedicated database)?


Goal:  an EN logbook viewable by date (what happened on 2013.09.20?) yet with line entries recoverable by pseudo-tagged topical element ("here are all entries from all dates pseudo-sub-tagged "ColdFusion").


I have:

An everything-to-EN philosophy.  Everything.

EN Daylogs titled by date, comprising a Logbook page in which numbered line entries record "everything" - thoughts, events, actions, demands, sneezes, research experiments.  If it's not there, it didn't happen.  Strictly manual textual entry.

From a topical point of view (projects e.g.) line 32 of a 100-line daylog may contain a crucial observation re "ColdFusion".

So do countless other tagged clips, writings, data, proposals within EN - otherwise unassociated with Daylog.

Serendipity dictates that the breakthrough observation is most likely buried in a daylog 1-liner, pretty much irrecoverably so.


I wish:  there were a way to see the pseudo-tagged "elemental" line entries from daylogs in a tag search for ColdFusion, thus contriving a focused project record.


It may be impossible outside of a purpose-built database, as an ideal system would permit real-time updates in either "view" (chron/topical).


? Why not stick to individuated entries?  Because in a frenetic multiple-project existence it's impractical to give 1-liner attention to some trivial detail, plus it's redundant to daylog record.  Phones are ringing, beakers are boiling, ideas are percolating, data is spewing out, coffee is spilling.


And yet:  this strikes me as absolutely routine in service/industry/professions:  "What did Officer O'Reilly do Thursday" vs. "What have we done this year on the UFO case?" must be routinely answerable.  Likewise lineman activity vs. transformer #13492 service record; Dr. Proctor's medicare billables vs. history of Aunt *****'s hip replacement; endless etc.



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I hope Evernote does not go down this road.


Evernote's current search ability could be tweaked, but a massive total restructuring of the entire program involving psuedo-tagging every individual line entry is uncalled for.


My #1 EN philosophy is speed.


The above suggestion is antithetical to everything I need and want in Evernote.

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If you start each note and each line within a note with a code of your own making, then you should be able to do this.  You can turn EN into a database if you format your input and code it up.


I'm just glad my life's not as complicated as yours :-)

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Thanks for replies.


jbenson2:  No change to EN is sought; a means to an end is sought.  It occurs to one that a 30MM-user app is not going to fundamentally restructure itself for idiosyncratic applications.  On the contrary, I identify a need commonly met via physical logbooks and forms (inefficient/non-searchable/duplicative), purpose-tweaked 'enterprise' software (massive overhead/cost), or purpose-built cloud databases.  The latter are cost-efficient and getting to the point where virtually anyone can set them up (Zoho Creator, Quickbase, Caspio, etc.).  My reluctance to go there arises from my instinct to maximize utility of EN - pretty much dumping "everything" there.  The optimal answer would be "Dude, didn't you know that FranticBase syncs bidirectionally with EN?", or - some breakthrough thinking on how to otherwise get the thing done.


Horlics - you're right, complicated - would not be able to function without other EN contrivances in use.  Wish I was competent to understand/implement "You can turn EN into a database if you format your input & code it up".


Thanks again -



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The thing is, until i got to "why not stick to individuated entries", i was thinking that EN has a straightforward answer to all the things you are looking for.  Making EN work like a database (to the extent possible) would require markup of individual daylog entries.  If the effort isn't worth the payback, and the effort of using two tools outweighs the benefit, then I guess in this case necessity isn't going to be the mother of invention.


I'm sure you understand all the possibilities of the notebooks and tags approach to filing and retrieval, so I am thinking that I must be missing or misunderstanding something from the challenge you are facing.


I'm happy to discuss, it'll be light relief from the Analysis Services mash-up I've been working on for the last 10 hours!

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OK, let me illustrate until you tell me I'm nuts:


My "daylog" is a daily logbook page.  An echo of a single page in the once-upon-a-time spiral-bound journal.  The sole limitation upon what appears there is "it happened today".

That daylog page is the focus of my day; return to it constantly; completely ad-hoc entries though somewhat "organized" by what I refer to as pseudotags and numbered entries.

Half-baked lines (entries) are routinely interrupted (the phone rings!) and returned to until "complete"; some manner of completion is marked by an AutoKey suffix that's meaningful to me:  a couple of examples - suffix bright-blue-bold "OK" tells me it's nonactionable, similar "DONE" records an accomplishment to completion, "BIHC" = ball-in-his-court; more alarming colours indicate actionable residues.

My pseudotag prefixes are project numbers, subject tags and the like meaningful elsewhere in my system (but of course - not recognized as tags in their daylog-text context by EN).

Line entries between the prefix/suffix might be so simple as "17:15 home via Starbucks" or so complex as a multi-level numbered list arising from logical critique of a new hypothesis.


Of course the above (or even a much-simplified version thereof) is superior to spiral-bound notebook as unique or reasonably distinctive entries may be searched (vs. thumbing through fifty notebooks).  "Where is that paragraph about cold fusion".

Of course the above is at least as convenient as the spiral-bound in respect of date searching (what happened on 13 Feb?).

However the above fails miserably at indistinctive entry recovery (searchable terms show up in every second daylog)


What I cannot accomplish:  somehow distilling those lines out into individuated EN records bearing tags.  THAT would permit a simplest-search project log to be instantly distilled via tag search, and would chronologically insert daylog "distillations" between otherwise (non-daylog) entered data bearing the same EN tag.


The answer must be a simple database.  The defect in that answer is:  now my stuff is distributed between DB & EN with no means of universal view, and certainly no means of continuous sync. My guiding rule has been "everything to EN".


My conclusion:  I need a database that syncs with EN, with a EN:DB note:record correspondence.  The database fields beyond text would include tags, completion status, and sync-worthiness.


I still think, at the risk of repeating prior sentiment, this must be a routine need elsewhere:  cops, linemen, teachers, doctors - anywhere date-search has to coexist with case management.


Obvious workarounds, uninspiring:

1. EN only:  Make the daylog a notebook rather than a note; make each line a note rather than a line; merge them to create an after-the-fact daylog (or contrive daylog by date search).  Awkward.

2. DB only:  obvious.  Deprives EN of data, awkward auditing across two systems with no particular rationale for segregation.

3. DB periodic report to EN:  burdensome, too many projects, but I suppose it could be set up.  My "wish-for" is a continuously-syncing version thereof.


Dunno if that clarifies what I'm trying to do -



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After reading your first note I was thinking along the lines of pseudo tags but having read the latest post it's clear that you are doing just about everything you can with them.  There could be some payback to use of multiple pseudo tags per line, but your text would be littered with them and be unreadable.  The uninspiring workarounds are no more uninspiring than the few things I can think of.  


As for it being a routine need, I think others will need someone similar but those who do, and who use Evernote, are using something else too.  I access some of my notes in the way you want to, but in a system provided by my employer based on Sharepoint.  I end up screen clipping it to EN.

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