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MrEvernoteMcGee

Retrieving Information from Evernote

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I'll try to be as succinct as possible here, though my question isn't one that can be answered in a sentence or two -- I don't think. First off, I've been using Evernote for a long time. I'm using a new account now which is why I probably show up as a relatively new member in this forum, but I've posted and lurked on these forums for years. 

I store a lot of information in Evernote. For personal use I have instruction manuals, bills, receipts, school notes, photos documenting a process -- a lot of stuff. I also house a lot of work documents within Evernote -- emails, reference guides, notes to myself about how I did something (I work in IT) etc. 

I guess what I came here to inquire about is the fact that I'm beginning to question not the usefulness of Evernote, but my efficiency in using it. It feels like Evernote usage is severely lopsided as I spend 90% of the time putting stuff into it and 10% of the time retrieving information. I guess there is enough space to go around so I can see the argument for just throwing everything at it, but I sometimes find the retrieval part cumbersome and frustrating -- especially on mobile (iOS). 

Here's an example -- at work I sometimes hold meetings in our conference room. I like to remotely connect to my PC from the meeting so I can demo things so I need to know my computer's IP address. I store it in Evernote, of course. When I type "Work IP Address" into the search bar (iOS) it returns my note called "Work IP Address" as the ninth item. To me, since I matched the note title exactly, it should be the first item in the list that's returned. 

I guess what I'm getting at is, I like to have things organized so I can do things instantly. When I go to contacts and type a friends name I usually see them appear after only one or two letters. When I search an email in Gmail I can generally find what I want within a statement or two. With so much in Evernote though, it feels like every time I want to retrieve some information I have to wiggle my way through filters and sorts and tags and notebooks. It gets to the point where I'll just search my Gmail or Outlook for what I'm after instead of Evernote.

In closing, I'll just say that I do have a structure to my notes. I use about 5 notebooks and a bunch of tags, and I can generally find things quickly, so I don't want to give the impression I'm a novice user who just stockpiles garbage. I do have a system and I can generally find what I need but I don't know, the whole thing seems a little cumbersome still. It's not tick tack toe, it's more tick tick tack.........tack.....toe to get where I'm going. 

I feel like I need to reevaluate what it is I'm saving, how it's saved, and define better guidelines between what goes into EN vs say Dropbox. 

I just wondered if any of you find retrieval a bit cumbersome at times despite your best efforts to keep things organized, and how you combat that?

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11 minutes ago, MrEvernoteMcGee said:

To be, since I matched the note title exactly, it should be the first item in the list that's returned. 

The sequence of the returned list is defined by you; title, updated, created
There is no "should be" option; also know as "relevance"

>>I just wondered if any of you find retrieval a bit cumbersome at times despite your best efforts to keep things organized, and how you combat that?

I prefer to define my retrieval using the tag feature; it's more precise.
I find the text search feature can be hit or miss, and generates many entries which I need to review

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Even when sorted by title, it returns note titles beginning with the letter "A" first and not the note that matched my search term exactly. It would be like searching Gmail for "DTLow" and it brings back 50 emails with "Low" in it before "DTLow". Doesn't make sense. 

Anyway, that's a small part of what I'm trying to convey. It's just, with so many notes and so many variables (notebooks, tags, date created, note title) it can take more than a few seconds to retrieve the information you're looking for. At some point, there is surely a way to mitigate some of the obstacles I've created for myself along the way and get me back to more efficient processes for retrieval.

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1 hour ago, MrEvernoteMcGee said:

Even when sorted by title, it returns note titles beginning with the letter "A" first

Alphabetical Order is a *****    ?

I know you want to see the notes in order of relevance.
It's not currently an option in Evernote. Even when available is search engines, I sometimes wonder at the algorithm used.

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6 hours ago, MrEvernoteMcGee said:

When I type "Work IP Address" into the search bar (iOS) it returns my note called "Work IP Address" as the ninth item. To me, since I matched the note title exactly, it should be the first item in the list that's returned. 

For specific, oft used notes I would recommend a saved search either titled in such a way it appears at the top of the saved search list or placed at the front of your shortcuts.  Then you should have simpler access to those notes.  On a general search level, not much to do beyond continuing to refine the search and/or use the sort fields, pending EN adding any sort of relevance characteristics to searches.

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11 hours ago, MrEvernoteMcGee said:

I use about 5 notebooks and a bunch of tags

Here is the "secret" you already stated. I agree that if you just type in the search box, sometimes you get inconsistent results. That's why using multiple tags has helped me tremendously. Right now, if I am searching something, I always start with two tags then the keywords on a desktop app.

On the iOS App, like you suggested, it is more pain. My iOS app usage is generally based on capturing, I really do not "work" on notes while on the go. But if I have to retrieve it, I take the time to filter by tags (although not convenient to me) first so that I don't get frustrated. And if I know I am going to need a note on the go, I add a reminder to it and my saved searches such as "Reminder for the Day" will let me look at that note quickly.

For example, if I save tickets to an event that is next Saturday, when I save it I add a reminder to it for Saturday, so when I get to the venue, I pull the saved search instead of looking for the note. This helps me avoid creating 10,000 Shortcut Notes.

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