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benlwong

(Archived) Feedback from a New EN User

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Okay, I just started using Evernote since getting an iPad. I love the concept but the implementation is not quite there.

Before using Evernote, I use a Firefox plug-in called Scrapbook. You can capture web pages or web links and put them in a folder like structure. I was hoping Evernote can replace that, but it is still deficient in certain areas:

1. A lot of web pages I have captured using the EN web clipper comes out horrible. The layout is all messed up. I have never had a problem with Scrapbook. The EN developers should consider contacting the Scrapbook author and maybe adapt/license its technology.

2. I have tons of captured web pages organized by multiple-level folders in Scrapbook. It is how my brain like to organize things. Using EN single level notebook means I have to look through a lot of notes to find the one I want. The new stack concept helps but you still can only have two level of hierarchy. Please seriously consider adding some sort of hierarchy. This way, people can organize their info the way their brains work - either by tags or by folders.

3. Tags - Okay, we are supposed to use tags to organize our stuff instead of folders. I am really trying but I found out you cannot have the same tag under different hierarchy. For example, lets say I want to have the following:

Projects -> Widget 2.0 Product -> Research

-> Some Other Gadget -> Research

I can't do this since Research cannot appear in two places under different hierarchy. Frustrating! I had to name them Widget 2.0 Product Research and Some Other Gadget Research.

4. Native Viewer - I want to add Word, Excel, and other popular formats as a note. It would be fantastic if EN can display them directly in the viewer without having to launch a new program like the PDF viewer.

5. How about providing the ability to capture a web URL/link and not the actual contents? Why? Because I want to save the site so I can find it later and go back. In this case, I am not particularly interested in capturing some specific content but as a reference site. For example, the US Census Bureau site.

Love to hear some feedback!

Ben

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2. I have tons of captured web pages organized by multiple-level folders in Scrapbook. It is how my brain like to organize things. Using EN single level notebook means I have to look through a lot of notes to find the one I want. The new stack concept helps but you still can only have two level of hierarchy. Please seriously consider adding some sort of hierarchy. This way, people can organize their info the way their brains work - either by tags or by folders.

There's plenty of debate on the tags-vs-folders thingy. Bottom line is that folders just are not coming any time soon, as nearly as I can tell. Notebooks are useful for gross partitioning of notes, and also for being the minimum unit for sharing notes, and for keeping notes local. Stacks are useful mainly for managing lots of notebooks. But if you really want to get anywhere with Evernote, you really need to come to terms with tags.

3. Tags - Okay, we are supposed to use tags to organize our stuff instead of folders. I am really trying but I found out you cannot have the same tag under different hierarchy. For example, lets say I want to have the following:

Projects -> Widget 2.0 Product -> Research

-> Some Other Gadget -> Research

I can't do this since Research cannot appear in two places under different hierarchy. Frustrating! I had to name them Widget 2.0 Product Research and Some Other Gadget Research.

The tag hierarchy is mainly for organizing large numbers of tags (there are 10,000 max at this time). It's primarily visual,rather than being an inheritance-based hierarchy. I think of tags as adjectives: they describe your notes, rather than forcing then to live in some kind of structure. Like adjectives, they can be strung together to define smaller and smaller classes of objects, which makes them very flexible. I use the tag hierarchy to describe the tags, not the notes that the tags might apply to.

Example: I have a red, round ball, and a big, red barn. That's three tags: 'red', 'round' and 'big'. The 'red' that I use to describe my ball is not distinct from the 'red' that I use to describe my barn. I may not need add tags for 'house' and 'ball' (these are the equivalent of notes in Evernote); just searching on tags 'red' and 'round' may sufficiently narrow my world down to where I can easily see my ball. For example, to make a hierarchy of my tags, I might use:

Colors -->

- red

- green

- blue, etc

Shapes -->

- round

- square, etc.

Sizes -->

- big

- small, etc

rather than something that you are trying to do (and can't be done in Evernote because tags are unique):

Toys -->

- balls -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- kites -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

Dwellings -->

- Houses

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- Caves -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- Barns -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

5. How about providing the ability to capture a web URL/link and not the actual contents? Why? Because I want to save the site so I can find it later and go back. In this case, I am not particularly interested in capturing some specific content but as a reference site. For example, the US Census Bureau site.

The web clipper allows you to capture only the link, and not the content.

~Jeff

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I use the tag hierarchy to describe the tags, not the notes that the tags might apply to.

Example: I have a red, round ball, and a big, red barn. That's three tags: 'red', 'round' and 'big'. The 'red' that I use to describe my ball is not distinct from the 'red' that I use to describe my barn. I may not need add tags for 'house' and 'ball' (these are the equivalent of notes in Evernote); just searching on tags 'red' and 'round' may sufficiently narrow my world down to where I can easily see my ball. For example, to make a hierarchy of my tags, I might use:

Colors -->

- red

- green

- blue, etc

Shapes -->

- round

- square, etc.

Sizes -->

- big

- small, etc

rather than something that you are trying to do (and can't be done in Evernote because tags are unique):

Toys -->

- balls -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- kites -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

Dwellings -->

- Houses

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- Caves -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

- Barns -->

-- size

-- color

-- shape, etc.

Thanks, Jeff. That is a useful explanation of what can be done.

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