Jump to content
danielegold

Spotlight: Thanks Grumpy Monkey!

Recommended Posts

I recently interviewed Grumpy Monkey for my site on how he organizes Evernote. I've always been fascinated with his posts and his site. In my interview, I take it even deeper. There's so much I think we can all learn from his setup -- even if we don't apply it in its entirety! Thanks so much and I hope you all enjoy the post! Hit the link to view. Cheers!

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post

Nice (and very detailed) post. GM's organisation is an inspiration - and a source of considerable envy - to us all. Although I thought the name was more to do with a philosophy than a tea... :P

Share this post


Link to post

I recently interviewed Grumpy Monkey for my site on how he organizes Evernote. I've always been fascinated with his posts and his site. In my interview, I take it even deeper. There's so much I think we can all learn from his setup -- even if we don't apply it in its entirety! Thanks so much and I hope you all enjoy the post! Hit the link to view. Cheers!

A super job well done! Documentation and images with the with the classic who, what, when, where, and why clearly explained.

Including the hook about Grumpy Monkey's name to keep the reader engaged.

Share this post


Link to post

This is great to see what works for different people and how they personally organize things in Evernote, we can learn and get a lot of value and inspiration from this!

I like GrumpyMonkey approach, it really highlights the fact that you don't need to organize a lot of things and can just rely on decriptive titles/keywords for the most part. There is still some organization, e.g. Journal, but it's used only when it's really helpful to the user instead of trying to organize everything into some encompassing categories, e.g. Home/work, to have a safety net for everything

Share this post


Link to post

a big thank you to daniel for posting so much helpful information about evernote on his sites, asking me for the interview, and doing such a great write-up.

also, i want to say thank you to everyone on the forums that have given me great advice on how to make better use of the application. i hope my small contribution can give back a little of what i have received from all of you!

as for the name, sorry to disappoint! it is a silly thing, really. but, sometimes nicknames stick. i always wanted to be called barracuda, but i always end up as a monkey...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I recently interviewed Grumpy Monkey for my site on how he organizes Evernote. I've always been fascinated with his posts and his site. In my interview, I take it even deeper. There's so much I think we can all learn from his setup -- even if we don't apply it in its entirety! Thanks so much and I hope you all enjoy the post! Hit the link to view. Cheers!

Daniel,

Thanks for sharing. Your blog is excellent -- clear, well organized, and an easy read.

Clearly GM has a system that works well for him, and perhaps many others.

GM and I have discussed his system in various threads, but I would like to provide some counterpoints in the interest of providing a balanced view for others, particularly new users, who may read this thread. As others have stated, the "best" system is the one that works for you.

@GM: Many thanks to your contributions, and a willingness to discuss and debate issues in a very respectful manner. I know I have learned much from you, and I hope others have benefited from our discussions.

First, let's start with GM's system, from Daniel's blog:

How he uses Evernote

Christopher’s magic lies in the way he names his notes. Every note has the same syntax:

YYMMDD keyword keyword keyword

No tags. No notebooks. Just the default one Evernote makes you create.

You have outlined the advantages of GM's system in your blog.

IMO, there are some pitfalls with this approach.

Maybe they only apply to me.

In any case, here are the pitfalls I see:

  1. Note Title
    • The Title embeds metadata in it that are readily available as separate fields in Evernote: Creation Date, Tags
    • Since you have to type the complete title, it is subject to typos and spelling errors
    • A lot of Notes come from web clippings which automatically provides a good Title in most cases, so I don't have to waste time typing a Title
    • By prefixing the Title with date and keywords, you loose the ability to sort on a descriptive title.

[*]"YYMMDD" -- Why Not use Created Date field?

  • GM argues that "we naturally remember things chronologically"
    • I don't think this works for everyone, especially me.
    • I can remember most events, but not necessarily the date, or even the year, in which the event occurred.
    • As I study and learn about the same subject over the years, I can remember the facts, but not when I learned them

    [*]By entering the date at the beginning of every Note, you are always forced to sort by date even when you choose "Sort by Title"

    • Most of the time I do NOT want to sort my Search results by date
    • I want to sort the result by descriptive Title so that similar Notes are grouped together, regardless of when I entered the Note

    [*]The Evernote "Created Date" field can be changed to the same content-related date as you would type using "YYMMDD". But if today's date is what you want, you don't have to enter anything.

    [*]This would allow you to enter a descriptive title that is indicative of the Note contents

    [*]Then you have two meaningful sorts:

    • By Date
    • By Title (descriptive)

  • "keyword" -- Why Not Use Evernote Tags?
    • GM's use of "keyword" in the Note Title is an attempt to classify or label the Note in the same manner that Evernote Tags do.
    • However, manually typing the "keyword" in the Title looses most of the advantages that Tags offer:
      • Tags eliminate typos and spelling errors since you are always selecting from a list.
      • Tags allow you to consistently use the same Tag when there might be several alternatives (e.g., "Auto" vs "Car", "Folder" vs "Notebook".
      • Tags allow you to quickly search/select Notes by clicking on Tag in the Tag list, or selecting a Tag on the Favorites bar
      • Searching/finding Notes by Tag is very easy in the mobile EN Apps like EN iPhone/iPad. You don't have to remember what tag was used, or how to spell it.
      • Tag names are easily changed, whereas it would be a real chore to change the "keyword" in all Notes that it is used.
      • Today we can sort by Tags in EN Win
        • Hopefully in the near future we will be able to sort by Tags in all EN Clients

      [*]By entering "keywords" in the Title, you loose the benefit of a descriptive Title that you can sort on.

I provide these comments with the hope of providing a more complete, balanced, view of organizing Notes in Evernote. There is no one perfect or best system. Each of us has to go through the journey of discovering what works best. I, for one, am still on that journey, and I have learned much for all of you that post your thoughts and suggestions in these forums. Thanks to you guys for helping me understand the benefits of tags, and how to use them.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

JMichael, there would always be some pitfalls when you look at a one sided approach, what really matters is - do those pitfalls matter to you personally...

As I've said in a different thread - any approach/solution that says "this is the only and the best way to do it", is very likely to not work great in some cases.  There is no such thing as a one-sided solution, especially when dealing with personal information database.

Real solutions need to be some of this and some of that. It's not a this VS that thing.

Notebooks, tags, unique keywords/random codes, note links.

Any of those things could be used as a main method of organization and all of them are still useful in some different cases regardless of what's your main organizational method.

I think most people use all of the possibilities/functionality Evernote provides (except random codes) to at least some extent but if you don't really need some functionality then there's obviously no point in using it just because it's there.

I do agree though that tags are very useful for many reasons and work better than keywords in titles in a lot of cases. They're easier to add for example.

I personally use both keywords in titles and tags but for different purposes..

For example I add a type of a note to its title. Type of a note is something which describes what a note represents and any note could have only one type.

For example some notes are my own thoughts and I add "Thoughts - " to its title; some notes are used for mind maps and I add "mm"; some notes are describing how to do something and I add "Tips - " and etc. Some other Types I use: Articles, Books, Others - [name] -, Lyrics, Video, Image and etc.

Those Types in the beginning of a note title make it possible to sort notes nicely by name even when they are still kept in a single flat list and of course this could also be used in search.

The key here is that any note could have only one type which describes its essence (kind of, not exactly, of course) but a note could also have many additional tags, so whenever I look at any list of notes sorted by title - they're always sorted nicely and it's easy to read and navigate.

I personally don't usually use dates in titles unless the date is important, for example if it's a photo or a video log.

I don't remember information by date at all, dates are useless for me as metadata, I only use them as actual data in a vast majoriy of cases, i.e. the date is usually something that I want to find out, not something I use to find other notes...

I think GM intention really was just to share his workflow as an example of what works for him personally, not as the best way to do things overall.

I find it very interesting and valuable to look at things from a different person's perspective :)

Share this post


Link to post

@jm

great points. thanks for making them! i think they will benefit anyone looking for ideas on how to improve their organization, even if i disagree with some of your arguments. it's always nice to hear alternatives and to think again about how i am doing things.

i would like to stress that the way i do things is a potentially useful solution for people who don't want to spend time organizing, because it basically organizes itself (chronologically). the more time you are willing to spend building notebook and tag systems, the less compelling my approach might sound. it also matters how much time you spend on desktop or mobile evernote versions, because i think my system works especially well with the ios client, where you cannot (for example) edit metadata.

i call myself a minimalist, but that is really another way for me to say i am a tidy, lazy person :) basically, if you are wondering how much you can strip down an organizational system and still have it perform efficiently, then this will give you one answer.

@may

indeed. daniel was kind enough to ask me for an interview, and i was happy to oblige. as you said, i only want to share my perspective. i am not proselytizing. this works for me, and it (in pieces or whole) might work for you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Good interview and posts. Always interesting and helpful to hear personal methods. Thanks for sharing.

Share this post


Link to post

Read the article and found it very enlightening...love the index card idea and have implemented as of yesterday...as one who struggled with numerous notebooks and tags the simplicity of GM's system hit a nerve...am slowly converting to simpler system now that I understand searches etc...Thanks DG

Share this post


Link to post

Read the article and found it very enlightening...love the index card idea and have implemented as of yesterday...as one who struggled with numerous notebooks and tags the simplicity of GM's system hit a nerve...am slowly converting to simpler system now that I understand searches etc...Thanks DG

glad to hear! if you have any questions about implementing it, feel free to ask :)

Share this post


Link to post

This minimalist approach is about as natural as it can get for me. I'm an ex OneNote user an I love simple searching. With my Flyer and simple solution then I carry my digital life with me.

The biggest differences for me are four digit year, semilogical note titles and extensive use of linked notes.

The final wow was saved searches in android. Means I can easily track my work in throughout the day.

Love the simple world.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Hi everyone! I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your awesome comments!! The extended dialogue here is amazing - as always - and I'm learning more and more every day from all of you! Truly - thank you!! Cheers! :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks again for this great info Grumpy Monkey..I have converted to your method for the past week and am getting comfortable with all the search capabilities and love it...had 65 notebooks and 42 tags previous....now three notebooks and search..search is a problem now though.. I am on a committee that reviews bills in state legislature...some are HB others SB... I have saved YYMM DD SB or HB...how can I search for HB and SB to review both types?

Thanks in advance

Share this post


Link to post
. . . search is a problem now though.. I am on a committee that reviews bills in state legislature...some are HB others SB... I have saved YYMM DD SB or HB...how can I search for HB and SB to review both types?

I don't know if this can be done with having the keyword in the Title, but if you used Tags you could create the following tags:

  • BT.SB
  • BT.HB

Then, when you wanted both Bill Types (BT), you could use this Search expression:

tag:BT.*

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks again for this great info Grumpy Monkey..I have converted to your method for the past week and am getting comfortable with all the search capabilities and love it...had 65 notebooks and 42 tags previous....now three notebooks and search..search is a problem now though.. I am on a committee that reviews bills in state legislature...some are HB others SB... I have saved YYMM DD SB or HB...how can I search for HB and SB to review both types?

Thanks in advance

hello. glad you are finding my strategy useful. if i understand your question correctly, then if you have titles like "120324 senate bill" and "120324 house bill" then you can just search for "intitle:bill" to see both. "intitle:senate" and "intitle:house" will allow you to see them separately. the key here, as with the tags jm mentioned, is to have some element that they both share in order to return the search results you want.

does this answer your question?

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks JMichael and GM..after reviewing both it dawned on me that I could solve the issue by tagging or being more descriptive...following what GM said I added Leg Comm to all the titles and voila a search of intitle:Leg Comm brings all notes up...as always this forum has solved my challenge..FWIW I liked the GM style of fewer tags and notebooks so adding the description in title met my need... awesome guys

Share this post


Link to post

glad we could help! it sounds like you have adjusted your workflow to take advantage of evernote's search parameters. that is definitely the best way to go about things, and takes a bit of trial and error.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks again for this great info Grumpy Monkey..I have converted to your method for the past week and am getting comfortable with all the search capabilities and love it...had 65 notebooks and 42 tags previous....now three notebooks and search..search is a problem now though.. I am on a committee that reviews bills in state legislature...some are HB others SB... I have saved YYMM DD SB or HB...how can I search for HB and SB to review both types?

Thanks in advance

You can use "ANY:" search operator, i.e. search for "any: hb sb"

You can keep encoding hierarchies into keyword names (as suggested by JM and GM) and using search with wildcard to navigate parent categories but this approach has its limitations because titles would get too long to be conveniently readable and managable eventually.

Both approaches (to navigate hierarchies) have their pros and cons, i.e. in one case the keywords get too long in another case the search string might get very long.

So use either approach whenever appropriate depending on the use case.

Share this post


Link to post

No tags, no problems, right? But now we have keywords which are harder to manage... Seriously though... the problem itself was not in the hierarchy, not to mention the hierarchy is still there in any case, regardles of what approach you use.

Share this post


Link to post

no hierarchy. that's kind of the point. 120324 senate bill. it's neither above nor below any other note. the problem was with the keywords being too short and/or the search vocabulary. as you said, "any" would also achieve the desired results.

Share this post


Link to post

"Bill" is a parent of "senate" and etc., there's hierarchy encoded in the keyword...

Share this post


Link to post

"Bill" is a parent of "senate" and etc., there's hierarchy encoded in the keyword...

it's a word. the hierarchy is in your mind may. let go of your organizational impulses :)

Share this post


Link to post

lol

GM,

The hierarchy is in your mind when you search for "any: hb sb". The hierarchy is always there, you either externalize it or not, in a case with "senate bill" and etc. it is actually externalized because you just search for "bill" instead of having to remember all your search keywords for all kinds of bills separately.

You're not avoiding organization in any case, you're just making it less obvious. I mean you still need to add "senate bill" keyword instead of a tag and so on...

Share this post


Link to post

i don't encode hierarchies. i aim for about three keywords that don't necessarily have any relationship at all. and, the titles don't get longer and longer, as you suggest. three.

it is organization, but less than tags (in my opinion). hence, my invitation: let go

of your hierarchies and join the organizational hippies. the system has weak points, but longer and longer titles is not one of them.

Share this post


Link to post
it is organization, but less than tags (in my opinion)

I think it's just silly to say that there is less organization if you replace tags with keywords. I mean come on, seriously you're looking for a difference where there's none. There are basically 2 main ways to organize information in Evernote, i.e. linking and grouping (that's how I define it personally) everything else are just variations of the same thing. Even those 2 main methods lead to the same outcome anyway, albeit by a different road. But Tags and keywords are just variations of exactly the same thing.

There is no difference. You're not adding any less data...

You haven't eliminated any concept...

Using one instead of another in itself doesn't change the amount of organization :).

You can avoid hierachies in both cases, whether you use keywords or tags, the only problem is that it's not going to be helpful when you actually need/want to use them, like in the case which was just described with different bills.

hence, my invitation: let go

of your hierarchies and join the organizational hippies.

Sounds good but the problem is you're not letting go of anything in any case, internally or externally..

When you think deeply about the topic instead of just skimming it, e.g. "he stays organized without organizing", you realize that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

I don't want to tinker under the guise of ‘reducing’ or ‘simplifying’.

If you don't need tags that's one thing, if you're replacing them with keywords in titles that's another... There is no true minimalism in that.

If you don't need hierarchies that's, again, one thing, but if you do need them and then also manage them in some convoluted way under the guise of "simplifying" and "minimalism" - that's another case.

I'm not saying that you do, it's just an example, i.e. you can overcomplexify things under the guise of "simplifying"!

As I've said in another thread, without reflection about desired outcomes, any organization will be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, regardless of whether you use tags, keywords or random codes or note links...

Instead of jumping from one fad bandwagon to another you can just focus on the desired outcome and achieve it with the least amount of effort using the tools you have...

I personally know exactly what I want from my system and I prefer to design it in a way which lets me organize and find stuff later on with the least amount of effort (mental or other) and without any compromises, that's all.

another thread:

Keep things simple, but not too simple, you want your porridge just right.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I love simplicity. I think we can gain a of insight and inspiration by analyzing GM system. But I also do think there are some things which only look simple and sound intriguing initially but  do not actually make anything simpler in practice. 

Or in other words

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler"

Albert Einstein.

Share this post


Link to post

hi may. what an enthusiastic rejoinder you have given us! thank you :) it seems very much in the spirit of sir raleigh's poem, the lie (http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/thelie.htm).

1. complexity under the guise of simplicity?

i don't see how it could be both "overcomplexified" and overly simplistic at the same time, as you charge. perhaps you believe (as i do) that it is easy to learn, but difficult to master. the basics are simple: "date + a few keywords". that is it. but, there are exceptions, though, certain words i make sure to put into certain notes, and so forth, and that is why i have an entire web page to explain a simple sentence. i would say that is how i modified it to fit my circumstances. i imagine most people will insert their own idiosyncracies. i don't consider that "complex" myself.

2. not "true" minimalism?

there is a little bit of effort involved, of course, and it is a little hyperbolic to say organization without organizing in the sense of doing absolutely nothing at all. i suppose you could go a step further and simply put the date in the title of the note. or, you could go to a true extreme and refuse to title anything, and just use the created date to filter your search results. but, i think both of these methods are a little bit too minimalistic, even for me. so, yes, i agree that there is some effort. but, i don't know how a date and a few keywords (i prefer about three) can seem like an overly simple, or "overcomplexified" system.

3. doesn't work in practice?

it is quite easy to do (i think) and easy to use in practice. i have been using the system for about a decade (starting with paper and now moving into evernote) without a problem, so i am 100% that it works (at least for me and the people inspired to try it by the organizational guru who first developed the approach). if you find you need hierarchies and categories to organize things, then that is fine. maybe this isn't for you.

4. notebooks and tags the same?

i have, of course, tried systems with notebooks and tags. both of these features are incredibly useful, and i am especially impressed by evernote's decision to build their application around tags. everyone getting started with evernote ought to give both tools a try. fortunately, the system i am suggesting (a date and keywords) is 100% compatible with them, and when i decided to get rid of first notebooks, and then later tags, it was a smooth transition. perhaps may, if you give it a try, you might also end up sloughing off notebooks and tags :)

5. a rose by any other name?

there is certainly some overlap between the concept of tags and the one of keywords in a title, they seem quite different to me, and actually neither of them produces a hierarchy when used, and you don't need one to organize information. use any keyword you like, and don't worry about whether it is exactly the same as others you have used in the past (this would be one difference). for some things that regularly occur, like my daily journal, i am more consistent, and this is part of the customization (this would be one similarity). but, we are only talking about six or so words. i had many dozens of more notebooks and tags in my heyday. if there is anything to take away from what i am saying, it is that you do not need hierarchies and categories to stay organized.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
hi may. what an enthusiastic rejoinder you have given us! thank you

lol

GM,

I see your point, i.e. just organize everything by date and how often it is used... Except you do a lot more than that yourself...

Here is a description of the system:

"The gist of the Noguchi scheme is this: every single incoming document, no matter what it is, is placed in a large envelope, which is then placed on its edge on a shelf, so that all the envelopes line up in a horizontal row like books. New envelopes are inserted on the left side of the row, and any envelope that's taken out is put back on the left. After a while, those envelopes that contain the most recent and most often accessed documents will end up on the left side of the row, while the oldest and least used documents will be on the right. In theory, this makes documents easier to access, since they are automatically prioritized by frequency of use."

Why add another concepts like keywords and random codes and note links and etc. at all then?

Well, maybe this is why - a comment about this system:

"I have a lot of experience with the Noguchi method in the form of common desk piles and I can tell you that while it is efficient on the front end, it is very lacking in the retrieval of information. In my opinion, it is not a filing system. However, I could see it being workable if the number of documents in it is kept to a dozen or less and it is backed up by a real filing system"

Kind of makes sense... So your "real filing system" is basically the same as probably a lot of Evernote users, except you type the dates manually and use keywords which are also harder to add and manage instead of tags.

My point was really to demonstrate that we all end up doing the same thing, albeit in different ways. Maybe I failed? Does this make sense?

We all still organize things and also we do it the same technically (pretty much). There is no free lunch.

perhaps may, if you give it a try, you might also end up sloughing off notebooks and tags

I'm not going to give up tags because:

Keywords take more effort to type

That's pretty much it! Why would I want to spend additional effort for no real reason?

there is certainly some overlap between the concept of tags and the one of keywords in a title, they seem quite different to me

trust me, they're the same thing. Yes there's difference but it's only technical and not conceptual. You can treat and use them in exactly the same way. Tags are just easier to use and keywords have no advantage so sticking to keywords only is absolutely pointless. (I use both keywords and tags as I mentioned in previous post in this thread)

you can't really go wrong with tags, they're the most efficient way to organize notes in Evernote (considering its current design) and yes, I've looked at all of the imaginably possible ways to organize notes in Evernote.

Tags have no real disadvantages, they're just keywords and a way to group notes.

Your manual approach basically just adds complexity because keywords are harder to manage compared to tags and provide no benefits in return for additional effort... That's not true simplicity nor true minimalism. That's pretty much the only criticism from me about your system.

Tags are actually more minimalistic since you re-use each tag for multiple notes instead of re-typing the same keyword manually. In other words you actually input LESS data if you use tags. Tags are much tidier if that matters to you. But it certainly doesn't matter to me personally! Lol

Don't get me wrong though, I like your approach in general, i.e. to organize as little as possible and also rely on search and so on, I've mentioned it in my previous posts in this thread.

Share this post


Link to post

hi may. i take it that you don't have any titles then.otherwise, aren't you doing more work by adding tags?

:)

Share this post


Link to post

No, tags are different than titles (titles are always unique) and I don't manually re-type the same thing over and over (tags are the same and are reused for multiple notes). That's kind of the whole point of tags, i.e. they group notes while titles and their contents make them unique.

I don't type any more than 2-3 letters to process/organize about at least half of my notes.

More work compared to what? :)

You could say that I'm doing more work if you were not using keywords yourself. The thing is - you do. The difference is you re-type them manually while I don't... If you weren't using keywords then I'd have no criticism for your system at all.

Besides that, yep, in fact I actually don't write titles manually a lot (if not most) of the time either, title is generated automatically most of the time because I usually don't create notes in Evernote built in editor from scratch.

And If the title has the same word or phrase as tag then I don't add the tag or vice versa, there's no redundancy.

Share this post


Link to post

hi may. what an enthusiastic rejoinder you have given us! thank you :) it seems very much in the spirit of sir raleigh's poem, the lie.

Undoubtedly the most complex and cerebral post this forum has ever seen !! Makes Walter's scribble look like drivel. Thesis anyone?

No hijack intended...carry on

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I looked into the deepest depth of organization in its essence and what was seen cannot be unseen! lol

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

May and GM great insight in both posts...proves the point that Evernote can fit any "system" or personal organizational desires...FWIW after using the notebook and tag tool for over a year I found GM's fewer notebook and titles to be liberating...once I grasp all the search capabilities I think I will be even better off... in addition I was explaining the titling and index idea to my wife who cannot stand EN or why I love it....as I explained the index card idea she actually said...that makes sense I may have to start using Evernote :) GM the evangelist strikes again!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I looked into the deepest depth of organization in its essence and what was seen cannot be unseen! lol

You had me at "if a tree falls in the forest"

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

May and GM great insight in both posts...proves the point that Evernote can fit any "system" or personal organizational desires...FWIW after using the notebook and tag tool for over a year I found GM's fewer notebook and titles to be liberating...once I grasp all the search capabilities I think I will be even better off... in addition I was explaining the titling and index idea to my wife who cannot stand EN or why I love it....as I explained the index card idea she actually said...that makes sense I may have to start using Evernote :) GM the evangelist strikes again!!

I agree, the index note and links to other notes is probably the most intuitive way to organize notes but it's also the most overhyped imho. It takes too much work to be really viable when you consider the current Evernote design.

As far as I can see, GM main organizational methodology has really nothing to do with organizing notes via linking. They're just an addition in some (infrequent?) cases

it makes sense to use mixed approaches only as long as you use at least one of the approaches consistently and another one as an addition only. Otherwise you're going to run into problems because grouping (with keywords/random codes/tags) and linking are 2 different ways to organize and navigate things. And if you don't use your preferred organizational method consistently then you lose its benefits.

Share this post


Link to post

And If the title has the same word or phrase as tag then I don't add the tag or vice versa, there's no redundancy.

May, a technical point here.

IMO, if you use Tags, you should always apply the appropriate Tag regardless of whether or not it is also in the Title.

Otherwise a Search on "tag:<tagname>" will NOT return all of the Notes it should.

Conversely, a Search on only "intitle:<tagname>" will NOT return all of the Notes it should.

Since Evernote does NOT support Boolean search, you can't search for "tag:<tagname> OR intitle:<tagname>"

Share this post


Link to post
Since Evernote does NOT support Boolean search, you can't search for "tag:<tagname> OR intitle:<tagname>"

This is NOT TRUE. Evernote does support boolean searches, just not mixed and/or searches, and not using 'and' or 'or' operators. Evernote will categorically support: "any: tag:<tagname> intitle:<tagname>", which does exactly what you said it cannot do.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Since Evernote does NOT support Boolean search, you can't search for "tag:<tagname> OR intitle:<tagname>"

This is NOT TRUE. Evernote does support boolean searches, just not mixed and/or searches, and not using 'and' or 'or' operators. Evernote will categorically support: "any: tag:<tagname> intitle:<tagname>", which does exactly what you said it cannot do.

You are correct. Thanks for clarifying.

The problem is that you are unable to combine the "any" term with something else, say another tag, or another intitle term that you do want.

So, what you can NOT do is:

"(any: tag:<tagname> intitle:<tagname>) AND intitle:<somethingelse>"

If I were writing this in more traditional Boolean terms, it would be (which is NOT possible in Evernote):

"(tag:<tagname> OR intitle:<tagname>) AND intitle:<somethingelse>"

My main point above is that if you use Tags, you need to always apply the appropriate Tag to a Note even if it is in the Note Title in order to be sure that all of your future Searches will work as expected.

Share this post


Link to post

And If the title has the same word or phrase as tag then I don't add the tag or vice versa, there's no redundancy.

May, a technical point here.

IMO, if you use Tags, you should always apply the appropriate Tag regardless of whether or not it is also in the Title.

Otherwise a Search on "tag:<tagname>" will NOT return all of the Notes it should.

Conversely, a Search on only "intitle:<tagname>" will NOT return all of the Notes it should.

Since Evernote does NOT support Boolean search, you can't search for "tag:<tagname> OR intitle:<tagname>"

JM, good point even though it's slightly incorrect as Jefito pointed... I have thought of that though... I'm just not relying on a search operator "tag:" nor on a search for tags in the Fav Bar at all because it's too limited and has its own problems. I'm not relying on the tag list at all because it's too limited for me as well. I got away from it in my workflow.

If you search for "<tagname>" (with quotation marks, they're important) then you get results for both, i.e. notes with those tags and notes with those words/phrases. That's what I'm doing. Search ties it all together, it connects all of the notes.

My main point above is that if you use Tags, you need to always apply the appropriate Tag to a Note even if it is in the Note Title in order to be sure that all of your future Searches will work as expected.

Yeah, it's a good point but only as long as you rely on operator "tag:" or on a search for tags in the Fav Bar or on the Tag list.

I don't use them but I still use tags because they're easier and faster to add.

To keep track of some of the tags separately and search for tags separately I use "special" index notes, this makes it possible to overcome all of the limitations of tags and the Tag list in Evernote and gives more power and flexibility if/whenever I want it, I will write about it in more detail someday

Share this post


Link to post

If you search for "<tagname>" (with quotation marks, they're important) then you get results for both, i.e. notes with those tags and notes with those words/phrases. That's what I'm doing. Search ties it all together, it connects all of the notes.

Excellent point. I didn't know that. I thought it would search only the Title and Content of the Note.

Just to confirm, I looked it up in the Developers API doc:

Matching literal terms

If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index. Words in the content of the note are split by whitespace or punctuation. Words may end in a wildcard to match the start of a word. Searches are not case sensitive. (A wildcard is only permitted at the end of the term, not at the beginning or middle for scalability reasons on the service.) Multiple whitespace and/or punctuation characters in the quoted phrase or the note will be compared as if they were a single space. The backslash escape character ('\') may be used to escape a quotation mark within a quoted phrase

So that will work to find Notes with the keyword in either the Title or as a Tag.

However, it will also return Notes where the keyword is ONLY in the Contents.

Let's use the above example of "Bill".

A Search for "bill" would return Notes unrelated to House Bill or Senate Bill that have the fairly common word "bill" buried in the Note contents.

That is one of the advantages of Tags -- it gives you more precise control over the Notes returned in a Search.

A search for "tag:BT.*" should be very precise, and return ONLY legislative bills.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah, that's true, if I want to group notes and then search only for them very precisely later on - I add a tag which is not just some common single word... Makes sense? :)

I treat all of the "single common word" tags in the same way as just words in notes contents.

But yeah, if you want to search for a common single word but then get very precise results then you need to search specifically for notes with this tag, I can still do that if I wanted to (I'm not the one against tags lol!) but I never really had the need for this, I just rely on a precise search for precise results.

Share this post


Link to post

I actually had an opposite problem in the past and I think it's a much bigger issue btw, i.e. using a common single word as a tag for some of notes and then looking at notes with this tag and not seeing all of the additional relevant notes which you forgot to tag (trust me it happens all the time), there are lots of examples of this...

For example:

I want to see all notes which are related to "lizard brain" topic, and I've been tagging them consistently with this tag (as I mistakenly think) so I just look at the notes with "lizard brain" tag...

Here is the problem though...

I haven't accounted for notes which mention this topic even before I started proactively tagging things with "lizard brain" tag. For example I might have captured some article in the past which mentioned this topic before I was even interested in it and before I created a dedicated tag for it.

So my search results are incomplete. It's just one single example but it happens all the time you add anything to Evernote. It's impossible to organize everything in all of the useful ways and you never know what will be important for you later on.

In this sense every word of each note is metadata, anything could be a label. Everything you captured in the past is already "tagged" in the best way possible pretty much because every word could be used as a tag.

The more information you have, the better. Over-tagging is a myth. :) All you need is good search capabilities. The problem is never too much information, or even tags for that matter, the problem is filter failure.

Share this post


Link to post

I actually had an opposite problem in the past and I think it's a much bigger issue btw, i.e. using a common single word as a tag for some of notes and then looking at notes with this tag and not seeing all of the additional relevant notes which you forgot to tag (trust me it happens all the time), there are lots of examples of this...

As we have all stated, no system is perfect, and is only as good as the data you put into it.

There's a very old expression: GIGO

Whether you put keywords in the Title, Tags, or as part of the Note Content the searches you make later can be no more accruate than the data you put into the Note. Any system requires some discipline, even GM's "minimal" system.

Of course we will all occasionally forget to add the necessary KW.

Here is how I deal with this:

  1. When I do a Search with the Tag and don't find expected Notes, I do a search like this:
    <keyword> -tag:<keyword>
    • This finds all notes with the <keyword> in either the Title or Contents but NOT as a Tag
    • I then apply the <keyword> as a Tag to these Notes

  • Periodically, as I have time, I do a little Evernote maintinence and perform the above search/tag update

In this sense every word of each note is metadata, anything could be a label. Everything you captured in the past is already "tagged" in the best way possible pretty much because every word could be used as a tag.

The more information you have, the better. Over-tagging is a myth.

:)

I beg to differ with this. Prior to Google the Internet Search Engines were next to worthless because they returned way too many results and the results on top were rarely what you were looking for. That was because they were returning hits that were out of context to your intended search. I am still amazed at how good Google is, but it consistently manages to filter out the noise (pages that contain my search text, but are NOT related to what I want).

To me, Tags are used to specifically identify Notes directly related to that Tag. In some cases, the Note Content will NOT have the tag name as text. In other cases, the Tag Name will be in the Content, but the Note is NOT related to your meaning/use of the Tag.

When I do a search I want Evernote to return ONLY the Notes I am looking for.

I don't want to have to do further searches, or to manually review each Note to find the one I want.

Proper use of Tags will provide this.

In this sense, putting the keyword in the Title achieves the same thing, but I much prefer Tags for the reasons I stated at the beginning of this thread.

Share this post


Link to post

JM, I'm not giving up anything... It's not like I'm relying purely on search for words in notes, I do have manually curated specific categories as well.

Lack of control or precision in search results is never a problem for me because if I want to organize some specific bills to find them precisely later on - I just tag them with some specific precise tag, instead of just "bills".

Remembering this specific tag is never a problem. This is why you need hierarchies! To find things by BROWSING when you don't know exactly what you're looking for. This is impossible to do with search only or Noguchi scheme.

I just organize this specific tag as a sub-tag of "bills to pay" tag in an index note. Bam! Problem solved! (why and how - is a different topic)

Sure you can just go ahead and say "I don't need tags, I don't need hierarchies, and I get organized without organizing" but... That's kind of dishonest or silly... You either need to rely on your own memory then or just spend much more effort on the back end when retrieving information or both and so on.. There is no free lunch.

the searches you make later can be no more accruate than the data you put into the Note. Any system requires some discipline, even GM's "minimal" system.

exactly!

For me the goal is not to have a system which just sounds good but which provides the most benefit with the least amount of effort.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Sure you can just go ahead and say "I don't need tags, I don't need hierarchies, and I get organized without organizing" but... That's kind of dishonest or silly... You either need to rely on your own memory then or just spend much more effort on the back end when retrieving information or both and so on.. There is no free lunch.

For me the goal is not to have a system which just sounds good but which provides the most benefit with the least amount of effort.

again, we return to casting aspersions on my character? i thought we might have gotten past this by now. i believe i have been very open and honest about the pros and cons of my system (on my website, in this thread, and throughout the forums).

have you even taken the step of actually trying to use it? it is quite simple. really. you just title your note with a date and a few keywords. honestly.

i don't see why you are so obsessed with imposing hierarchies or determined to believe that i couldn't possibly be telling the truth about how i use an evernote-optimised version of a widely used organizational system that many people have used quite successfully. i would like to suggest here that admitting another system works does not invalidate your own. it is ok for you to have yours and me to have mine without one of us being a liar.

Share this post


Link to post

GM,sorry if my previous post offended you, I didn't mean to attack your personality, that's the last thing I'd want to do! I never said your system doesn't work either. I know It works. I actually like it, as I've mentioned in this thread on the first page, because it demonstrates how much you can do with just search.

Other than that, I never presented anything as my "own" system anywhere and I don't have any personal attachment to any system in particular.

I don't use hierarchical structure exactly myself, I do use a non-heirarchical networked structure.

Yes one can say that technically he doesn't need neither tags because they can be replaced with keywords, nor hierarchies and "organize without organizing" because Evernote organizes everything automatically for SEARCH.

But if you're just going to go ahead and say that and then stop there - that doesn't tell the complete story.

I think you'd agree with that! I didn't say/mean that this is what you actually do, GM!

My point was really that we all end up doing the same thing, albeit in different ways and with different amount of effort on the front end/back end.

Share this post


Link to post

GM,sorry if my previous post offended you, I didn't mean to attack your personality, that's the last thing I'd want to do! I never said your system doesn't work either. I know It works. I actually like it, as I've mentioned in this thread on the first page, because it demonstrates how much you can do with just search.

Other than that, I never presented anything as my "own" system anywhere and I don't have any personal attachment to any system in particular.

I don't use hierarchical structure exactly myself, I do use a non-heirarchical networked structure.

Yes one can say that technically he doesn't need neither tags because they can be replaced with keywords, nor hierarchies and "organize without organizing" because Evernote organizes everything automatically for SEARCH.

But if you're just going to go ahead and say that and then stop there - that doesn't tell the complete story.

I think you'd agree with that! I didn't say/mean that this is what you actually do, GM!

My point was really that we all end up doing the same thing, albeit in different ways and with different amount of effort on the front end/back end.

you have used the word dishonesty twice, and suggested a lie of omission now (not telling the complete story). if i am not doing this, then why do you keep suggesting it? perhaps i am reading too much into your posts. i will drop the matter here.

anyhow, thanks for the kind words. i think we disagree about who puts more effort into their respective systems, though, because i don't see that at all, but that may simple be a result of inefficient time management on my part. notebooks and tags, as useful as they undoubtedly are, tend to sap my energy and time. somehow, whatever limitations they have, a date and a few keywords don't. that may be my own idiosyncracies at work.

Share this post


Link to post
notebooks and tags, as useful as they undoubtedly are, tend to sap my energy and time. somehow, whatever limitations they have, a date and a few keywords don't. that may be my own idiosyncracies at work.

all we need to organize anything into any kind of structure are notes and search. That's it. It's how we use them that really matters.

Notebooks, tags, keywords, random codes are all the same thing in a sense that they're just attributes of notes and a way to organize them by GROUPING.

They're just content of notes. Do you realize that all you're limiting is actually just content of notes?

The problem is never too much information, the problem is filter failure.

The solution you're using is just basically limiting information even when it's helpful because you can't manage it efficiently.

This is where your approach takes more effort (besides manually typing and re-typing keywords and dates all the time) because you always have to remember exactly what to search for... This is the price you pay for relying only on SEARCH.

Is it worth it? It really depends... Would people benefit more from relying on search? Sure. But it doesn't have to be one VS the other. You can use both.

I think it all comes down to - how much do you want to rely on your own brain to store information. Or whether you expect yourself to always remember exactly what to search for.

I can just write down and define some BROWSABLE categories in a matter of seconds which would save me much more time and effort later on because I won't have to remember what exactly to search for all the time

Hope this makes sense

Here is an interesting article

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/books/review/is-the-brain-good-at-what-it-does.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

"What is new, however, is Buonomano’s focus on the mechanisms of memory, especially its “associative architecture,” as the main causes of the brain’s bugs. “The human brain stores factual knowledge about the world in a relational manner,” he explains. “That is, an item is stored in relation to other items, and its meaning is derived from the items to which it is associated.”"

Share this post


Link to post

thanks may. a note has to have a title, so i don't see making a title as a waste of time. the date in the title is my "associative architecture." the keywords are about three words. if this seems terribly time consuming, then it might be a good idea to get one of those text completion applications.

as for your other points, i think i have addressed those earlier. as you said, it doesn't have to be one (notebooks and tags) versus the other (date + keywords, index notes, and random codes). in fact, as i mentioned earlier, i used to have notebooks and tags, and they worked quite fine with my methods. i found didn't need them anymore, though, so i dropped them. other people may well find they need them, and that is great :)

Share this post


Link to post
the keywords are about three words. if this seems terribly time consuming, then it might be a good idea to get one of those text completion applications.

or just use tags :)

Sometimes I use more than 3 words as tags, now imagine processing even just 20 notes and typing and re-typing all of the keywords all the time... Not to mention processing hundrends of notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted · Hidden by GrumpyMonkey, March 27, 2012 - No reason given
Hidden by GrumpyMonkey, March 27, 2012 - No reason given
the keywords are about three words. if this seems terribly time consuming, then it might be a good idea to get one of those text completion applications.

or just use tags :)

Sometimes I use more than 3 words as tags, now imagine processing even just 20 notes and typing and re-typing all of the keywords all the time... Not to mention processing hundrends of notes.

titles or tags? i think i will choose titles. i have thousands of notes, and i never found titling the notes with keywords to be terribly burdensome. again, as you said, it doesn't have to be either/or. if you like the tags (and there is a lot to like about them), then by all means, enjoy :)

Share this post


Link to post
the keywords are about three words. if this seems terribly time consuming, then it might be a good idea to get one of those text completion applications.

or just use tags :)

Sometimes I use more than 3 words as tags, now imagine processing even just 20 notes and typing and re-typing all of the keywords all the time... Not to mention processing hundrends of notes.

tags or titles? i choose titles, because i don't find "untitled note" and a bunch of tags to be as useful.

to reiterate my main point:

date + keywords hard-codes organization (chronological) into the notes, so you are always organized in some way, no matter what other systems you layer on top of it (tags, notebooks, random codes, or index notes). you can stop there with the title, or go on and add more, depending on your situation.

as jm has mentioned, this isn't perfect. it makes it impossible, for example, to sort things alphabetically (see my exceptions for notes that do get sorted alphabetically). but, at least in my case, the trade-off is worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
tags or titles? i choose titles, because i don't find "untitled note" and a bunch of tags to be as useful.

Right...

GM, when you use tags you can add title to the title field instead of being forced to write real titles in the body of notes.

Besides, I'm not tagging every note, if the title or the body of a note already has all the keywords then I'm not adding tags. There is no additional work or redundancy.

I'm not choosing between one or the other. Anything could be metadata, I just don't want to re-type things over and over and I don't have a goal to avoid a certain feature (tags) for no real reason, that's all.

Share this post


Link to post

If you search for "<tagname>" (with quotation marks, they're important) then you get results for both, i.e. notes with those tags and notes with those words/phrases. That's what I'm doing. Search ties it all together, it connects all of the notes.

If you search for "<tagname>" (with quotation marks, they're important) then you get results for both, i.e. notes with those tags and notes with those words/phrases. That's what I'm doing. Search ties it all together, it connects all of the notes.

Excellent point. I didn't know that. I thought it would search only the Title and Content of the Note.

Just to confirm, I looked it up in the Developers API doc:

Matching literal terms

If no advanced search modifier is found in a search term, it will be matched against the note as a text content search. Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase in the note contents, note title, tag name, or recognition index. Words in the content of the note are split by whitespace or punctuation. Words may end in a wildcard to match the start of a word. Searches are not case sensitive. (A wildcard is only permitted at the end of the term, not at the beginning or middle for scalability reasons on the service.) Multiple whitespace and/or punctuation characters in the quoted phrase or the note will be compared as if they were a single space. The backslash escape character ('\') may be used to escape a quotation mark within a quoted phrase

So that will work to find Notes with the keyword in either the Title or as a Tag.

However, it will also return Notes where the keyword is ONLY in the Contents.

Sorry to detour from the conversation above, but the parts I've just quoted don't work for me. Every time I search [word] and ["word"] (substituting brackets for where I would normally use quotes there), the second search yields fewer results, which it shouldn't do if I understand you two right.

For example, I recently created a tag "Exercise," and I haven't populated it with any old notes, so right now it has one note, which contains the word "exercise" in the note body. When I search for [exercise], I get 383 notes. When I search for ["exercise"], I get 326 notes. They should both be 383, right? Any idea what's going on here? Screen shots here for [exercise] and ["exercise"], so you can see the note count and whether I'm doing something wrong.

On top of that, searching [exercise] on the web client yields 385 results, and searching ["exercise"] yields 328. What's going on?

Share this post


Link to post

Search for exercise WITHOUT quotations marks will find notes with words like "exerciseS"/"exerciseED" and etc.

Search for "exercise" (WITH quotations marks) will find notes with the exact word "exercise" only.

Quotations marks result in a more precise search

Share this post


Link to post

Search for exercise WITHOUT quotations marks will find notes with words like "exerciseS"/"exerciseED" and etc.

Search for "exercise" (WITH quotations marks) will find notes with the exact word "exercise" only.

Quotations marks result in a more precise search

I agree this is how it works, but it seems inconsistent with the Search API documentation, which states:

Words may end in a wildcard to match the start of a word

IOW, searching for 'exercise' should return only EXACT matches for that word.

Searching for 'exercise*' should match all words that begin with 'exercise'

Words or quoted phrases must exactly match a word or phrase . . .

The double-quote marks are supposed to be used to match phrases like "exercise equipment"

Share this post


Link to post

Can't remember where this popped up, it was awhile ago, somewhere in the forums,and possibly when Dave E walked the lands, but as I recall it, searches that use the API use the exact text search. Clients use the API also, but -- the Windows client anyways -- silently appends a '*' to non quote-enclosed text items to make partial matches work, a convenience to the user.

So, if you're using the API, a search on abc searches for exact matches of "search"; a search on abc* returns partial matches.

In the Windows client, a search on abc submits abc* to the API (Evernote uses the API internally too) and you get a partial match. Whereas, if you search on "abc", the client submits abc to the API, and you get exact matches.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Bingo: Seth's posts from http://discussion.evernote.com/topic/17028-api-updated/ are what I remembered.

The desktop clients aren't taking what you type into the search bar and using that as the verbatim search query. Although you can't see it, they're actually appending the wildcard to what you type, such that entering "potato" into the search bar results in a formal search of "potato*". This is done because it's usually what a user wants, and because it simplifies showing results as you type...you'll notice that you don't have to type Enter or click a button to execute the search.

The formal search grammar and the findNotes API, on the other hand, operate as described in the API Overview.

-- and --

I think it's better phrased as:

Searches performed via the API use the formal search grammar and are intended to be driven by programs. Searches performed using an Evernote application may not use the formal search grammar directly, but rather simplify it to be more accessible to a human user.

Share this post


Link to post

Here is some additional discussion on a point I made about searches (using the frequently mentioned potato example).

http://discussion.ev...dpost__p__73293

and

http://discussion.ev...dpost__p__84504

From your second link:

The desktop clients aren't taking what you type into the search bar and using that as the verbatim search query. Although you can't see it, they're actually appending the wildcard to what you type, such that entering "potato" into the search bar results in a formal search of "potato*". This is done because it's usually what a user wants, and because it simplifies showing results as you type...you'll notice that you don't have to type Enter or click a button to execute the search.

I challenge that this behavior is "usually what a user wants."

With over 20 million users, I just don't know how Evernote could know this.

In any case, it is certainly NOT what I want.

We have the wildcard that can be used if in fact that is what we want.

So, if I want an exact search, I have to put the term in quotes?

Much harder to do and harder to remember.

So, if I have multiple terms, do I put each in quotes?

Where is this formally documented?

Of course, nowhere.

This raises another issue: The terrible, out of date, erroneous documentation that Evernote offers.

IMO and in my experience, the Evernote documentation is the worst of any software I have ever used.

And although there is a lot if information in these forums, it has hard to find.

I have been extremely frustrated with the forum search and with the EN KB search.

A Google search with "evernote" and a few terms does a better job than either.

Evernote has had a lot of funding for a couple of years now.

Surely they could have afforded to put at least one competent technical writer on the job full time until the docs are up to date.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for all the answers.

But can an Evernote employee or user who understands the logic behind this explain why searching "exercise" is actually applied as "exercise*," but "tag:exer" is not applied as "tag:exer*"? What's the reason for the difference?

Share this post


Link to post
But can an Evernote employee or user who understands the logic behind this explain why searching "exercise" is actually applied as "exercise*," but "tag:exer" is not applied as "tag:exer*"? What's the reason for the difference?

The 'exercise' --> 'exercise*' bit is straightforward, and is as explained

The 'tag:exer' handling, I can take a guess at: if deliberate, then it's because the assumption is that the user took the trouble to type in an advanced operator, and it should be honored as such (i.e., passed straight through to the search engine). Either that or it's an oversight. :) Remember, in general, the search grammar is the arbiter (all searches go through the search grammar eventually), but convenience features can be added to the clients' interpretation of search strings. Obviously such policies should be documented so that the clever among us who go running to the search grammar don't get our bike shorts in a bunch...

Interesting sidelight: if you just search on plain old exer, not only do you get a search on exer*, but you actually seem to get a search like: exec* tag:exec* intitle:exer*, at least in the Windows client, something I hadn't really realized, or at least noticed. I did know that plain old search included content, titles and tags, just hadn't figured on the '*' wrinkle.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
But can an Evernote employee or user who understands the logic behind this explain why searching "exercise" is actually applied as "exercise*," but "tag:exer" is not applied as "tag:exer*"? What's the reason for the difference?

The 'exercise' --> 'exercise*' bit is straightforward, and is as explained

The 'tag:exer' handling, I can take a guess at: if deliberate, then it's because the assumption is that the user took the trouble to type in an advanced operator, and it should be honored as such (i.e., passed straight through to the search engine). Either that or it's an oversight. :)

My guess is that it's an oversight or a compromise...

Search for tags specifically, i.e. search with the tag:"whatever" operator is very limited imho. This is one of the reasons I got away from using it in my workflow.

For example:

You have to always remember the beginning of the tag's name and you can't use a wildcard in the beginning... If you have some notes tagged with a tag "payments category" then a search for tag:category doesn't find anything. Even though it's not a problem for me anymore - it used to be in the past.

Search for "category" obviously finds everything, even notes which are only tagged with "payments category" tag and don't have those words in title or body.

Interesting sidelight: if you just search on plain old exer, not only do you get a search on exer*, but you actually seem to get a search like: exec* tag:exec* intitle:exer*, at least in the Windows client, something I hadn't really realized, or at least noticed. I did know that plain old search included content, titles and tags, just hadn't figured on the '*' wrinkle.

I think search is one of those things they want to keep 100% consistent across all clients... which makes sense otherwise it's going to get very inconvenient and confusing

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with both of you that these things are not a big deal if they are (a) well documented, and (b ) consistent across platforms. Unfortunately, Evernote's current search documentation leads to a lot of user guessing and surprise discoveries. Sigh. Hopefully they'll improve that soon.

Share this post


Link to post

I just posted this in another topic:

For me, it's inconsistent. If I search for ["how to"], I get the results you do: any note that contains both "how" and "to," though not necessarily consecutively. If I search [how to], the real applied search grammar is [how* to]. But if I search ["group recommends"], that pulls up the only note in my account with those two words consecutively, while [group recommends] pulls up all notes (25) with both of those words, though not necessarily consecutively. Can anyone explain this?

Can anyone explain the answer to my question above and/or why, on the Mac client at least, when searching [how to] the "how" gets the wildcard appended and the "to" doesn't? Searching that returns lots of notes with "Howard" and "however," but not with "together," etc.

EDIT: It seems I was wrong and that "to" is also getting the wildcard. But I have a new question to take the place of that one: When I search [how to -"how"], I get results that include "how." Shouldn't that search give me results that have "to" and "Howard," "however," etc., but not "how"? What explains my results?

Share this post


Link to post

Searching is the most frustrating aspect I've encountered since using Evernote.

It's simply too complicated...and shouldn't be.

Share this post


Link to post

Just discovered this topic and read the interview.

Penny dropping time again - storing todays To Do's in the same note as your Journal. Such a simple and terrific idea! Why the ***** didn't I think of that?

:)

Share this post


Link to post

Just discovered this topic and read the interview.

Penny dropping time again - storing todays To Do's in the same note as your Journal. Such a simple and terrific idea! Why the ***** didn't I think of that?

:)

hi. i am glad to see the interview was helpful.

the system works well for me, and i certainly feel better organized. i noticed in the other thread that you are still casting about for ideas. what i generally do is create a journal entry for each day and put things into it. see these two pages and the template below for more.

http://www.princeton.edu/~cmayo/minimalistorganization.html

http://www.princeton.edu/~cmayo/evernote-organization.html

but, to be honest, evernote is not the speediest thing in the world on the mobile platform. so, you may not want to go through the hassle of opening the note every time you need to add something to do. one alternative is to use something like the mail app. email yourself a note (obviously, you'll want to have your evernote address saved in contacts for this). just put "120522 journal" in the subject line. this will create several journal entries for the same day, but that is no big deal, because it all lines up chronologically when you view it in evernote. you can combine the "todo" notes into one later on if you'd like. the point is that future events mailed into your account this way will still show up in their proper place, so you know what you have to do. this is, by the way, a very quick way to get info into your app. if someone emails you about a meeting, it is even faster! just forward the email with "120521 journal" in the subject line :)

as for searching, i don't think this is complicated at all (rockky's point). a search for "intitle:journal" will bring up all of the journal entries. sort alphabetically and you have your schedule lined up in chronological order. i have this as a saved search, and just click on it (mobile or desktop) to bring it all up. i consider this to be infinitely less complex than messing around with google calendar, even if i do miss out on some of the cool stuff there (alerts and so forth). it isn't worth the trouble for me.

here is the template i use.

--- SCHEDULE ----

-

--- RESEARCH ---

-

--- CROSS REFERENCE (Evernote Note Links)---

-

====================

--- DIARY ---

-

--- HEALTH LOG ---

WEIGHT (lbs.):

SLEEP (hrs):

GOALS:

--------------------

DIET:

-

--------------------

CARDIO:

WEIGHTS:

--------------------

CONDITION:

====================

--- RANDOM CHARACTER CODE ---

- k6LBL5nKam journal

Share this post


Link to post

Some more good tips, Grumpy :)

I've been journalling for a few weeks now in EN and it's working really well. I'm also using IFTTT to auto send stuff like Foursquare checkins, my walks etc, and I then add these new notes as a link in the days journal so I can build up a complete picture of what happened on a given day.

Good idea re just emailing a new note in. As you say, that would be quick and it wouldn't really matter if I didn't have a 3G signal, as it'll just send as soon as I reconnect. Might give that a try for a while.

Share this post


Link to post

Some more good tips, Grumpy :)

I've been journalling for a few weeks now in EN and it's working really well. I'm also using IFTTT to auto send stuff like Foursquare checkins, my walks etc, and I then add these new notes as a link in the days journal so I can build up a complete picture of what happened on a given day.

Good idea re just emailing a new note in. As you say, that would be quick and it wouldn't really matter if I didn't have a 3G signal, as it'll just send as soon as I reconnect. Might give that a try for a while.

i hope it helps! as long as you put the date in the title like that along with the keyword, it will organize itself. a truly minimalist method might be to just email a note with no subject at all, and to rely on the created date for arranging in chronological order. however, this makes future-dating tough (one could go back and edit the created date, but that is far more hassle than i am willing to put up with). i figure putting the date / keyword in the subject line is a decent compromise.

Share this post


Link to post

Why not use combo if both? Title the notes with the YYMMDD and then instead of keywords just make a regular title and then tag it. Now u can sort by chrono as GM suggests AND have tags.

Share this post


Link to post

Why not use combo if both? Title the notes with the YYMMDD and then instead of keywords just make a regular title and then tag it. Now u can sort by chrono as GM suggests AND have tags.

I agree. My method is the minimal amount of effort I think is needed to ensure your notes are organized and (if needed) easily exported and used in another app (unique titles necessary). This is enough for me, but there is no reason you couldn't use tags and notebooks as well.

Share this post


Link to post

Why not use combo if both? Title the notes with the YYMMDD and then instead of keywords just make a regular title and then tag it. Now u can sort by chrono as GM suggests AND have tags.

I agree. My method is the minimal amount of effort I think is needed to ensure your notes are organized and (if needed) easily exported and used in another app (unique titles necessary). This is enough for me, but there is no reason you couldn't use tags and notebooks as well.

I may play with adding tags too. But I'm loving the date format. Looks neat. Could you go over quick again how you sort and how future dated notes pop up on correct dates? I.e. how do you get todays dated note be at top or forefront on today. Seems like if sort chronological the ones with the most future dates will be at top always or older ones at top if reversed.

Share this post


Link to post

Sorry for the slightly-off topic post, but I'm just seeing this now. Nice article, and Grumpy - I like the cut of your Evenote jib :D

Will definitely heed some of this advice and apply it to my own system.

Thanks to you both for a great interview and article.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Why not use combo if both? Title the notes with the YYMMDD and then instead of keywords just make a regular title and then tag it. Now u can sort by chrono as GM suggests AND have tags.

I agree. My method is the minimal amount of effort I think is needed to ensure your notes are organized and (if needed) easily exported and used in another app (unique titles necessary). This is enough for me, but there is no reason you couldn't use tags and notebooks as well.

I may play with adding tags too. But I'm loving the date format. Looks neat. Could you go over quick again how you sort and how future dated notes pop up on correct dates? I.e. how do you get todays dated note be at top or forefront on today. Seems like if sort chronological the ones with the most future dates will be at top always or older ones at top if reversed.

Hi. Glad you are finding the concept useful.

I use YYMMDD for everything, and I have a daily journal I create each morning (if one doesn't already exist). Today's would be titled 121005 journal friday. If I have something to do tomorrow (October 6) I will create a note titled 121006 journal saturday. So, tomorrow when I wake up and open Evernote, I see my TODO list (naturally, I link to related notes in the future and past). On Sunday, if I wake up and no note titled "121007 journal sunday" exists, then I know I have nothing planned.

If you have a particularly hectic schedule, I suppose you could make a note for every event with the time, and this would give you more knowledge about your day at a glance in the snippet or list view. For example, "121005 journal friday 0900 meeting John" and "121005 journal friday 1200 meeting Mike." When you are in Evernote, you just "sort" by title (reverse order) to see everything lined up chronologically. A saved search for "intitle:journal" makes this process a little easier, but you still have to fiddle with the sort order (Evernote won't yet let us assign a sort order to tags, notebooks, or saved searches).

It works pretty well for me, and is a modification of jbenson's modification of "created" dates, whereby he postdates these to affect the sort order (sort by "created" instead of "title"). The concept is the same, but there are a few problems with it for me. It has become rather troublesome to change created dates on the Mac, and you cannot change them on the iPad, so it wouldn't fit my workflow. In addition, I want the option (I have had to use it the last few days) of exporting all of my notes and using them in a note editor, where the metadata (like created dates) gets lost in the conversion from .html to .txt (don't worry if this doesn't make sense -- most people don't need to migrate in and out of Evernote).

The fly in the ointment is the iPad. There is no reverse sort, so you have to scroll through an ever larger number of notes to get to "today". I think I have over a thousand of these now. It is exceedingly frustrating, especially without a list view (you can see just 4 notes at a time on the iPad, and in an account of 10,000 notes, this is an agonizingly small window into your external brain -- only Windows actually shows a decent amount in vertical list view). The workaround is to put something like "intitle:"1210*" intitle:journal" as a saved search. This will pull up all journal entries for October. I can work with this :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Why not use combo if both? Title the notes with the YYMMDD and then instead of keywords just make a regular title and then tag it. Now u can sort by chrono as GM suggests AND have tags.

I agree. My method is the minimal amount of effort I think is needed to ensure your notes are organized and (if needed) easily exported and used in another app (unique titles necessary). This is enough for me, but there is no reason you couldn't use tags and notebooks as well.

I may play with adding tags too. But I'm loving the date format. Looks neat. Could you go over quick again how you sort and how future dated notes pop up on correct dates? I.e. how do you get todays dated note be at top or forefront on today. Seems like if sort chronological the ones with the most future dates will be at top always or older ones at top if reversed.

Hi. Glad you are finding the concept useful.

I use YYMMDD for everything, and I have a daily journal I create each morning (if one doesn't already exist). Today's would be titled 121005 journal friday. If I have something to do tomorrow (October 6) I will create a note titled 121006 journal saturday. So, tomorrow when I wake up and open Evernote, I see my TODO list (naturally, I link to related notes in the future and past). On Sunday, if I wake up and no note titled "121007 journal sunday" exists, then I know I have nothing planned.

If you have a particularly hectic schedule, I suppose you could make a note for every event with the time, and this would give you more knowledge about your day at a glance in the snippet or list view. For example, "121005 journal friday 0900 meeting John" and "121005 journal friday 1200 meeting Mike." When you are in Evernote, you just "sort" by title (reverse order) to see everything lined up chronologically. A saved search for "intitle:journal" makes this process a little easier, but you still have to fiddle with the sort order (Evernote won't yet let us assign a sort order to tags, notebooks, or saved searches).

It works pretty well for me, and is a modification of jbenson's modification of "created" dates, whereby he postdates these to affect the sort order (sort by "created" instead of "title"). The concept is the same, but there are a few problems with it for me. It has become rather troublesome to change created dates on the Mac, and you cannot change them on the iPad, so it wouldn't fit my workflow. In addition, I want the option (I have had to use it the last few days) of exporting all of my notes and using them in a note editor, where the metadata (like created dates) gets lost in the conversion from .html to .txt (don't worry if this doesn't make sense -- most people don't need to migrate in and out of Evernote).

The fly in the ointment is the iPad. There is no reverse sort, so you have to scroll through an ever larger number of notes to get to "today". I think I have over a thousand of these now. It is exceedingly frustrating, especially without a list view (you can see just 4 notes at a time on the iPad, and in an account of 10,000 notes, this is an agonizingly small window into your external brain -- only Windows actually shows a decent amount in vertical list view). The workaround is to put something like "intitle:"1210*" intitle:journal" as a saved search. This will pull up all journal entries for October. I can work with this :)

So in reverse order, if you have a lot of "future" notes, you will have to scroll through them to get to "Today" ?? Correct...?

How do you handle on iPad based on your above description of their sort deficiency?

Update: I have been considering moving to android, specifically a Samsung galaxy 3 and saw a friends this morning and it would sort just like the desktop client. You can even save shortcuts to saved searches directly to the desktop so u can just click on the shortcut vs opening the app, going to searches etc. pretty cool.

Share this post


Link to post

I saw this thread and thought, "This will be a nice quick weekend read..." and turns out it's two days later and I haven't even had a chance to visit any of the numerous links people have added in. I first wanted to say thanks to everyone for chiming in and making thread so insightful. Especially GM!

A few things off the top of my head. I agree with JMichael about tags instead of keywords. I'm worried about typos etc, but what really seems to get me is when I forget what keyword I use, and I end up with two or three synonyms of keywords. I end up with House, Home, 123 Main Street and it ends up a total mess. I still sometimes do this with tags, but it's easier to find this mistake and correct it. Untagging and retagging is

much easier than changing note titles (at least on the desktop clients).

I have a few notebooks specifically for Offline Notebooks. I'm on my phone or tablet mostly on the weekends or when travelling. Often I try to catch up on reading web clips or articles from Clearly when I have 5 or 10 minutes of down time (I've been trying to do this instead of play Angry Birds or some tower defense game). I also use notebooks for sharing a set of notes with various other people. I have a shared notebook of recipes, etc with various friends and a few project related notebooks.

Most of my notes though, go untagged into my default notebooks. This is the "lazy" part of me triumphing over the tidy part.

I find that I usually remember things in a very rough chronological order. That usually means as I'm browsing I'll usually find a sort of "landmark" note and be able to say, "ah, the note I'm looking for was before this, I'll keep going" or at some point realize, "nope, I'm now at Christmas of last year, I've gone too far." For more some notes, I'll be able to get a relevant date from outside Evernote. For example I'll be looking for a receipt and remember "Oh, I bought this because so-and-so emailed me about it and recommended it." I then look up that email, find the date and look for the receipt dated shortly after that.

The next most useful to me is what "type" of note this was. It's a loose definition, but the categories in my head are usually: Web Clip (or Clearly), File, note from mobile vs desktop, to-do, note with encryption, note sent in via email. A few saved searches help make sure I can filter down this way on mobile clients.

If a generic search doesn't bring up what I want, a combination of time and "type" let me find almost everything else I need to look for.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

We cannot as of yet include ALL notes with either tag:Example1 or tag:Example2 in the same search. Wish we could include multiple notebooks (outside of stacks) and multiple tags in the same search results... but sadly not.

The search "any: tag:Example1 tag:Example2" doesn't work for you? It should.

Share this post


Link to post

 

We cannot as of yet include ALL notes with either tag:Example1 or tag:Example2 in the same search. Wish we could include multiple notebooks (outside of stacks) and multiple tags in the same search results... but sadly not.

The search "any: tag:Example1 tag:Example2" doesn't work for you? It should.

 

 

Thanks Jefito! I've been schooled. That's good to know that one can in fact include two tags in one search. Just tried it and it does in fact work. That settles it then. I will delete my previous comment to avoid confusion. Any way to do the same for multiple notebooks? Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post

 

 

We cannot as of yet include ALL notes with either tag:Example1 or tag:Example2 in the same search. Wish we could include multiple notebooks (outside of stacks) and multiple tags in the same search results... but sadly not.

The search "any: tag:Example1 tag:Example2" doesn't work for you? It should.

 

 

Thanks Jefito! I've been schooled. That's good to know that one can in fact include two tags in one search. Just tried it and it does in fact work. That settles it then. I will delete my previous comment to avoid confusion. Any way to do the same for multiple notebooks? Cheers!

 

No worries, the search language isn't all that complex, but it's not obvious either. As far as searching multiple notebooks, the only way to search a subset of all of your notebooks is to include them in a stack, and search the stack (e.g., "stack:MyStack").

Share this post


Link to post

No worries, the search language isn't all that complex, but it's not obvious either. As far as searching multiple notebooks, the only way to search a subset of all of your notebooks is to include them in a stack, and search the stack (e.g., "stack:MyStack").

 

 

Just as I thought... didn't know whether I was missing something outside of Stacks though. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post

This this the first I've seen of the thread and the interviwed link for GM' interview is no longer valid. Does anyone know where I can get a copy?

Thanks,

Wordsgood

Share this post


Link to post

I have been fiddling around with multiple notebooks, stacks and tags since I discovered Evernote. I have wrestled with gtd and " The Secret Weapon." Nothing really worked for me. Then I stumbled upon GMs system, the heavens opened and the Angels sang. I implemented it immediately, with some adaptations. I keep my action items in a separate notebook and use checkboxes to mark done, then move them to a "Completed" notebook. The tasks of reclassifying all my old notes is daunting, though I have done quite a few and deleted some notebooks. I love the index card system, and having a single search. Kudos to GRumpy Monkey.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I have been fiddling around with multiple notebooks, stacks and tags since I discovered Evernote. I have wrestled with gtd and " The Secret Weapon." Nothing really worked for me. Then I stumbled upon GMs system, the heavens opened and the Angels sang. I implemented it immediately, with some adaptations. I keep my action items in a separate notebook and use checkboxes to mark done, then move them to a "Completed" notebook. The tasks of reclassifying all my old notes is daunting, though I have done quite a few and deleted some notebooks. I love the index card system, and having a single search. Kudos to GRumpy Monkey.

glad my approach helped out! if you have some time, maybe you could describe your adaptations in more detail. i imagine there are plenty of people out there who'd like to know more.

Share this post


Link to post

GM has a good system for some, but many of us continue to believe that entering your keywords as Tags rather than words in the Title offer significant advantages.  Before you commit to any one system, you may want to consider the various options.

 

BTW, use of Tags does NOT have to be as complex and difficult as described above.

It is just as simple to enter your keywords as Tags as it is to enter in the Note Title.  In fact, it may be easier/simpler since with Tags you can take advantage of the autocomplete feature.

 

For more info, see The Benefit of Using Tags

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

My problem was not with the concept of tags, but my use of them. I am, I'm afraid to admit, a tag abuser. I had so many they stopped making sense or bring useful. I messed around with the system, including TSW, which almost drove me back to pen and paper. The GM's system is so minimalist and logical, that for me, it eliminates all that rearranging, stacking etc. I know tags work for most people, but I work better with keywords in the title and one simple search.

I will post the detais of my system when I have finalized it.

Share this post


Link to post

My problem was not with the concept of tags, but my use of them. I am, I'm afraid to admit, a tag abuser. I had so many they stopped making sense or bring useful. 

 

Putting your keywords in the Note Title doesn't change this one bit.  If you had too many tags, then you will have too many different Title keywords.

 

For example, if one time you use "car" and then another time you use "auto" in the Title, then you will have trouble finding all your Notes about your car (or automobile) :-)   When you use Tags, EN will prompt you with existing Tags.  So, if you had been using "car" as the tag, and then, for some reason, you typed in "auto" you would NOT get any suggested tags, and you would remember (hopefully) that you should use "car", which EN will find.   ;)

 

Now if you did accidentally use both "car" and "auto" on different Notes, it would be very easy to select all Notes with the Tag "auto" (for example), then apply the Tag "car", then delete the Tag "auto" (in one place, the Tags view).  If you want to change a keyword in a Note Title, you have to do it manually, one Note at a time.   :(

 

Since EN allows you to have 100,000 tags, it is unlikely you will ever reach the limit.

 

But I wish you the best of luck in whichever approach you choose.

 

EDIT:  Corrected the # of tags, per GM.

Edited by JMichael

Share this post


Link to post

 

My problem was not with the concept of tags, but my use of them. I am, I'm afraid to admit, a tag abuser. I had so many they stopped making sense or bring useful. 

 

Putting your keywords in the Note Title doesn't change this one bit.  If you had too many tags, then you will have too many different Title keywords.

 

For example, if one time you use "car" and then another time you use "auto" in the Title, then you will have trouble finding all your Notes about your car (or automobile) :-)   When you use Tags, EN will prompt you with existing Tags.  So, if you had been using "car" as the tag, and then, for some reason, you typed in "auto" you would NOT get any suggested tags, and you would remember (hopefully) that you should use "car", which EN will find.   ;)

 

Now if you did accidently use both "car" and "auto" on different Notes, it would be very easy to select all Notes with the Tag "auto" (for example), then apply the Tag "car", then delete the Tag "auto" (in one place, the Tags view).  If you want to change a keyword in a Note Title, you have to do it manually, one Note at a time.   :(

 

Since EN allows you to have 10,000 tags, it is unlikely you will ever reach the limit.

 

But I wish you the best of luck in whichever approach you choose.

 

 

Evernote allows for 100,000 tags. I think tags are wonderful, I encourage everyone to tag if it works for them, and I don't see why they can't be used in conjunction with the system I proposed, but I also think there are other ways to go about organizing things, and I've had a lot of success with information rich titles. Your mileage may vary.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

×
×
  • Create New...