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JeffOnWire

ANSWERED Date-Tag a Note or Change the Date of a Note?

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I'm entering notes about events that happened in the past, and trying to organize several notes together using tags (because you can't nest notebooks?). I'm thinking (probably wrongly, as I'm sure will be pointed out soon) that it would be handy to somehow "date" these notes, either by changing the date of the note from today to the actual event date, or or somehow else "date-tag" the notes. Any way to do this?

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Sure, just change the Creation Date, which can be accessed by the Info screen

(Mac:  CMD-SHIFT-I   Win: F8).  You can also click on the "i" button in the Note toolbar.

 

I do this all the time, and even have an AppleScript to automate it for EN Mac.

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Although this EN KB article  states that F8 will "Toggle display of note info panel", I can't seem to make that work with EN Win 5.7.2 running under Parallels on a Mac.

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The Date Created and Date Modified fields should only be used for their intended purpose. - You should not "redefine" or mix the information in those fields to get som other information into your Evernote note. It is against basic normalization rules for data. Because some times the "Date Created" really is the "Date Created" and sometimes it is an artificial "sorting date" if you use one of the suggestions here. But you cannot know later, if a particular date was intended to be "Date Created" or if it was intended to be a "sorting date". So all date information becomes meaningless in that field afterwards.

The Topic creator is right. We miss an extra field for sorting and selection purposes. If you create or modify a note about a particular event from the past (say 2 years ago) you cannot use Date Created/Date Modified as selection criteria or sorting criteria. So an extra date field called "Sorting Date" or "Event Date" or "Selection Date" would be really nice to have. 

I have lots of old stuff waiting to get its proper place in my Evernote. Old stuff. And especially when you enter stuff where an old date is of interest you really need an extra date field.

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On January 29, 2015 at 11:29 AM, JeffOnWire said:

.... it would be handy to somehow "date" these notes, either by changing the date of the note from today to the actual event date, or or somehow else "date-tag" the notes. Any way to do this?

On March 12, 2016 at 1:01 AM, Torben Ibsen said:

The Date Created and Date Modified fields should only be used for their intended purpose. ...

Personally, I would agree with it not being a good practice to mess with the Create/Modified Dates,
and it isn't even an option on some platforms.
And that a new field would resolve this.

My practice is to include a date in the note title.  
Most of the time this is duplication, but still, it's useful when viewing the note without the metadata.  

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12 hours ago, Torben Ibsen said:

The Date Created and Date Modified fields should only be used for their intended purpose. - You should not "redefine" or mix the information in those fields to get som other information into your Evernote note. It is against basic normalization rules for data

Well, I don't think is it up to any one person to state what we "should" or "should not" do.  Perhaps there are some methods more effective than others, perhaps there are some methods that may have unintended consequences, but each of us has the right to use the software in a way that is best suited for the user's workflow.

I think a number of users would disagree with your mandate to not change the Created Date.  I do it all the time for a very specific purpose, and it works very well for me.  I routinely change Creation Date to the date that the information in the Note was published, produced, or received.  I clip a lot of web pages, and set the EN Creation Date to the date the web page was published.  I have a lot of PDFs of historical documents of my family, and the Creation Date for these Notes is the date of the document.

I have an AppleScript file imported that creates a new note with the file attached, and sets the Creation Date of the Note to the Creation Date of the file.  It also enters text at the top of the Note that shows Document Creation Date and Import Date.

But by all means, please feel free to use Evernote in the way you think best.

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I did not intend to threat anyones personal freedom rights. And I have no intention of criticizing your "Evernote Guru" status. I am sure that you know almost all there is to know about Evernote. So please do not feel offended.

But knowledge about all the possible mechanisms in Evernote or any other PROGRAM is not the same as knowing how to manage DATA. 

My recommendation about how to use or misuse data fields is based upon data management principles which have been in existence for 40-50 years. I myself have had the pleasure of working after these principles for over 30 years. - Have a look here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyce–Codd_normal_form or see any of the good explanations on YouTube.

When the use of spreadsheet and personal database programs became possible on everyones computers many, many people started to create their own "databases". Most people made the terrible mistake of using a spreadsheet as a database. But even those who were smart enough to use a dedicated database program made terrible mistakes when creating their own personal tables. And mistakes when using a particular data field for more than one purpose became popular among the newbies 

But using at date field for more than one purpose is very, very high on the list over things you should never do (if you are going to use your data for any purpose later, I had better add!). Because it makes you loose data instead of storing proper data you can use later. 

Of course, Evernote is not a relational database to most users. Just like it is not for you, it appears. It is a smart place to store "everything". I do that myself. But the principles of relational databases should still be adhered to. It gives the user many benefits when you create notebooks and stacks if you are aware of how to do it right from a data point of view.

Having been helping users for over 30 years with stuff like this I cannot in good conscience ignore when unknowing users are being given a terrible advice. And using a data field for more than one purpose is such a terrible advice. - You may think that a number of persons will disagree with me just like you do. And I'm sure that you are right. But on the other hand. Each and every IT professional who has ever worked for a living with relational databases within the last 40-50 years (or have just read a book about it) will agree with me.

You can probably find some people who will insist on their personal right to think that 2+2 = 5. And of course they have the right to keep insisting on that. But most people who has actually learned math up to and including this level will know that it is wrong. For most people it is also obvious that those who think that 2+2 = 5 will get into trouble one day. 

This is not too far from the discussion about using normalization principles when you store data. It is just a little less obvious for most beginners in data management.

Of course You are free to do with your Evernote data as you want. But when You use your "Guru" level to recommend something which is totally against basic data management principles, you should not be too upset when someone else raise a warning flag. So please reconsider your advise at a later time when you have become familiar with the database principles. I feel sure that knowing about these principles will also be helpfull for you at some point in time.

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I have 30,000+ Evernote notes. I edit the Created Date (and Time) field frequently as needed. There are many reasons why this is beneficial. Evernote is one's second brain, but it is not possible to enter all the information on a real time basis. Scanning old receipts for example, or clipping news articles from the web, or saving monthly billing statements, or editing notes from a trip.

I am not an IT professional or an Evernote guru. The change from "Member" to "Guru" is done by Evernote based on the number of forum posts one has submitted.

Changing the Created Date information makes Evernote a very powerful and flexible program, even for a noob like me.

 

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I am not attacking either Evernote or happy Evernote users. I am a very happy Evernote Premium user myself. And I have been for years.

What I am trying to point out is something else: Why do you change the date information and what do you do about the information which was previously stored in the date field? - That is the question. - Each data field should tell one story and one story only.

The "Date Created" field is intended to show the date when a particular note was in fact created. And the "Last Modified Date" field is intended to show when a particular note was in fact last modified. 

When you change the content of the "Date Created" field then you have decided to use the field for some other purpose end stated in the field name. And of course you can do that if you for some reason want to do so. But then the data contained in the field no longer shows the date when the note was created. It shows something else. And then you have lost the information telling you when the note was created.

If you change the content of the "Date Created" field for only a portion of your notes then you have no information at all in the field. Because in that case you need some other information to tell you what the data in the "Date Created" field actually means in a particular note. The field name then has become meaningless. At least from the computers point of view. You, yourself might be able to determine the meaning of the content. But you can only do that by applying some knowledge which the computer/data field does not have.

Now, I would like to keep the information about "Date Created" and "Date Modified" for each of my notes. And I would like to record a date which is neither the "Date Created" nor the "Date Modified". It is another date which is relevant to me and the way I use notes or relevant to the content of the actual note. To do so requires three separate date fields. Because the "relevant date" may not be exactly the day I created the note. I might be a week behind with my recording of data. Or a year behind. And the "Date Modified" data cannot describe the "relevant date" either. Because, If I later edit the note, then the previous content of the "Date Modified" field will disappear. - So storing three dates can't be done with just two fields. And that is why I would like to have an extra date field available in my notes.

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6 hours ago, Torben Ibsen said:

Why do you change the date information and what do you do about the information which was previously stored in the date field?

I use Evernote from a human being's standpoint, and not a computer's point of view. The Created Date is my created date, not the computer's. I use Evernote as my second brain. There are dozens of reasons why the Created Date might be changed to reflect the "correct" Created Date (and time):

  • Receipts
  • Tons of scanned personal data
  • Tons of scanned business data
  • Converting over to a paperless office
  • Clipping news articles from the web
  • Saving monthly billing statements
  • Editing notes from a trip or vacation
  • "Life Event" notes (birth notice, wedding, obituary, genealogy info)

And I frequently change the Created Date (and time) for future items. By the way, Evernote Reminders do not function with the vertical note view (Ctrl+Shift+F5)

  • Appointments / Birthdays
  • Due date for a bill payment
  • Future holiday events
  • Confirm a credit was applied
  • Driver's License expiration
  • Document a bet on the Presidential election

I use Evernote as a Timeline on my life. I have not "lost the information" telling me when the note was created. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. I have gained information. Accurate created dates make the program more powerful.

By the way, Evernote has been very, very reluctant to add an extra date field. I can confirm that based on my many "Due Date" field discussions with Evernote employees over a period of several years.

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On 3/17/2016 at 3:05 AM, Torben Ibsen said:

Each data field should tell one story and one story only.

The "Date Created" field is intended to show the date when a particular note was in fact created. And the "Last Modified Date" field is intended to show when a particular note was in fact last modified. 

How do you know the intended purpose?  Do you have access to the Evernote design requirements documents?

IF Evernote did NOT want us to change the Created and Modified dates, they would NOT have given us a UI to do exactly that.

Created Date is just another field in the Evernote database.  Yes, it does have a default value of the date the Note was created. 
But there is absolutely nothing wrong, from either a computer database perspective, or the user's perspective, in changing to something that is more meaningful to the user.  In my case, I routinely set it to the relevant date for the information in my Note, like date published.  I could not care less when the Note was actually created.

Now, if you are trying to make a case for more fields in Evernote, particularly date fields, then I am with you.  But you are wasting everyone's time energy (IMO) with your arguments against changing the existing date fields.  I suggest you start a new thread (in one of the "feedback" forums) requesting the Evernote fields you would like to see, and made a use case for them that does not involve telling other users what they "should or should not" do.  If you make a good case, I will probably support and UpVote your request.

Good luck.

Edited by JMichaelTX
restate "everyone's time"
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Well, I am obviously wasting your time. But that is not the same as wasting everybody's time. There might be other readers who can understand this. So I will allow myself to hope that somebody other than you might give an issue like this some thought. These matters can be quite interesting. I also optimistically trust that some of those readers will figure out by themselves what the intended purpose is for a field labelled "Created Date". It should be possible without reading the Evernote design documents. - So I rest my case here. May the data in your Creation Date field never be overwritten by Evernote if you export and import notes at a later point in your life. (You do not have to explain what actually happens. Who cares, as you might have put it yourself.)

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On January 29, 2015 at 11:29 AM, JeffOnWire said:

I'm entering notes about events that happened in the past, and trying to organize several notes together using tags (because you can't nest notebooks?). I'm thinking (probably wrongly, as I'm sure will be pointed out soon) that it would be handy to somehow "date" these notes, either by changing the date of the note from today to the actual event date, or or somehow else "date-tag" the notes. Any way to do this?

 

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34 minutes ago, Torben Ibsen said:

Well, I am obviously wasting your time. But that is not the same as wasting everybody's time.

You are not wasting our time.

Some of us just don't share your belief that the Created Date field is a sacred piece of data that should never to be altered. There might be some others who believe in your philosophy. This would be a perfect place for them to add their reasons and support..

You do have one supporter.
Back in December 2012 at Leweb 2012, the Evernote CEO laughed at the idea of changing the Created Date field. 

"Notes from the future, they are kind of creepy."

https://youtu.be/GKqpBGMCfyE?t=760
 

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3 hours ago, Torben Ibsen said:

...the intended purpose is for a field labelled "Created Date".

Either way, there are many more ways to find a note that you might have screwed up by changing the created date... 

If ever in doubt, you could also go Premium and check your note history once you've found your note(s) in question. 

Come to think of it, I've never once seen people presenting this as a challenge here in the forums... but as I've hinted, there may be a number of workarounds at one's fingertips if one were to ever regret hacking their created and/ or updated dates. 

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3 hours ago, Torben Ibsen said:

Well, I am obviously wasting your time. But that is not the same as wasting everybody's time.

You are absolutely correct.  I cannot speak for everyone, and I certainly misspoke here.  It was not exactly what I meant.
So I have revised my statement:

23 hours ago, JMichaelTX said:

But you are wasting everyone's time energy (IMO) with your arguments against changing the existing date fields.

You probably don't agree with that either, but that's OK, as I stated it is just my opinion.  YMMV.

3 hours ago, Torben Ibsen said:

I also optimistically trust that some of those readers will figure out by themselves what the intended purpose is for a field labelled "Created Date". It should be possible without reading the Evernote design documents. - So I rest my case here.

So if it is so obvious, why did Evernote provide us with the UI to change the Created Date?
If it was intended solely for the actual date the Note was created, there would be no need for this UI.

But  you need not answer.  I'll leave it up to you and your disciples to wrestle with that issue.

Good luck in trying to convince the users, who have the ill-conceived notion that "Created Date" can legitimately be used for something else, to adhere to your "basic normalization rules for data".  If you feel it is time worth spent for yourself, then so be it.  I don't know, but  I'd guess that the large majority of users could care less about this issue.  They will just use Evernote in the way that best suits their needs.

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On March 17, 2016 at 4:41 PM, JMichaelTX said:

How do you know the intended purpose?  Do you have access to the Evernote design requirements documents?

I don't have the design requirements documents but I usually get a good indication of the intended purpose by looking at the field name.  In a note, the fieldname Creation Date would make me think the intended purpose was Creation Date of the note. 

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When I create a note including a PDF of my grandson's birth announcement, the Created Date means the Created Date of the subject matter, not the day I happened to scan it into my Evernote account. If the Created Date does not reflect the relevant date, then I will edit it so that it is correct.

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14 minutes ago, jbenson2 said:

When I create a note including a PDF of my grandson's birth announcement, the Created Date means the Created Date of the subject matter, not the day I happened to scan it into my Evernote account. If the Created Date does not reflect the relevant date, then I will edit it so that it is correct.

When I create a note including a PDF of the Declaration of Independence.....

I usually include a date in the title for this very reason - the Note Creation Date may differ from the date I want the note to reflect.

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I like to view my notes as a TimeLine on my life. By using accurate Created Dates that reflect reality, I can see the flow of events through my TimeLine. 

My oldest note in Evernote is my grandfather's furniture receipt back on May 2, 1908. The dining room table has been in the family for several generations. And yes, even though Evernote and computers did not exist back then, the Created Date is 1908 05 02.

This Evernote link is to the Original scanned receipt:

http://www.evernote.com/l/AAK37apFCpVIHq4xNM13anWlW-JsqGHfLw8/

The wooden table with claw foot legs was $19.50. 
And the original wooden chairs were $1.75 each.
I took this photo in 2014. I store my photos in Flickr.

Dining Room table and chairs


 

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23 hours ago, jbenson2 said:

I like to view my notes as a TimeLine on my life.

It's a good point, and I'm missing that view.

Until EN implements a new date field (I can't see it being a high priority), we're all using workarounds. It's not a problem as long as we know the risks and ramifications.
This was also discussed at how-i-create-my-time-line-events-list/

>>I took this photo in 2014.

I notice you have the date inserted into the photo.  
Was this an annotation afterwards or is that a setting you use on your camera?  Just curious as to the best practice.  
In my collection I have photos that my Grandmother took 80 years ago, and she wrote on the photos.  I value her notes as much as the pictures.
Its another way of tagging your notes.

image.thumb.jpeg.d49da345d18c35d9f13bb64

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On 3/17/2016 at 1:05 AM, Torben Ibsen said:

What I am trying to point out is something else: Why do you change the date information and what do you do about the information which was previously stored in the date field? - That is the question. - Each data field should tell one story and one story only.

Not all inclusive by any stretch, but at least two reasons folks have for changing the created date are:

  1. In those instances when the user wants the date to reflect the content of the note and not the system date.  (I forgot to download the utility bill last month and I want it to sort/search in the right place.  Going paperless and wanting historical documents to be represented by their create date not system date.  And others above.)
  2. To sort oft viewed notes to the top of the list.

It would seem to me that 1 does not defy good data practice if one uses created date in the context of the note.  It still represents when the note was created in the users mind. 

The second does defy good data practice because now you have a field which represents two things, date and importance.  Not the best data practice per se, but in this instance not one that is going to get the user in too much trouble, IMO.  Problems would ensue should EN disable the date modification capability, but other than that? 

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I agree that a new date field would be a great idea.

I store business receipts in evernote, and the creation date of the note often (usually) does not match the date of the receipt. I had been modifying the creation date. Apart from any theoretical consideration about doing this, I have found it to be too fragile - any slight modification of the note (sometimes accidentally), such as changing the date or the notebook or the tag will reset the date to the current date. Because of this, I've begun putting the date as the first part of the title - yyyy-mm-dd - so that sorting them by title will thus sort them by date.

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Modifying the note should only change the updated date, not the created date. 

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