How do I manage all the notes? First, everything ends up in the Scrivener project. My notes come from many sources: a daily journal, audio recordings, iPhone notes, iPad notes etc. I have a folder for each year and sub-folders for the months within that year (There’s also a folder titled Undated to capture those notes I made without a date reference). Each individual note is dated and numbered so they’ll appear as:
June 14, 2015 - 1
June 14, 2015 - 2
June 14. 2015 - 3
And so on. I break them down as notes within each day will usually have different themes – one might be note on a story idea, another an observation of something or someone I saw in town and the third a scrap of bad poetry or doggerel. Notes can be a couple of words, like an idea for a title, or a couple of thousand words. EVERY note gets a keyword assigned even those that don’t fit neatly into the current keyword structure get the ‘Random Thought’ keyword. Currently, I have between 40 and 50 keywords defined. Every so often I’ll do a keyword search on the Random Thought note and browse through them to see what ideas spark. Collections let me pull out everything I’ve assigned to a keyword and copy them somewhere else to explore the ideas further – usually Scapple, Tinderbox or another Scrivener project.
Where relevant, I use multiple keywords - a mystery story idea for example might fit into the keywords Mystery, Babylon and Auburn - the last two being specific project ideas I’m developing. Where I have follow-on thoughts over several days, I use a Scrivener Link to associate the two (or more) documents together. In the research folder, I have a section for Books – these are the title, author, publisher, publication date and where I can find the book again – ebook, local library, somewhere in the house . Any notes I make about the book are in that document and again there’s a Scrivener link to the relevant daily notes (I’ve dabbled with reference management tools like JabRef but I’m not an academic so they’re a little overkill for my needs). Mind Maps, Scapple diagrams and similar digitized scribbles are either embedded into the daily note or put in the research folder and Scrivener linked.
Non-fiction articles are stored in DevonThink and I use the DevonThink URL to link to the document. I know it’s not transportable from Mac to Windows etc. but it’s a trade-off I can live with.
One of the things many of the information management writers talk about is adaptability. My Work keyword revealed a jumbled assortment of thoughts for white papers, project comments and musings on the state and future of the health care industry. That led to a new keyword section and a couple of hours of restructuring. This in turn led me to an experiment of digitizing my handwritten notes for each project - I already scan and shred the notes each month and archive them in an appropriate dropbox folder. These notes follow the same naming and dating rules above but with an alpha suffix (A, B, C) instead of the numeric mentioned above. There’s no discernible logic to that decision, it just seemed a good idea at the time. The jury’s still out on the value of this – good to get the notes in a searchable format as OCR can’t read my writing any better than I can, but is the frequency of how often I need to reference those notes worth the time taken to transcribe them?
Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with and good luck.