Very interesting. Years ago I wrote travel pieces for magazines and papers, and I had to use tape recorders, both for interviews and to dictate notes while driving or hiking. At home, I created an “index” of the notes, using the digital counter on the transcriber machine.
007 walk on Aspen trail
036 waterfalls at junction
047 couple from Boston
That index gave me a swift view of the tape contents. In a database, I could locate any material I wanted to hear again or transcribe. If I ever go back to a recorder, I’d use a digital one and store the contents on a hard drive, but I’d still need an index, perhaps using the Transcriva software. See bartastechnologies.com/
Today, I collect everything digital in a DT Pro database: text files, PDF files, images, links, and anything else that seems useful. I organize the material into folders, usually one called General or People and all the others according to either Time or Place, the constant X-Y coordinates of my projects. Yes, I can do this in a Scrivener’s Research folder, and sometimes I do. It depends upon the size of a project, the diversity of its contents, and the number of records that I need to consult. For a novel or nonfiction book, I use DTP. For a review, article, or screenplay, I use Scrivener.
If you haven’t used DTP, it’s hard to explain why it’s so good as a place for research material. The contents load and search instantly, I can create “replicants” of an item and put them in different places (edit one, and the other updates), when I search, the AI software suggests many other possible items to consult; so I’m always finding unexpected results. If I’m planning to write a series of books or studies on a common subject, DTP is home base. And it exports easily to Scrivener in RTF files, etc.
Scrivener excels in outlining. drafting, and comparing two different states of work, be that a timeline or character profile or synopsis of action, with an ongoing draft. It’s not a word processor, but rather a word and idea arranger, which is far more useful in the early and middle stages of writing. And it produces good, clean RTF files for easy export. (I don’t use footnotes, so advantage to me)
In the late stages, when I’m sharing work with others, I compile and export the text to a word processor, which is designed to add headers, page count, and clean up matters like line spacing, fonts, and other appearance issues. I once used Word, but only through Office 2004. It had a Navigation Pane that would show me the chapters in a long file, if I had styled them as Heading 1. When Office 2008 came out, I was appalled at what a resource hog Word had become.
I switched to Pages 07 and then 09, which I like for the moment, mainly because it now has outlining, styles, a good search display, clear word and page count, and the ability to export to DOC or PDF, which so far is all my editors have requested. We used Track Comments, and Pages had no trouble reading those from Word files. But I’m not wed to Pages, and Keith has criticized it enough that I’ve decided to try out NWP on my next long project.
If I’m writing a screenplay, I tend to use DevonNote for gathering material, Scrivener for the draft, and Final Draft 8 for the cleaned-up version. The industry standard is still .fdx files, and FD 8 has several useful tools that help to give a script some professional finish.