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Personal Information Managers

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology Forum' started by Anthro, Apr 26, 2003.

  1. Anthro

    Anthro New Member

    Mar 5, 2003
    Information Mangers--PIMs

    Most text-intensive PIMs (Personal Information Managers) are relatively easy to program, so there are numerous freeware versions of it available. The ones that are available for purchase tend to do little more than what some freeware versions do, though there are trade-offs and improvements between them. This is another type of program that, once you have used it, you will wonder how you ever got along without one. PIMs are excellent for keeping all of your documents, imported research, and downloadable articles organized into hierarchical tabs and trees that you specify. You can also do your thesis book reviews in a PIM and keep them, along with entries of your own thoughts and arguments, arranged very conveniently and visually. They are also excellent for taking class notes if you have a laptop! The only drawback to the freeware ones is that all I have encountered rely on the RICHEDIT.dll native to Windows, so footnotes and endnotes are not supported (more on this below). One program I highlight below is not a text-intensive PIM proper, but is close enough to place in this category.

    » KeyNote

    Excellent note-taking and information management software with detailed text searching function. You may import or drag and drop or import documents and html into it, export .rtf files, use "virtual" nodes, and organize all your research into tabs and hierarchically organized "trees." I have tried about a dozen software products of this type, both of the freeware and priceware variety. KeyNote is not only hands-down the best freeware PIM of this type, but it is supported, and is just as good or better than the priceware varieties available. It also integrates with WordWeb (see below). Go to http://keynote.prv.pl/ for more info or to download.

    Even so, you might want to look at priceware PIMs. TreePad Pro (see below), MaplePro, and WhizFolders, are probably the best priceware offerings of this type of PIM. You can check out

    AnyNotes - $25 - http://www.anynotes.com/

    » MaplePro - $27 - http://www.crystaloffice.com/mproinfo.html

    TexNotes - $35 - http://www.gemx.com/texnotes.php

    » WhizFolders - $29 - http://kanadepro.com/whizfolders/download.shtml

    » Research Desk Professional

    This is not a PIM proper but I include it here because it acts similarly to one. Research Desk integrates with Microsoft Word,Power Point, and has a Browser and other features. It enables you to use all these applications within its single user interface so you can do all your work in one central place while using tree-like structures to organize your documents and work. It integrates with any bibliographic software that integrates with Word. Research Desk Professional costs $60. Very helpful. Go to http://www.winferno.com/rdpro.htm for more info or to download a 30 day fully functional trial.

    » TreePad Lite, Pro, and Power

    TreePad Pro is probably the best priceware text-intensive PIM. It does have a few more features than KeyNote, but costs $30. Since TreePad is built on WPTools, whereas KeyPad is built on more limited RICHEDIT.dll function native to Windows, TreePad will always have a slight edge. Go to http://www.treepad.com/treepadplus/ for more info on Pro. Lite has limited features, but is freeware. The big plus of TreePad Lite is that the entire program and the notes you place into it can fit into and be ran from a 3.5 floppy or zip disk! Lite is included in Pro. Go to http://www.treepad.com/ for more info on Lite. Still forthcoming, TreePad Power will make PDF files and have other extended features.

    Microsoft OneNote

    This is Microsoft's forthcoming text-intensive PIM. Yes, they are finally getting on board with this type of program. It is set to be released in mid-1993, and will probably be bundled with their forthcoming Office 2003 $uite. (I am a Beta tester for OneNote so will keep you updated when it comes in the mail!). Go to http://www.microsoft.com/office/onenote/overview.asp for more info.

    ****** IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT PIMs ******

    A limitation of all text-intensive PIMs proper to this point is is that imported documents lose their footnotes and endnotes. As well, there is no footnote/endnote capability in the programs, so new footnotes/endnotes cannot be made. Work around: (1) in your note taking, just make any citations or footnotes in-text, and then format your documents properly after final importation of your notes into your word processor. (2) only import footnoted/endnoted virtual nodes so you can view them as part of the "larger picture" of your work in association with other notes and entries. KeyNote and MaplePro will display footnotes/endnotes if the footnoted/endnoted document is imported as a Microsoft Word object, and the footnotes/endnotes are editable as such. However, you cannot make new footnotes/endnotes. Use the same work around as above. None of this applies to Reseach Desk Professional, and it is obviously too early to make comment about Microsoft OneNote.