Evernote is a cloud based document archival and management system that enables you to store, notes documents, files and pictures and access them from any browser, IOS and android devices.
Evernote is a great tool when trying to implement the ubiquitous capture element of GTD.
Evernote has applications for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android so it pretty much covers most devices, combined with the web application it can be used pretty much anywhere.
Evernote structures your information as notes which are contained in notebooks. You can create any number of notebooks and you can stack notebooks to help with organisation. In its simplest form that is all you need to organise your documents but the real power of Evernote for information management is the tag. Every note can have a tag or multiple tags associated to it. Combine this with a powerful search system and you have a very efficient way of finding what you need. For example in the case of GTD you could tag a note with work, action, outstanding. You can then search for items with these tags to get a list of all your outstanding work actions. Searches can be saved so you can quickly build a library of searches. Some Evernote users will use notebooks for organising information others will rely on tags and saved searches to retreive information. For most there is a middle ground where both approaches merge. I use a combination of notebooks and saved searches. I have a default notebook call Inbox which receives everything I send to evernote. I can then process the Inbox and tag and file each item.
Evernote provides a myriad of methods to capture data.
- Create a note in the evernote application
- Scan and send to evernote, using a smartphone, digital camera or document scanner.
- E-mail to your Evernote account
- Audio notes from the evernote applicaton or send the file via e-mail.
- There are a number of web plugins that allow you to capture web pages or selected parts of web pages to your evernote account.
Ive already mentioned the search facility in Evernote in reference to tags but it also extends to note content. Evernote supports text searching in images so once your pictures are uploaded you can search for text within the image. You can also implement dual factor authentication in conjunction with Google Authenticator to add a greater level of security to your account.
Everything mentioned so far is available for free, Evernote also offers a premium services.
- You get an upload of 1 GB a month.
- You can search for text within pdf files and attachments.
- You can share documents and notebooks
- You can keep local copies of your notebooks on mobile devices for offline working
- Text searching in photographs is processed more quickly
One thing that attracted me to Evernote is that, while being cloud based, I can have a local copy of my information on my computer, phone or tablet for access when I am offline. The ability to capture audio, text, web content, pictures and search them is extremely useful in achieving ubiquitous capture.