Earlier this year, Robert Scoble the tech geek, mentioned Evernote, a cool cloud tool that could be used as an online notebook. Although I love my trusty Moleskine for everyday note taking and lists etc, it doesn't cut the mustard when you need a repository for snippets of information from the internet.
Since then, I've evolved several useful ways of using Evernote efficiently and effectively.
The first and obvious one is keeping track of snippets of information from journal articles, news reports, clinical trial data and conferences by topic such as nitric oxide, tumour types, drugs etc. The snippets might be text, graphics, photos or links. Organising by topic makes it easy to find relevant information (with links for quick reference) when you need to put a client report or blog post together later.
The second and less obvious approach is to use it as a simple but powerful customer relationship management (CRM) system. Using this approach I input client and prospect data in a host of different ways, then tag each note or project for slicing and dicing the data very easily. Contact info is included and Evernote
is used to keep all the emails, notes, and PDF documents I need about each client, including a summary note for each contact for the most recent activity, and then each additional item is a note,
tagged by contact. Since I'm on a Mac, this system creates a much more powerful alternative to Outlook or Mac's disjointed iCal/Address Book offering.
One of the really neat things about Evernote is being able to download your master data from the cloud to any computer, PC or Mac, as long as you have internet access. It also works with the iPhone via a specific app and you can read your data there too while on the go.
In theory, you should be able to take pictures with your iPhone and save them to Evernote for translation when you search for keywords. The challenge is that the iPhone currently doesn't have an App available for unjailbroken phones that allow you to focus the camera for close up work. By default, it is set to infinity, meaning distant shots look fine but close-ups of business cards or Moleskine notes are mostly too fuzzy to be read, but that's not Evernote's fault. I'm looking forward to an iPhone app for the camera in the hopefully not too distant future so all my business cards can be snapped and recorded in Evernote.
Overall, this is a superb tool for managing small size chunks of data easily for scientists, consultants and small businesses.