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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.

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8 Responses to “Using Evernote as science and customer database”

  1. Brian Shaw

    Another online note-taking application you might wanna try out is Springnote ( It’s a little bit different from Evernote; Springnote puts more focus on collaboration with others. You get to share pages with your colleagues, while creating as many note pages as you want. It also comes with 2GB of free file storage. After all, it’s a great tool when you do lots of research.
    If you really liked Evernote, Springnote is also worth a look.

  2. Sally

    Thanks Brian, will take a look at Springnote and write a review on that too.
    Is there are iPhone app for it and will it work on both Mac and PC?

  3. Ann Godridge

    I use Microsft OneNote in a similar way for my computer based writer’s notebook (I do still like the moleskin and pen though)
    Ryan also uses OneNote for his software development projects

  4. Sally

    Thanks, Ann.
    Any idea how the OneNote compares with EverNote?

  5. Brian Shaw

    iPhone app might come out within the next few months. Springnote is only online (i.e. you run in on browsers like IE and Safari and Firefox) so it’ll work on both Mac and PC.

  6. Sally

    Well, I tried Springnote but found it was probably more suitable for school or college kids. It wouldn’t give me a blank sheet of paper as a default option (or even at all) and several error messages popped up… in Japanese. Also, it wasn’t as intuitive to use and at times was rather clunky.
    Sorry, but it has a long way to go before it attains the same features and utility of Evernote. I’m not really interested in sharing my notes and research, but I do need a cool and easy way to store my own stuff.

  7. Bill Harned

    Nice Post. I was just thinking about this at lunch and found this with a google search. I was thinking it would be nice to have some type of contact plugin or something to keep my contacts in evernote. I would love to see a sample screen shot of your contact info to see how you do it…
    I also read a while back that someone make a case for the iphone that has a lens on the back for taking close up photos like you want to do…I will look for that for you.
    I am always looking for more ways to use and organize evernote.

  8. Sally Church

    Bill, I just type or cut/paste in the name/address/tel/ as a simple list and also save invoices, business cards and use their name/company as tags.
    Typing a person or company name will then bring up a list of everything relating to them.
    If you have a Mac, Spotlight will work just as well but on the move, the Evernote iPhone app works fine.
    If you would like to get more tips, you can sign up to for free and then join the Evernote Addicts room to pick up or share more tips here:

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