Capturing information has to be as low-key, as easy as it can be. Smooth, is the word I’m looking for, I think.
My favorite capture tool since 2005-ish has been Evernote. Highlight, CTRL + C, CTRL + ALT + V to create a new pasted note from anywhere within Windows.
But back then Evernote was a local installation application only. Bugged me as I switch between my desktop and a laptop provided by Canada’s SEO company.
Enter Gmail [hat tip: Turn Gmail Into Your Personal Nerve Center].
Gmail Capture Process
- Get the Google toolbar.
- Highlight info on a page, click Send To, choose Gmail.
- In the subject line I use a pipe followed by keywords/tags.
Those keywords allow you to do “tag” searches by doing a subject search in Gmail.
…to Evernote Workflow
To send information into my Gmail database I, of course, use a special + email address as in Gmail you can do youremail+anything@.
In Gmail I’ve setup a filter which will label any email to this specific address with DB, short for database (why not database in full? simple, in a search it is faster to restrict to label:db or l:db than using the word “database” spelled out in full….).
The address is also filtered to automatically forward to my special Evernote email address. Minutes after the note arrives in Gmail it’s available in Evernote too.
Once every 1-3 days I go into my “InBox” notebook in Evernote and go through the incoming notes. This is a fast, short job. Give it one “real” Evernote tag, usually. Very high level too. Then drag it into one of the handful of notebooks I keep (again very high level. Any complete web page capture goes into Web Archive, for example).
- Future proof: Evernote might disappear, email won’t
- Automatic backup
- Both available from anywhere with Gmail being just a tad better available even
- Keywords (“tags”) in the subject/title of the note allow for subject searches in Gmail and intitle searches in Evernote
- Searches in both Evernote and Gmail are fast while each has its own strengths
- Since a little while Evernote has removed the inline Goto Source to a tiny button, making note export with URL a royal pain. Gmail includes the source link.
The only time I clip directly into Evernote is when images/graphics are of importance to me: Gmail stores a link to the images, not the images themselves. And yes, in that case I often email the note to Gmail :)