I’m trying to find out what the best way is to manage a Journal.
Let me lay out first what I mean by Journal, and what features it should have for me:
(a) The Journal would collect notes (obviously…), whose length may vary from short to relatively long (e.g. summary of a meeting; ruminations about a topic).
(b) The entries would be assigned a time stamp (year, month, day, time), at best automatically, but still with the ability to edit the time stamps if necessary (I might want to date back items)
(c) I would want to be able to assign keywords / tags to entries in order to facilitate searching for items. The list of keywords should be easily expandable, but at the same time I would need to be able to keep track of keywords easily (to avoid creating ‘similar but not alike’ keywords that would impede searching).
(d) It should be easy to access the collected data, i.e. at best no ‘special application’ and/or ‘special data formats’ (that couldn’t be read without the key application) would be used.
(e) Ideally, I would be able to sync with a portable device.
These are solutions I’ve contemplated so far.
(I) Simply creating ‘Journal’ entries in your calendar (or using, for instance, Journal entries in Korganizer):
- entries are obviously placed in a nice, chronological order
- easy to sync with a portable device
- unable to assign tags / keywords
- difficult to search by topic, rather than title or particular phrases
(II) Using a spreadsheet (.csv file):
That’s what I’ve been doing so far.
- able to assign keywords in a corresponding column
- comparatively easy to sort / search (by filtering, sorting, etc)
- portable (I copy the .csv file onto my PDA and have a small application there which I can use to display / edit the content)
- spreadsheet cells are not really made for long entries, so moving around in the spreadsheet has become quite slow (I’m using ooo-calc for it, but I expect it would be similar with other spreadsheet apps).
- the table format is not particular easy to read / browse
(III) Using a database:
Hmm, I haven’t tried that yet, and perhaps this is the solution to my problems. I’m shying away from the effort of learning how to use ooo-base and having to create a database in there.
- likely easy to manage and easy to manipulate the data
- possible to import the data from my existing spread sheet
- Well, I did look into ooo-base a little bit, and managing keywords seems to be a bit of a pain. Plus the effort of design the database as well as the input mask.
- portability / sync with PDA??
Actually, the software that manages online blogs seems to be perfect (it allows easy creation of notes; assigns a time stamp; and allows tagging entries), but I haven’t found any application yet that does the same thing offline. (And no: I don’t want to write an online blog / use online software to manage my Journal … :P)
Hmmmm, does anyone have a good solution / idea?