Posted November 13, 2007 in Programming, Science

In the early nineties I read an 1987 article by Jeff Conklin called “A Survey of Hypertext”. At the time I was studying computer engineering and this was probably my first formal exposure to the subject. I was blown away by the potential of the idea. In particular the author said:

One sort of manual hypertext is the traditional use of 3×5 index cards for note taking. Note cards often reference each other, as well as being arranged hierarchically (e.g. by shoebox or rubber-banded bundles). One particular advantage of note cards is that their small size modularizes the notes into small chunks, making it easier to reorganize a set of cards when new information suggests a restructuring of the notes. Of course, one problem with note cards is that it can be difficult to find a specific card if there are many of them.

Now, I’ve been looking for an electronic replacement for the use of 3×5 index cards for a while. I haven’t found one yet. Apart from the file system that is :-) I’ve tried a few. As user interface I really loved Natrificial’s Brain (give it a try, there’s a free personal version).

Just read a NYT article “Tool for Thought” that mentions DevonThink, which I had considered before, so might give it a try. The author of the article also talked about it a bit more on his blog.