Business, Economics, Accounting and Finance
📝
Organizing Notes
Describes how I take, store, and edit various notes.
https://unsplash.com/photos/5bYxXawHOQg

Requirements

Data should be easily updatable (this is the input) & easily accessible (this is the output). Currently, my notes are stored on a GitHub repo. That means:

Easily Accessible

This can be broken into 2 scenarios, depending on sensitivity of data.

Insensible notes should be searchable online

To have them easily accessible, I want them to be full-text-indexed and searchable.
  • I want the insensitive data to be searchable online, so that I can have access to my notes without access to my computers.
    • Existing solutions: Are there any? What are they? How good are they?
      • GitBook (Figure 1)
        • pros:
        • cons:
          • Search is dynamically loaded -- slow to render.
          • An online service -- does not work offline.
      • GitHub (Figure 2)
Figure 1: Search UI on GitBook
Figure 2: Search UI on GitHub

​

Sensitive data to be kept offline and still searchable

  • Existing solutions: Are there any? What are they? How good are they?
    • OneNote / EverNote / Notability
      • pros
        • robust functionalities
      • cons
        • walled gardens
    • macOS Spotlight
      • pros
        • really easy access -- integrated with the OS
      • cons
        • does not support notes in walled gardens (not even Zotero references)
        • not portable -- different OSes offer incoherent experiences. This actually resembles the "walled garden" critique from the previous option.
    • command-line tools
      • resources
        • features comparison of several CLI regexp search tools: here​
        • speed comparison of ~~~~: here​
      • Looks like the best choice is ripgrep .
        • Need to do:
          • auto-exporting data from all sources to plain text and save locally.
        • pros
        • cons

Easily Updatable

The best option for now I've found is GitBook. It's got a decent webUI editor (although it has a list of quirks -- see below -- and is slow on an old computer), syncs to your GitHub, and its syntax is interoperable with Markdown.
List of quirks of GitBook:
  • aggressive undoing
  • when you copy something from a list and paste it somewhere else, the whole list indention builds up again. e.g., if you copied some text from a 3rd-level nested list and past it on a 2nd, you will get a 5th-level result.
TODO: This section needs expansion.

Solutions

Stick with GitBook for adding & updating public notes. TODO:
  • Find a way to auto-update local copy of GitBook notes.
  • Validate that I can conveniently search locally all my notes (that means private notes as local md files + public notes from GitBook) with ripgrep.
  • Add a custom search engine to my Chrome that searches the GitHub repo directly.

(Deprecated) How Notes & Writings Can Be Categorized

Classifications of my writings & notes, and where to put them.
Type
Updatable?
How Refined?
Can Made Public?
How valuable to others?
Diary
Never
-2
N
0
Personal Journal
Daily
-3
N
0
Credentials / Passwords
At times
N/A
N
3
Academic papers
Never
3
Y
3
Various Essays
Never
2
Y
2
Quick Notes
Seldom
-1
N
1
Reviews / Summaries
Maybe
1
Y
2
Web Clippings
Never
N/A
N/A
1
Translations / Transcripts
Never
3
Y
2
  • N/A means "not my own work, thus does not apply."
  • Numbers are on a 7-point scale.

How I Allocate Apps to Different Note-taking Purposes

Crossed-outs are what I used to use but moved away from (due to death of product, etc.).

Note-taking and Storage

  • Course notes / meeting notes that better be hand-drawn: Notability (iPad)
  • Diary, personal journal: Day One OneNote
  • Course reviews and summaries: Evernote Notability, course-specific folders, and -- in cases that the notes may be shared -- my academic website.
  • Scribbles, jots, etc.: A folder full of plain text/markdown files.
    • Synced with Simplenote Dropbox.
    • Read with Notational Velocity, nvALT fsNotes.

Editors and Word Processors

  • Coding/writing temporarily - Sublime Text
  • Quickly generating PDFs from Markdown - Mou Typora
  • Academic writing (essay, things with a formula/equation, etc.) - LyX
  • For language-checking - Hemingway Editor + SlickWrite
  • Mind-mapping - MindNode
  • (Math stuff excluded)
  • (Office suites excluded)
  • (Reminder and Calendar excluded)
  • (Rare-format editors excluded)

Cloud Storages

  • Mobile Syncing - Dropbox
  • Google Office - Google Drive
  • Microsoft Office - OneDrive
  • Backup - Box