I’ve found Evernote extremely useful for several research purposes, though limited for note-taking. Maybe it’s my own process that limits my ability to use Evernote for note-taking but I’ve found that I much prefer taking notes by hand when I want to consider them repeatedly or deeply. For me, Evernote notes get buried quickly and I never return to them. Also, since each note within each notebook is o the same valence, it is difficult to prioritize them visually or to move from notebook to notebook.
While I don’t use Evernote for brief thoughts or any type of journaling or in-class notation, I’ve found it extremely useful for working with documents in an archive. When I will want to return to each object in the context I’ve found it, Evernote has helped me keep track of a document’s location while also making it searchable across my own database. Evernote doesn’t work for me when I’m trying to synthesize ideas, but it does function as a useful repository for information. It is easy to transcribe pieces of a documents alongside its location in in the archive without filling out forms or clicking through any tabs. Even without using tags, you can just write an important tag in the note and it will be easily found with the search. When looking for connections between different documents, like names, it has been very useful. I enjoy the way the results narrow as you type into the search field so you can see if there is a significant spelling error or piece of information that repeats between documents.
I wish Evernote had a more dynamic way of organizing hierarchies of notebooks because many of my documents should appear in several notebooks without duplicating themselves. I’m often unsure which tags I will ultimately be looking for so I often don’t assign any when creating a note. This isn’t much of a problem when it is easy to search, but I would definitely prefer a way of visually connecting and moving notes.
The Web Clipper is amazing and I’ve absolutely integrated it into my daily web use. I use it for academic and personal bookmarks. It’s actually been most helpful for me in keeping track of distant deadlines for grants, jobs, and applications as I can see a post and quickly tag it with “Deadline” and return when I’m able to look more deeply into the application.
Evernote is definitely useful for storing information in an easily accessible place but it doesn’t have the organizational complexity that I would like in a program that I could use solely. It’s not easy enough to move things around or to create many sub groups that can be viewed simultaneously.
I will definitely continue to use Evernote for research, deadlines, and web browsing because of the Web Clipper and search ability but I can’t rely on it for note-taking or any aspect of the writing process.