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Best program for lecture notes

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Posted by Lawrence Osborn
Jun 5, 2016 at 05:17 AM

 

I’m inclined to agree with the contributors who have suggested that pen and paper is still the best way to take notes during a lecture. The process of writing them up on the computer afterwards is a valuable first stage of revision which will help to reinforce the lecture.

I don’t particularly like Onenote, but as others have pointed out it is part of the Microsoft Office package and works nicely with Word etc. Scrivener is an interesting suggestion: I like it as a writing environment, but I think its lack of good search facilities would limit its use as a notes database. ConnectedText is an obvious (if heavyweight) option – if I had to choose from among the programs currently on the market that’s the one I would go for. But my preferred option is still Idealist. It is a standalone free-form text database that uses a classic index card metaphor for individual entries. Originally developed by the computing division of the publishing company Blackwell in the 1990s, it still works well today (even in a 64-bit Windows 10 environment). It is easily the most reliable piece of software I have ever used (and I have been using version 3 since 1998); it indexes all entries and searches very rapidly; it also allows you alter the database structure on the fly. The main disadvantages are that it is plain text (which is not necessarily a disadvantage) and it is limited to the ANSI character set.