Sometimes I come across a new tool that is just so cool that it manages to find a need I didn’t know I had and meet it, all without my input. All right, I admit that in the course of my recent expanded exploration of new lawyer-friendly technologies, this phenomenon has been happening more often than not.
While not such a new discovery for me, I feel it is high time I profess my love for OneNote. OneNote is a Microsoft product that serves as an interactive, Swiss Army Knife sort of a digital notebook and organizational tool. Unlike competing products, OneNote is not web-based. OneNote affords you the ability to capture different types of information, organize that information and retrieve it with a simple search function. You can insert files and web content in various formats (searchable or iconic). And, you can collaborate with others on information in a particular file or “notebook” within OneNote. The information that can be stored includes text, drawings, pictures, multimedia audio and video, ink, websites and links. You can even syncronize OneNote audio recording with notetaking.
I find OneNote awesome for organizing my research results, particularly when combining traditional Westlaw and Lexis database searching with public records or other web-based research. I also love it for brainstorming and researching blog concepts and articles. I have OneNote on my desktop and on my mobile phone, which is a Palm Treo 750 running Windows Mobile. This enables me to brainstorm away from my desk and marry my notes and the main file with a simple sync, for on-the-go note taking and organizing power.
But don’t just take it from me: there are plenty of other OneNote lovers out there, like Jason Fitzpatrick, Chris Pratley and Terry Gold. Here is a site with “powertoys” or add-ons for OneNote. For more targeted information about OneNote, check out this FAQ by Ben Schorr.
If you have a need for substantial note taking, research collection and organization of different types of information all in one place, I highly recommend you check out this great product! Sorry Justin Long, point goes to John Hodgman!