I admit to being a bit of a whore when it comes to personal information managers, organizers, snippet managers and what have you.
I have tried, mainly unsuccessfully to have an all-encompassing strategy for information management. Yeah GTD helps. But it is just the capture-classify-review cycle that eludes me.
At any rate, I recently bought Journler at a significant discount from Maczot. Now you have to understand I already have licenses for MacJournal, Devonthink Pro, NoteTaker, and Yojimbo, so you would wonder why I needed another $#*@ program! Well I'm addicted. What can I say.
The main reason why I bought the program was because it had a feature I have not seen since the glory days of Ecco Pro.
OK for all you kiddies out there, Ecco was the Personal Information Manager par excellence way back in the early 1990s. This was the program that invented the "smart view", but it was even more powerful than what your typical Mac user gets in iTunes and other media organizers.
What made Ecco powerful was that a smart view folder was active, and you could drop stuff on it and have it "tagged". So this means if you had a "Lounge Music" smart folder and you dropped an mp3 file on it, it would be tagged "Lounge Music". Pretty powerful, huh?
And lo and behold, Journler has the very same "smart tag" feature, and it only took 15 years! This gives you a good idea of how advanced Ecco Pro was at dealing with data.
Still though, I would like to see better metadata management this way, and something that is sorely lacking in software today. For example, we have files with all kinds of metadata attached, and aside from scripting, we can't drag and drop files in order to manage their metadata. I always thought smart folders would be really smart when I could drop files on them and not just have sorting by association, or by the containers they were in but by inheritance.
Think of it this way: If I had a folder hierarchy of research articles that looked like this:
> Research articles
-> British Journal of Education
-----> Volume 3
---------> Article 1.pdf ---------> Article 2.pdf
If I move the articles out of the Volume 3 folder, I have no way of knowing (aside from opening the file) if it was a British Journal of Education article, or what year or volume it was from.
By the same token, I can't get all of my 1998 research articles in one view either. Of course I can fire up Sente or Bookends or another bibliographic manager, but this misses the point of having quick and intuitive access to information, which should be built into the file system.
So Ecco Pro and Journler are a bit more advanced in that they provide drag and drop tagging, which is a lot more than most organizers do.
Coming up:a comparison of Journler and MacJournal.