Two years ago I showed how to use Google Docs (spreadsheet) for a research log. I stopped using that method and switched to Evernote. I like the flexibility of Evernote. Using a spreadsheet seemed restrictive to me. Sometimes I wanted formatted rows and columns of data, but usually I just wanted to type free-form notes, paste links, etc. With Evernote you can have tables for the formatted stuff but you can also have as free-form text for notes, links, etc. It is also very easy to search on any word in your research logs to find things quickly.
Evernote doesn’t let you organize your notes by folders, but you can create a “stack” and then create notebooks below a stack, and then notes within a notebook. Essentially, it’s like having folders two-deep. I have a stack called “FamilyHistory-Research”. Below that, I have notebooks (folders) for each surname. Then, within a surname notebook/folder, I have individual notes for a given person or family.
I have a template note that I use when I create a new research log. Right-click the note, choose “copy note”, then rename it. I have 5 sections to my research log:
- Links to the person/family in online trees
- Record search results
- Free-form notes
Click on the examples below for more explanations.