My brain has a limited capacity to store knowledge. In the past, I frequently needed to think about a particular topic and remembered finding valuable resources for it, but didn’t remember enough to find them again. The internet alleviate this problem. It is easy to write stuff down on the internet, and then find it again later.

Right now I use Google Notebook. When I find information on a topic I am or might be interested in, I write it down or link to it and describe it. If I have a preexisting note I add the information there; if I don’t, I start a new one. That way, when I decide to revisit the topic, I can search and find sources that I have already come across. When I find a paper that I might want to read later, I write a note to myself, so that I can find it later if I decide to read it.

Here’s a typical note, from my “Investment” notebook:

Online banking, higher rates than capital one
offering 4.1% when capital one was at 2.96%
offshore bank maybe a little sketchy

also high CD rates for large sums 100k – 7.5%
not FDIC insured key

some skepticism about it

I found some interesting information online on banking, that I thought might be useful in the future, so I wrote it down for the next time I have to make a related decision. I wish I could do this with my school-real life note taking and store it on a computer where it is searchable.

I also occasionally look though my notebooks without a specific goal in mind. I do this for a couple reasons; 1) I can correct misspellings and errors, 2) sometimes it inspires me to look to go and read something or spend time thinking about an idea I had, and 3) leafing through it helps me remember what resources I actually have in there, which is important if I don’t want to start from scratch next time

I suspect that I will stop using Google Notebook soon because Google has seemingly stopped updating the application. Google has removed the application from their menu bar in Gmail. The search feature is also somewhat limited; for example, if I search for ‘auction’ it doesn’t do the regular Google things like also searching searching for ‘auctions’.

I don’t know what software I should use. I do know that Zoho has a Notebook (though it doesn’t seem to have a search feature!), and Second Brain seems interesting (though it doesn’t seem focused around note taking), but I haven’t played around with any software for an extended period.

Do other people do this sort of thing too?