Note Taking Tools

Category: Software

When I was a kid, research meant spending hours in the library, poring over dusty tomes, making notes on index cards, and then trying to organize it all. Today the wealth of information on the Internet can be tapped, annotated, and organized with easy-to-use web research and note taking tools. Here's how...

Evernote - remember everything!

Web Research and Annotation Made Easy

Research can be a very labor intensive process, even when you have the resources of the Internet at your fingertips. The Web offers instant access to research, databases, and experts on almost every subject. However, with such an abundance of information at your fingertips it can be difficult to keep all of your online research organized. This is where specialized web research tools like Evernote, Webnote, Ubernote, Delicious, Stumble Upon and Diigo can help.


One of the most comprehensive free web research tools available is Evernote. This research tool allows to you create, store and organize your research on your computer, and also makes your notes accessible and searchable from almost anywhere. Capture data from a web page, text file, your word processor, scan in an image or document, or email information to your Evernote account. You can also capture video and still images with your mobile phone, upload a digital audio snippet, drag and drop information from your desktop, or send notes to your Evernote account from Twitter.

Evernote takes all of your information, then processes it using speech, image and character recognition technology. You can add value to the data by organizing and tagging the notes. This allows you to do keyword searches for specific pieces of data using your computer, iPhone and other mobile devices. I think of Evernote as a digital shoebox on steroids. Whenever you come across a piece of information you want to save or remember, toss it in the Evernote box, and later you can find it with just a few clicks or keystrokes.


Ubernote is a knowledge management tool, that allows you to not only create new notes in the Ubernote platform, but it also allows you to import notes and files using your computer and your mobile devices. This web research tool also has a Firefox toolbar and an iGoogle gadget that will make creating bookmarklets and notes for your Ubernote account simple to do. You also have the option of sending notes to Ubernote from Twitter, AOL Instant Messenger and from your email account. Ubernote is great for saving task lists, contacts, bookmarks, web clips, documents, notes to self, or other random bits of information.

Ubernote is a lot like Evernote, but with some differences that may be important to you. Evernote can be used as an app on Windows, Mac, iPhone and other mobile devices, while Ubernote is a web-based tool. You can send notes to Ubernote via text message, but not to Evernote. Ubernote lacks the ability to take audio notes, but can track changes you've made to notes. I don't think Ubernote has the ability to search for text in your PDF files, or do speech recognition.

Zoho Notebook

If you're a fan of the Zoho online office suite, you'll love Zoho Notebook. This feature-rich online note application offers a palette where you can plop any text, image, audio or video content. You can also annotate your notes with drawing tools, such as the Line tool, Freehand drawing tool, and Shapes. There's a Firefox plugin which allows you to add Web clips easily.


If you are looking for a basic free service to keep and organize your notes then Webnotes is a great option. The free version allows you to highlight text and put sticky notes on web pages. Webnotes has an Organizer and a search function, along with tools for sharing and report generation. The Pro version adds support for PDF annotation and multi-color highlighting.

Sidenote for Macs

If you're looking for a lightweight note taking tool for Mac OS X, try Sidenote. When you need to remember something, Sidenote slides out like a drawer from the side of your screen. Type in your note, close it, and use Spotlight to search your notes later on.


Delicious, is a web research tool that has a different focus than the others we've discussed. Delicious allows you to create bookmarks for the websites that you find interesting. You can then tag these bookmarks with notes about the content and with keywords that relate to the site. When you need to access your notes all you have to do is log into your free account and conduct a keyword search. You can also search through the bookmarks created by other members to find related information.


StumbleUpon is similar to Delicious in that it allows you to bookmark important webpages and blog pages. You also can add notes about the site to help remind you what the page is about and you can tag the entry with relevant keywords to make finding your bookmarks easier to do.


One of the most unique web research tools around is Diigo. Diigo allows you to create bookmarks, as well as save and organize other types of information and notes. One of its best features is its highlighting tool. This tool allows you to highlight important passages on the webpages that you save to your account. You can also add a digital sticky note to the webpage to enhance the understanding of the webpage or to simply remind you why you saved the page in the first place. This site allows you to create research groups and to share your information by sending your notes to your blog.

What's your favorite research and note taking tool? Post your comments below...

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Most recent comments on "Note Taking Tools"

Posted by:

14 May 2009

Another one is - runs in the browser and lets you upload PDF or Word docs (or images, powerpoint, excel and snapshots of any web page) and attach notes, tags to highlighted text in the browser. You can send a link to discuss a document with other people, who can also reply to any of your notes.

Posted by:

Larry Massey
21 May 2009

I used Evernote for over a year and, at that time, it would interface with any kind of calendar.

Since that time, I have discovered Google with all its aspects (it a continuing process since they add things so often). Just to mention a few that I use for research are: Specialized subject searches for reports and tasks coordinated with calendar, search, chat and gmail. In addition, I can utilize Google docs to store unfinished or finished reports or research information. I can even colloborate with others on any document in real time.

As far as a good to-do list, I now can use calendar for all that via tasks, gmail or docs.

I could go on and on, but I think Google makes the process of organizing research and reports easier and more completely than Evernote.

By the way, I use Delicious a lot of the time, to save important my URLS and find websites related to my research subject by other users.

Posted by:

Harold Delk
09 Jun 2009

I use Zotero which I find invaluable for storing notes, keywords, web pages, almost anything ... and outputs endnotes and the like. Its really quite an amazing product in its depth and feature set. Works with Firefox.

It is well-suited to the academic world and I believe is actually the product of a university in Virginia. Its free.

Posted by:

09 Jun 2009

For short notes that need to be available to multiple machines, try, a Firefox add-on. With a hotkey to open it, it's very handy for "I'll need to remember this later" type things. The notes are synchronized to their server, so they're accessible from different machines.

For longer information relevant to a project, I send an email to myself at an address that forwards everything to my Gmail address. I add keywords in the body of the email that trigger filters and sort the information to the right label. When I'm ready to compile the info for the project, it's all right there under the label.

I like Evernote and it's very cool, but I don't use it much. Jott is good, too, but I don't use it since they started charging for the basic service.

Posted by:

14 Oct 2014

Good Blog! I Really Love How It Is Simple On My Eyes And The Data Are Well Written. I'm Wondering How I Could Be Notified When A New Post Has Been Made. I Have Subscribed To Your RSS Which Must Do The Trick! Have A Great Day!

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