Organizing clippings and cruft

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Reader Anthony Reimer is interested in gathering, organizing, and searching the flotsam that accumulates on his computer. He writes:

There are certain short pieces of information (invariably text) that I want to keep around for future use. I’ve historically used Stickies, but I recently realized that Spotlight doesn’t index the Stickies database. What solutions (including commercial software) can you recommend that allow me to author and store snippets of information but find them via Spotlight?

To an extent I’d like to crowd-source this question and allow our readers to offer their suggestions. There are lots of ways to do this and how you choose to go about it depends on what you’re willing to spend, how much trouble you’re willing to take, and how much control you want to have over your clippings. So, after you read my musings, please continue down to the comments area.

Personally, I’ve used two applications that I can recommend—Bare Bones’ $39 Yojimbo and DevonTechnologies’ $50 DevonThink Personal. Broadly, these are “digital junk drawer” applications—a place where you can drop files that you can later view in one place. Each lets you drag and drop files into their databases and search those databases for the clippings you want. Yojimbo’s results also appear when you search with Spotlight.

Drag and drop isn’t the only avenue for getting files into these applications. Both applications allow you to add content from Web pages via Safari and Firefox plug-ins. Also, each lets you create PDF versions of any printable document via the Print dialog box. To do that just click on the PDF button and choose Save PDF to nameofapplication (Yojimbo or DevonThink).

DevonThink has better support for media files, although you can create a new Yojimbo note and embed an audio file into it. Unlike Yojimbo, DevonThink also allows you to import and preview Microsoft Office and iWork documents, though you can’t edit them.

But this isn’t meant to be a comparative review of the two products. You can download a demo of each one to see how you like them. And now, dear readers, if you’d like to comment on my suggestions or propose applications that you particularly prefer, the floor is yours.

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