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There’s no inherent structure to work. Work has no inherent unit. We make units; we make tasks, and projects, and milestones, and goals. But nothing about those is inherent in the nature of work. Tiago Forte
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Discussion Forum > System for Storing Ideas and Information for Future Use


Can anybody give me an idea how to organize personal information storage/database? I'm working in agency and writing advertisement. I want to catch good examples of internet ads I see, store them, organize somehow and create a collection, which I can use later for inspiration.

I read about this technique in Dan Kennedy book called Ultimate sales letter. Author said that he has great collection of such ads from magazies, etc. He called it "Swipe files" or something like that.

Is it possible to store this on paper system, because I like paper a lot?
Or use a software for my PC?
How to organize it in groups?
How to search it later - use tags or something?
Write my personal notes for every image I saved or not?
How large shoud collection be to really work well?

Can you give me an examples how you solve similair problem, or give link, book or idea on this topic? Thanks.
July 17, 2017 at 8:31 | Unregistered CommenterDmitry P.

Is it possible to store this on paper system, because I like paper a lot?

I'm sure it's possible, but I wouldn't advise it myself. Paper takes up a lot of physical space and takes a lot of time to file effectively.

Or use a software for my PC?

I use Evernote myself and highly recommend it. If you also get the app for your Smartphone you can use the camera to scan images directly into Evernote.

Start with the free version, then upgrade as and when you feel the need to.

How to organize it in groups?

Evernote has virtual Notebooks which can be used group collections of notes and/or images together.

How to search it later - use tags or something?

Yes. Evernote has tags. You can use as many as you like. It also has an excellent search function.

Write my personal notes for every image I saved or not?

My advice is don't over-organize. Otherwise you will spend more time organizing than you do getting ideas. Write notes only when you have something to say.

How large should collection be to really work well?

Just keep adding to it when you see something you like.
July 17, 2017 at 11:11 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I use EverNote, since it can handle any file type. I use it on my Android phone and tablet, and my computer. It also has a good Clipper addon for both Chrome and Android. On a computer, you can even say how much of the page to save, about 5 levels, from the entire page, down to just the article's content (assuming the author used HTML tags correctly).

EverNote has offline notebooks. It might be a premium feature. You can specify which notebooks stay on each small device, which saves space. You can still access them and see the titles, but you need to be online to read or search.

It allows you to email content. By default, it arrives in your inbox, but there is a system of codes in the subject line to add a notebook or tags.

It has a built-in scanner which is pretty good. It straightens and adjusts the image. It says it can search within the page using text recognition, but I tried that a few years ago, printing very neatly for the test, and it failed. Also, I found, though, it was easier to keep paper on paper.

Stever Robbins recommends using the same file naming convention for your email, electronic files, and paper files. I haven't bothered. Letting each system grow organically seems to work fine.

As for inspiration files, I've tried them, and found them more work than they're worth. It's usually faster to look for new inspiration than through my files. The exception is things I might want to tell others about in the future. Even then, I can usually find it again with Google. Several of my friends are retiring and downsizing, and trying to give me their inspiration files. Most of them say, "this book is filled with good ideas," but mumble when I ask which ideas they actually used.
July 20, 2017 at 21:16 | Registered CommenterCricket
If it's mostly images, Pinterest is excellent. I use the Chrome addon, so it's a single click to add the picture. It keeps a link to the original page. The bulk editor (to move several pins at once) is very useful, but hidden so most people don't know it exists. (Yeah, that's another exception. I need to choose 20 projects each year, and turn the into classes. It's not a huge file, though, and gets purged every year.)

Both EverNote and Pinterest lets you share with your friends (if they also have accounts).
July 20, 2017 at 21:21 | Registered CommenterCricket