Taking notes vs organizing information

When Leo Laporte mentioned Pear Note on MacBreak Weekly, he mentioned that he had not tried it out before because he thought it was “another notebook program for the Mac.” There are a lot of notebook applications out there that help you organize information. Some have referred to these applications as Everything Buckets. I will not take a stance in favor of or against these (in this post at least), but will instead just point out that organizing information and taking notes are two very different tasks. Some of the organizers out there try to blur the line a bit by providing a very simple note-taking function in addition to their organizational capabilities (usually a simple text editor), but they are still primarily organizational tools, not note-taking tools.

Illustrative Venn Diagram

Illustrative Venn Diagram

Pear Note is not a notebook application; it is a note-taking tool. It aims to help you take better notes, not organize them. Pear Note also provides search functionality so that if you, like me, are not into organizing your notes you can just search for them when you need them. However, if you’re not like me and you really want to organize your notes, fear not. You can easily use Pear Note to take notes and use one of the information organizers out there (or Finder if that meets your needs) to organize those Pear Note notes. I know there are people using Pear Note in conjunction with Together as well as DEVONthink to do just that.

Unfortunately, I think far too many people dismiss Pear Note before understanding that it is different from the many notebook applications out there. I wish there was an easy way to distinguish “note-taking” from “notebook,” but I have yet to find it. If you have any ideas of good ways to succinctly communicate the difference, I’m all ears.

10 Responses to “Taking notes vs organizing information”

  1. Leo LaPorte has learned about Pear Note – he recommended it to a caller on his show over the weekend!

  2. I’m here looking at Pear Fruit as a result of a recommendation from Leo Laporte’s 7 October program. I’m assuming it works like the Livescribe pen. Looks like a tool that I could benefit from so I’m giving it a try.

  3. c-had says:


    It does indeed work somewhat like the Livescribe pen, though by being software it can do a lot more than the Livescribe can, including things like slides integration, video, and quick easy search. Let me know if you have any problems.

  4. eduardo says:

    You know, I saw an ad for your product in Tweetie… I almost didn’t click (I rarely do.) I have just seen your demo video, I have downloaded the app, and I can’t wait to start using it on monday. Seriously. I’m *really* excited.

    So, let’s see in 30 days if I’m still using it!

  5. Dat says:

    This is a VERY good point. Indeed, I overlooked Pear Note because I thought it was another “notebook” … but now that I looked at it again I realized you are RIGHT. Notetaking and organizing are DIFFERENT. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    I stumbled onto this because of your posted comment about the Pulse Smartpen. I just got one of those in hope of improving my notetaking (not organizing). I wish the file format/structure they use would play nicely with other programs like Pear Notes does … but … I got it because I am a math student, and half of what I write are squiggly symbols so I need to do more than write text.

    thank you

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