reference information

7 tools for capturing and storing reference information

Capturing, organizing and storing reference information does not have to be a nightmare. The trick is to have good tools and decide where to put the different categories of information. To help you get started, I have put together this overview of tools that I have been using for a long time.


How to handle reference information

What was the name of that wine I tasted last weekend? Didn’t I jot down that address somewhere? When does the plane leave? You know the feeling: There is just too much information, and it’s everywhere.

The most important thing is to limit the number of places any reference information can be stored. True, I have 6 different places below where I store information, but I have a logical system for where to store what.

For Wine notes I use Vivino. For gin notes I use Ginto. My travel information is stored in TripIt. For any private information not in the above categories, I use Evernote. Everything work related goes into OneNote.


1. Livescribe
Android, iOS
reference informationThe Livescribe pen is the only physical tool on this list.
The Livescribe 3 Smartpen bridges the gap between physical note-taking and digital, searchable text.

The pen scans the text as you write it. With the swipe of your finger, the Livescribe software instantly converts your handwriting into text. The best thing: It actually works!


2. Evernote
Android, iOS, Web, Windows

reference informationEvernote is my go-to place for storing any non-work related reference information. Here I have everything from scans of important documents to color codes for the painting we used when we redecorated.

The Evernote web clipper, an add-in to Chrome, makes it really easy to save information from web pages.


3. OneNote
Android, Web, Windows

reference informationOneNote is Microsoft’s answer to Evernote. What it lacks compared to Evernote, it makes up for in seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Since the company I’m working for has standardized on Microsoft products, I did not have much of a choice when deciding where to store all work-related reference information.

Microsoft got a few things right. OneNote is the ideal tool for creating minutes based on meetings in your Outlook calendar. The minutes will be linked to the Outlook calendar item and can easily be emailed to all participants.


4. Google Drive
Android, iOS, Web, Windows
google drive

Google Drive lets you sync information between computers as well as access the same information on the web and your phone.  The synchronization is fast and hassle-free.

In the later years, I have been moving more and more information from my NAS to Google Drive. Even my Adobe Lightroom catalog and thousands of images are being synced between my laptop and my desktop.

WARNING: Putting your files on Google Drive does not eliminate the need for a real backup system. For backup, I would recommend Crashplan. See my post 10 tools to help you get productive and in control. for more information.


5. Vivino
Android, iOS, Web

vivinoWith Vivino, it’s easy to keep track of your favorite wines and compare different wines before buying them. Just take a picture of the wine label and Vivino will do the rest of the work for you.

You can add your own tasting notes and ratings, and keep track of the wines you have.




6. Ginventory
Android, iOS


Ginventory is for gin what Vivino is for wine – almost.
Ginventory lets you search for a gin or a tonic and rate it according to your tastes.

You will also find recommended tonics and garnishes for all gins. You can also add gins and tonics to your wishlist or cabinet.

As of November 2017, this little app covers a whopping 4298 different gins, 418 tonics, and 199 garnishes.



7. TripIt
Android, iOS, Web

tripitTripIt is an amazing tool. Just email your plane tickets, hotel confirmation, and rental car information. In seconds, you have a complete itinerary for your trip.

You can manually add other items to your trip, as needed.

All that’s left is to pack your suitcase.





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