Organizational Tools for Mac OS X

icon for yojimbo

The icon for Yojimbo, one of the tools listed here.

I’m beginning some new research projects and I decided that my Mac was getting far too cluttered with random notes and PDFs. Spotlight or no, it was getting hard to find things—let alone draw interesting connections between them. I knew there were some great productivity programs for Mac, variously called “notetaking software,” “productivity tools,” or even “digital junk drawers.” In short, they’re iLife-style programs for storing, tagging, annotating, and otherwise keeping track of all your stuff—think iTunes for your notes. I just didn’t know how many productivity programs there were for Mac. So many, in fact, that every time I thought I had a complete list I found two more. Unfortunately, there’s no one list or review that I can find that compares all these tools (well, actually DiRT Wiki might have one). Anyhow, in the interest of consumer awareness, I’ve tried to put together a complete list below. Some programs, like WikityWidget are simple note taking tools, while others, like Evernote are technological tours de force.

If you have additions or existing favorites please use the comment thread to tell us about them. I may even update the post with your thoughts and reviews. The list is long enough that I’ve shied away from trying—let alone reviewing—all these myself. However, for those who are interested in my personal solution, I’ve adopted Papers, Together, and Zotero and reviewed them elsewhere.

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