For the last 15 years I'm keeping some kind of writer's notebook. Everything I come across, and is seemingly important, goes into the notebook:
- Writings (primarily on the road)
- Journal entries
- Todo list
- Calendar and Appointments
- Lists for everything. Books to read, books to buy, movies to watch, gift ideas.
- Letter/Email drafts
Since I'm also a software developer my notebooks contain further:
- Class/Object/Sequence diagrams
- Mathematical equations and formulas
- etc., etc.
Over the years I've collected about 15 notebooks. Full of information. I guess some of you will also have that many (or even more) notebooks. So my question is how can I stay on top of this information?
Assuming that I'm writing a story today. How do I know that a conversation I preserved in 2002 can be important for my current writing? Because there are currently only 15 notebooks in my desk drawer, I can flip through them and eventually find something that is useful for me now. But this will have a limit. I think 25 or 30 notebooks will be already too many to flip through. Besides that it is not really research, rather stumbling across.
How can I handle the various bits and pieces that I record? Can I digitize these notebooks, either through typing or scanning? Or should I maintainin some kind of index?
Although I'm a pen and paper-Lover and I would really like to hear about some paper-based systems, I'm open to hearing about digital workflows as well.