Eastgate Systems      Serious Hypertext

Permanent Record


Download Tinderbox now!


Tinderbox for Macintosh. $249

You can always remove it later.

Making Better Notes

  Subscribe : get updates in your news reader

Keep in touch!

Keep in touch with new ideas and new tools! Moderated email announcements, concise, and timely. We never share your email address.

Your name:

Made with Tinderbox!

Scrap book. © Copyright 2005 by Sonja Engdahl. Used by permission.

The sense of permanence can overshadow the experience of note-making.

On the one hand, permanence can empower and invigorate. In making notes, we're capturing ideas we'll need later, impressions we'll want to recall. We're speaking to our future selves, recording things now that we'll want to remember, and perhaps to act upon, later.

When Magdalena Donea left her native Romania, she writes that:

In the winter of 1983, I stood on a barren hillside hundreds of feet above the coast of the Black Sea, and I promised myself that yes, I would take care to record in my mind, and later remember, the time that was to come, each and every moment of it. It was a promise I kept well.

I just never stopped.

I've been recording my life and sharing it, in some form or another, ever since.

For some people, permanence carries a tacit threat. If notes aid memory, then that memory will also carry the record of your mistakes, your errors, your shortcomings.

Fear of making a blunder leads people to put off writing things down. Strategies like sketching and incremental formalization can help defuse these fears; if your original note was wrong, it can easily be corrected or amended.

Sometimes, concern over the permanence of notes may be grounded in concerns for privacy and security from litigation. A lawsuit cannot later uncover what you are thinking, but it might uncover and try to interpret the evidence of your notes. Encryption, protection, and disposability can ease these concerns but might not alleviate them entirely.