Ultimate Note-Taking


I was walking down a street in Istanbul near the Hagia Sophia when loudspeakers atop an army of high minarets began blaring the Muslim prayers. I stopped, pulled a small audio recorder out of my over-the-shoulder bag (a manly bag, of course), and began recording the exotic sounds of the prayers and street noises. I then pulled my camera out of the bag and took a few photos to accompany the sounds. When the melodic prayers were finished, I pulled my pocket-sized journal and mini-pen out of my front pant pocket and jotted down some notes about that moment in time – what I had heard, seen and thought. I knew I would not only need these notes for the travel articles I would write about my trip to Turkey, but for my own memory bank.

Not long after returning from Turkey I was sitting in a meeting with the directors of a business who had hired me to write the text for their glossy company publication. On the boardroom table in front of me were my notebook, my audio recorder and a camera. As the company’s leaders gave me the information I would need to complete the project, I took notes in my notebook and kept my audio recorder running to make certain I wouldn’t miss anything. The camera came in handy later as we toured the manufacturing plant and I took photos of the various process I would have to write about.

For writers, information is critical. Whether you are writing an article, a business project, a book or something just for yourself, you need information. You do not want to be within 15 minutes of the deadline for a business brochure and realize you can’t remember the name of that revolutionary new manufacturing technique being used, and you don’t have anything about it in your notes, and the only person who has that information is on a fishing trip in the wilds of Alaska.

Nor do you want to have your writing come to a screeching halt because you can’t remember what the name of that big mosque you were walking by during afternoon prayers and you don’t want to dilute your article by referring to it as “some big mosque” rather than “the world-famous Hagia Sophia.”

Ultimate Note-Taking: Capture Text, Audio and Visual Notes
By Steve Osborne

Read the full article at his blog, "The Writer’s Bag"

© 2008 SO All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “Ultimate Note-Taking

  1. Maybe we need somekind of all in one not taker, that could keep the association between the different media (i.e keep the photos of a place “near” the corresponding audio notes and text). Some kind of ultimate note taking oriented pda/smartphone would prove useful IMO.

  2. Steve, as usual a very interesting entry. Thanks. Note-taking is something I expend a lot of cycles over, and I don’t think I actually take good notes in spite of that. It would be interesting to look at your notes as they were taken _at_ _the_ _time_.

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