Free Access Week at

Ances­try Free Access Week announced Free Access to immi­gra­tion and trav­el records from around the world through Sep­tem­ber 5th.

This is a very large col­lec­tion of mate­ri­als. If you are not an Ances­try sub­scriber, this would be a per­fect time to drop in to take a look and do some seri­ous research in their trav­el and immi­gra­tion records.

Anoth­er note, Ances­try has announced that the 1940 cen­sus will be avail­able for free, once they post it after April 1, 2012. I’m look­ing for­ward to it. (But to be clear, the 1940 cen­sus will also be avail­able on the Nation­al Archives web­site for free. It will be up to Ances­try to demon­strate com­pelling val­ue in terms of usabil­i­ty and search­a­bil­i­ty to make the 1940 cen­sus a dif­fer­en­tia­tor for Ances­try.)

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Zendone, Evernote, and GTD

ZendoneI have writ­ten sev­er­al times about Ever­note, which has become my all-around stor­age solu­tion for notes, web clip­pings, and doc­u­ments. This is true both both in pur­suit of genealog­i­cal finds, and for per­son­al and busi­ness endeav­ors.

One of the biggest gaps I have seen in the Ever­note prod­uct is its lack of a seri­ous suite of GTD (Get­ting Things Done) func­tion­al­i­ty (Wikipedia: Get­ting Things Done).

GTD is a whole sub­cul­ture. Some even say, albeit jok­ing­ly, a whole cult, built around the ideas of David Allen, the author of, you guessed it, Get­ting Things Done (Ama­zon | Barnes and Noble). If you dis­till his ideas down to the sim­plest lev­el, David Allen’s point is that our minds can­not pos­si­bly hold every­thing we need to remem­ber to do; our attempt to remem­ber every­thing we should do caus­es stress, which low­ers per­for­mance and the dimin­ish­es our abil­i­ty to get things done. He rec­om­mends that we find a trust­ed sys­tem for gath­er­ing ideas, tasks, thought tick­lers, and poten­tial next steps. Peri­od­i­cal­ly, we must process those items, tak­ing action on the quick­ly done items, and sort­ing the oth­ers based on con­text (@phone, @computer, @work) and pri­or­i­ty. Once we know we are gath­er­ing items and tasks in this way, we can use our minds to actu­al­ly con­sid­er things, instead of sim­ply try to remem­ber what it was we intend­ed to think about.

In Ever­note itself, there’s not a good way to man­age to do lists, dead­lines, and an over­all GTD work­flow. Sev­er­al inte­gra­tions have sprung up that attempt to address this gap, includ­ing ones with Nozbe, Reqall, and Dial2Do. Of these, I am most famil­iar with the Reqall inte­gra­tion. While this helps you get data from Ever­note into Reqall, it is a lit­tle lim­it­ing, and does not add up to an inte­grat­ed work­flow.

Zen­done, new appli­ca­tion, not quite released for Beta, but demon­strat­ed on Vimeo and with a detailed pic­ture of the user inter­face on their web­site, looks like it may address the GTD work­flow gap in Ever­note. Zen­done allows you to pull items from the default fold­er in your Ever­note account and process them, either tak­ing the action you intend to take (do), or orga­niz­ing them into tasks to be done lat­er (review & orga­nize). As you do this, Zen­done auto­mat­i­cal­ly moves your notes from the default note­book. You can also add items in Zen­done and have them show up in Ever­note. Any­thing you sched­ule is pushed to your Google Cal­en­dar. Alter­nate­ly, you can add things to your Google Cal­en­dar and they will show up in Zen­done.

Zen­done is a final­ist in the Ever­note Devel­op­er Com­pe­ti­tion, where near­ly 1,000 devel­op­ers com­pet­ed for $5,000 for six final­ists and a $50,000 for the grand prize. The win­ner will be announced at the first Ever­note Trunk Con­fer­ence in San Fran­cis­co on August 18th. I wish I could be there!

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