Some of my job functions require a large volume of record gathering for several cases simultaneously. At first, I was dealing with this task by using a Word or WordPerfect text document (“record disposition log”) with tables indicating the name of the location and what had transpired between my phone calls/faxes to them and their responses to me. Sometimes I contact 10 to 20 different places in one day and unfortunately must leave an innumerable number of voicemails; when people start returning my calls, I would often have difficulty locating their entry on my text documents or even knowing which case they were calling about — quickly. The text documents would soon begin to look like a real mess, and there was no quick way to link scanned information to a particular table without using some cumbersome feature like Link Object in Microsoft Word.
One day, after fumbling through a series of notepads and text documents trying to locate a phone number, it occurred to me that there had to be a better way to manage large volumes of interconnected information. What I needed was a surface, a canvas that would enable me to map out the process of gathering and collecting information as well as being able to keep a detailed catalog of notes for each area of interest. I tested a wide variety of software; ConceptDraw, NovaMind, Pimki, FreeMind, Compendium and a whole bunch of others.