Research journal templates?

Hey all, new OO user here. I’m trying OO as a research journal / “lab book” (I’m doing computer science research). Does anyone have any templates or workflow recommendations? Thanks!

(I’m trying OO as an RSI-friendly alternative to org-mode in emacs, which was recommended by a few people as good for organizing CS research notes.)

Hi cbarrett,

I’ve tried very hard to use OO as a scientific lab book shortly after Circus Ponies Notebook (CPN) went under. Unfortunately, I think it’s very difficult to do it effectively at least with oo4. The inability to edit embedded documents means that once you place a file, figure, etc into a notebook, it can never be changed. That was a show-stopper for me, and the inability to tag/flag then filter entries was a real problem as well.

The good news is that Omni has added filtering for rows for oo5, and it’s an amazingly good implementation of it. But it’s still unknown whether the ability to edit embedded documents will be added (they haven’t released the beta yet, and haven’t commented on the issue).

Having said all that, I did have a few trial templates from back when I tried using it at a notebook right after CPN shut down. I’ll look around for them and reply again if I find a decent one.

If you have recommendations for other software for a scientific lab notebook, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve really found nothing excellent. I did use devonthink for a while, but it quickly gets disorganized once you have a lot of entries unless you spend a lot of time messing with it.


Hey Carl,

I’d appreciate the trial templates, just to take a look for inspiration.

The software people recommend most to me for such things is org-mode for emacs. However using emacs aggravates my RSI, so I’ve been a vim user for a while. (There are apparently vim emulation modes for emacs and some other anti-RSI modes, but I haven’t had the time / inclination to get an emacs configuration set up to try them out. )

Thanks for responding!

Yeah, emacs org-mode isn’t dreadful, but it gets annoying.

I’ve recently just been using OSX’s built-in TextEdit app. Once you start adding attachments, they get saved as a rtfd. You still have to be careful about how you edit attachments (move them out, edit them, then move them back into the package… one long annoying kludge).

I believe that the whole problem with being unable to edit embedded files is largely because of Apple’s autosaving versions, but even when I’ve used the plist to turn that off, I still can’t get edits to attachments to stick. I’m hoping that the Omni engineers are more clever than I am. I don’t know how Circus Ponies pulled it off.

The forums don’t seem to allow uploads of anything other than images.