I used to hold my personal data in Lotus Notes – of course. I have my e-mail on Lotus Notes, my calendar, my tasks, my memos. I saved my bookmarks to a Notes database. And my adresses of course are saved to a Notes database, too.

But there is a continuous change in the way I use my personal information management toolset. I started to use flickr a year ago for managing and sharing my pictures. I started to use openBC to keep track of my contacts. I started using del.icio.usto manage and share my bookmarks. These tools have several things in common. First: They all belong to a new software category called “social software”. Second: The data is available everywhere and I can share data easily. Third: There is no interface to Lotus Notes. Yes, I know, they all support RSS and some import / export routines, all not very usefull for me. There is no need to connect flickr to Lotus Notes, because Lotus Notes is definetly not the right place to store images – but what about adresses, calendar entries, tasks? I am not talking about my business adress and correspondence, which resides inside my Notes-based CRM. I am talking about my personal information management.

First, what about managing my contacts? The Lotus Notes personal names and adressbook is still my leading personal adress management application. Syncing the adressbook against services like Plaxo (stopped using it because of missing Notes support) or openBC is not supported. Marco told me he wrote a synchronisation interface to openBC which will be available soon. So there is some hope. But will I store my personal contacts in Lotus Notes in the future? I fight with the personal adress book in Notes since years, clean it up at least once a year for several reasons – mostly because DWA mail template or other applications sync against my adress book and this causes the well known troubles. And it seems I am not the only one fighting with this. Reading the “wishlist for Notes 7” I found several complaints about the poor personal name- and adressbook:

Notes 7.x feature requests
An address book that doesn’t look like its from a product developed 10 years ago. The address book in Notes is by FAR the worst of any PIM management out there. From annoyances like not formating numbers to not being able to e-mail multiple addresses. It is awful.

Same for Calendar. I see several needs to share my calendar not only within my company but with many other people and applications. Lotus Notes is not very good in sharing calendar entries across application. Yes, I know, it supports iCal format. I can send and receive invitations – but what about free time lookup?

Now we have the To Do lists. vowe links to a servive called ta-da. You can make you own To Do lists or To Dos for other people. You can share them and the items are available via RSS. I liked the idea immediatly. But: I live inside my Notes client.

I have no idea how to bring all these services together. Share the data across apps and people, maintain the data in one environment when working in Notes. Is the Workplace Client the solution? Maybe in the future. Is it better to componentize, use different apps that are perfect for the individual task. Any suggestions? How do you deal with these – let´s say – challenges?


Joseph Smarr:

Hi, I’m an engineer at Plaxo, and I noticed you mentioned ‘missing notes support’ for Plaxo. It may be a while since you stopped using Plaxo, but we do support Notes currently, both syncing notes themselves (along with contacts, calendar, and tasks) and syncing the notes field for contacts (there’s a preference you have to turn on to enable contact-note syncing because some people don’t want to sync them). So I hope you consider giving Plaxo another try when you get a chance! Thanks, js



Hi Alexander, ja das Namens- und Adressbuch ist eine Katatstrophe. Die Synchronisation mit der Mailbox geht nicht automatisch und ist fehlerbehaftet, die Basis für die Applikation wurde wahrscheinliuch in grauer Vorzeit gelegt und die richtig aufgeräumt. Termin habe ich schon längst zu iCal ausgelagert. e-Mail und Apps liegen im Notes. Traurig ist aber auch, daß die Sync-Tool Hersteller für die Handys und PDA das Thema auch nicht beherrschen, denn dies verursacht die meiste Arbeit mit dem Adressaufräumen, Hätte auch lieber alles in Notes. Aber wie heißt es doch: Notes kann alles, aber nicht perfekt.


Alexander Kluge:

@Joseph: Thanks for your feedback. I see, Plaxo is scanning the Blogosphere 🙂 I wil have a look at Plaxo again. @Michael: Agreed: With Notes you can do everything, but nothing in a perfect way. I would like to find a way to stay inside my Notes client. But some of the limitations drive me crazy.


Stefan Heinz:

Hi Alexander – I don’t quite understand some people’s hype about ta-da … I had looked at it, but my own little list-db I made in Notes is far more handy – and if I want to have it available everywhere, I just need to place it on a server that has inet-connection. You do have all that. NAB – well, nothing to say against that :happy: and Plaxo sounds promising.



Some of my buddies use mac and switched to iCal. I rather live with the limitations of Notes than to ‘componentize’


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