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Scrible: What Evernote is Evernot

People love Evernote, people, like Jay Fleischman and Erik Mazzone. You probably figure if Erik Mazzone uses Evernote, you should, too. That may be true. But, there’s another option: Scrible.

There are two primary areas in which Evernote and Scrible differ—one is a huge advantage for Evernote, and the other is, perhaps, just as huge an advantage for Scrible.

First, plainly, Scrible’s blog has nothing on Evernote’s blog. But, Scrible’s still in beta. It’s just a baby. Give it time. My sense is that they are too busy developing their product to market those developments at their blog. Scrible is in an intense feedback-seeking mode, aiming to improve its product as much as possible during this beta phase. And, accordingly, they have made submitting errors and questions into an easy, one-click, non-distracting process.

Evernote’s real advantage, though, is in its ability to capture anything: webpages, photos, screenshots, voice memos, notes, emails, stray dogs. . . And then, you can do all the things that Jay and Erik wrote about in their posts, above. Scrible, however, is limited to capturing websites.

Scrible counterbalances this limitation with a comprehensive annotation toolset. Yes, in Evernote you can edit a webpage, but only with a comparatively primitive text editor: bold, italic, underline, subscript, superscript, horizontal alignment, strikeout, indentation, numbered and bulleted lists, hyperlink, checkbox (I like that), font color, family, and size. There are no actual markup tools, as such.

First, Scrible’s editor toolbar is much prettier. Visually pleasant interfaces make me happier when I work. Everyone likes being happy. Scrible’s pretty toolbar allows you the following capabilities:

  • Highlight text in no less than forty different colors;
  • Create sizable comment boxes in the same forty colors, which makes it easy to see what text the comment boxes refer to;
  • Change text color (and, bold, italic, underline, and strikeout are all available here, too);
  • And, you have a handy undo/redo button set, which is very useful (not that I ever make mistakes that I want to undo);
  • AND, you can create an annotation legend;
  • AND, you can hide all annotations, or, just minimize comments.

Email sharing is a one-click process, and, in non-basic editions, Scrible will integrate collaboration features with its shareable libraries. Both personal libraries and shared libraries are searchable, filterable, and tag-able. Those functions mirror that which you see in Gmail, so, for the many Gmail users, the Scrible library will be very intuitively navigable. And, of course, articles can be copied easily from one library to another.

Scrible has a few shortcomings, all of which were mentioned to Scrible CEO Victor Karkar, and all of which were met with an optimistic response for potential improvements. Nonetheless, currently, you cannot anchor a comment to a picture (though, I don’t think I’ve ever found myself wanting to do that, and, if I did, it would be easy enough to work around). You cannot move an article from one library to another in one step (you’d have to copy it, and then go back and delete it—a little inconvenient). You cannot export or suggest tags across libraries (again, yet).

Scrible is marketed as an online research markup tool, as noted by Mashable. So, although I think the folks at Scrible would be inclined to react to its’ users desire to store non-webpage material, that may not be the direction they’re heading. I have no idea. The other unknown is when, if ever, Evernote will develop Scrible-like annotation capabilities for clipped webpages. I can’t imagine why they haven’t yet, which makes me wonder if they ever will. Apparently, you can integrate Skitch or Jet Screenshot with Evernote. I haven’t tried it.

So, for now anyway, if you’re looking for a product to store, organize, and review a varied lot of related items, you would be smart to use Evernote. But, if you’re really digging into online research (holler at fellow former debater Victor!), use Scrible.