Capture software is software that allows you to record bits of information that you can put to use in your projects. These bits of information include notes, to-do lists, book references, quotes, web pages and even sound files and photographs. Examples of capture software include Google Keep, Springpad, Zotero, Evernote and Any.do. (Examples of software that would not be capture software are Microsoft Word, the GIMP and Audacity.)
Capture software offerings can seem endless, and many of the offerings are free of charge to the user. Regardless of your decision to use a free or a subscriber-sponsored title, you must ensure before you begin using the software that it will satisfy all of your information capture and use needs. Further, you will probably decide that a combination of offerings best serves your workflow. For example, you could decide that Zotero is best for managing your bibliographic references, Any.do is best for your to-do lists and Evernote is best for capturing Web pages. Once you decide on your specific titles, you must dedicate yourself to using the appropriate title in any given scenario; if a to-do crosses your mind while on a beach with your tablet, entering the to-do in your chosen capture software should be an automatic process. But how do you decide which program you will use for each category of information capture? Below I offer a set of criteria I find useful when considering new capture software.