How it works:
MailKeeper is an information-gathering and -categorizing program, and it must be running while your are using other programs from which you wish to extract text. When you come across a piece of information which you wish to save in MailKeeper, you select it and then press command-shift-4: you hear a chime, then a wooshing sound as you are switched to MailKeeper which processes the text and confirms the choice of a name for the extracted text if you so desire, and finally you are switched back to your program. What sort of processing does the program perform? Depending on settings which you specify, the text you have just captured is scanned for words which match any of the categories which you see in the window panes-- some of these are defaults supplied with the program, and others can be added by you. You may also specify categories individually in the body of the extracted text by typing the word "Categories" followed by a colon and a space, and then specifying the category names after that, or by clicking on the "Categorize" button and then clicking on different categories in the various panes, or by dragging selected items over a category (MailKeeper implements System 7.5's drag and drop features fairly completely). Similarly, the name for the captured text may be automatically assigned based on the following rules according to the manual:
First, MailKeeper makes a frequency count of words within each sentence. Then the sentence which contains the most frequently used words within the text (ignoring some common insignificant words) is determined. MailKeeper extracts a summary from that sentence, by omitting insignificant words and this summary is used as the name.
To test this algorithm, I capture the paragraph immediately preceding this block quote. The title MailKeeper proposed was "when you come across a piece of." I generally prefer to assign my own names.
You may wonder what the checkboxes are for in the upper left-hand corner of MailKeeper's window. Those on the left-hand side correspond to different categories of captured text. The rectangle below "Matching" displays, as one might guess, all of the items which meet the criteria you have selected. Double-clicking on any item opens it. These items are of different types which are indicated by icons: notes, e-mail, and addresses. Directly above "Matching:" there are three checkboxes corresponding to these three types; removing the checkmarks omits that type of item from the display. The addresses are automatically extracted from any captured text, and frankly, I find this to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Here I've double-clicked on one address, which was correctly identified by the program to be a CompuServe address:
I usually leave that box unchecked; as soon as I uncheck it, only 145 matching items are displayed:
The pound sign (#) checkbox in the right-hand column of checkboxes displays the number of items in each category:
The question mark displays help, and the downward arrow toggles on and off an important feature of MailKeeper, which Nisus Software calls "Guided Information Access." More on that below. The calendar icon allows you to select items according to their creation date. The rectangle running beneath this date information displays the categories being used to select the items. The biggest rectangle is actually a four-pane arrangement with four headings, each of which can be renamed by the user and to which categories can be added. My arrangement is not the most logical, but the general idea is that by moving from left to right, you move from more-inclusive to less-inclusive categories. Those categories that are underlined are program defaults and cannot be removed or renamed; they are assigned automatically to items as they are captured.
Guided information access:
What this means is that if I click on any one of the categories above, only those items linked to that category will be displayed. This works not only for one category, but for as many as you choose to select. For example, if I click on Macintosh, then number of items is reduced to 112:
But let's say that I'm only interested in Macintosh software special offers; then only 9 items are displayed.
Alternately, if I'm interested in all special offers, I can click just on that category, and hardware items will be added:
You may be curious as to what the "Names" heading designates. These are the all of the e-mail address names which MailKeeper automatically extracts from items, and they are added to an items categories so that it becomes possible to select all of those items which refer in some way to a single e-mail address.
This is a quite useful program for organizing text clippings. Its RAM footprint is fairly reasonable (1.5 megabytes), and it is space-efficient as well since the items aren't stored as separate files. I still have many e-mail messages stored in different Eudora mailboxes which I refer to occasionally, perhaps because I'm too lazy to transfer them to MailKeeper. MailKeeper costs $39 and is available directly from Nisus Software.