Thanks much for your message.
Here’s my view…
I suspect that many users of MarginNote are academic researchers engaged in writing articles. We have a work process, and we want tools to help with that, e.g., by helping to take reading notes and organize our thinking and research. We work with large numbers of articles/books, and we really need tools to help manage them.
This is not really about mnemonics. The goal is generally not to memorize a lot of detail using, for example, flashcards. We’re not trying to remember all of this — there’s too much material.
Rather, the goal is first to be able to analyze and integrate concepts across many different passages of text, probably in different books/articles. Often, we are looking at relationships between concepts, and for this a multiple-term search is obviously pretty important.
As a first step, we need ways to code passages of text in documents with notes, tags, colors, etc. MarginNote can do this nicely. The reason we do this, is for the next step, which involves the kind of searching that a SQL database can do. I.e., searching for more than one term, hashtags, boolean operators, grouping, etc. The goals here are to integrate/condense a large number of notes, and to identify the main concepts/issues/debates, etc. There’s too much raw data, so we need to condense/compress it before we can analyze it.
For example, MarginNote lets us create a bunch of note cards, each one with a title, body text, and our own comments at the end. The comments might include hashtags or keywords. (I think of a hashtag as a kind of keyword.) We can do free-text searches on these, but it would be very useful if we could create and save more complex searches. Being able to specifically search the titles, the note bodies, and the comments could be good (this could be easy to implement if these are separate columns in a database table). Being able to search for hashtags/keywords separately from the text is important, because we use them to tag specific notes that are more relevant than others.
As @jprint says, the ability to sort/group the search results is also important, and to export these filtered/grouped/sorted results in Word or RTF. This is to help with the next phase of research, which is the synthesis of conclusions or new concepts.
We are using different text editors for the actual writing (the phase of synthesis), and we need to be able to pull the filtered/sorted/grouped search results directly into a text editor without too much fuss. This means additional control over how notes get exported is very important, too.
I could say more, but I hope @jprint, @JournoProf, and others will share their thoughts too.