I got some great responses last month when I asked for ideas on how to organize my research for a book project I’m working on. For the time being, I’ve decided to use ugly old Excel. It works, I’ve already got it, and if I find something better, I will almost certainly be able to import my Excel database into it.

It’s a shame that Apple let HyperCard die, because, with the right export capabilities, it would be ideal. I did discover that its commercial successor, SuperCard, is still with us — but it doesn’t strike me that it could possibly be worth $180.

I also took a test drive of FileMaker’s newish personal database program, Bento, and was underwhelmed. It didn’t seem to me that it provided much more than an attractive front end for an Excel database. Worse, unlike Excel, Bento doesn’t seem to support hyperlinks to my documents.

A few people suggested that I use FileMaker itself. I may — it’s freely available to faculty members, and I assume I could learn a few low-end skills fairly quickly. So if my Excel data get to be too cumbersome to work with, that would seem to be a reasonable option.