Ulysses III has recently had an important update. It now assigns and reads OS X tags. This brings the Ulysses’ value for academics to an entire new level. Ulysses III has already been great for taking project notes (e.g. on teaching or publications) because it can organize its sheets by hierarchical folders corresponding to work areas and projects. However, Ulysses lacked good capacity to effectively manage reference notes, which may be used for several projects including those that don’t yet exist and are more logically organized by tags or keywords.
Before the latest update, Ulysses’ native keywords could only be assigned to its own internal notes and used only from within the application. However, academics often need system-wide tags working accross multiple file types: pdf-documents, plain text notes, presentations, emails, etc. That’s why there is a premium on system-wide tagging systems such as OpenMeta which is now merged into OSX Mavericks tags. That’s why I was so disappointed with Papers3 which complicated assigning system-wide tags to scienfitic articles.
The latest version of Ulysses allows assigning tags to notes that are stored outside of its library. For example, all my NValt notes are stored as plain text files in a folder called “Notes”. Ulysses reads from this folder as an ‘external source’ so I can also see all my NValt notes in Ulysses (in addition to Ulysses own notes). Now Ulysses allows to assign OS X tags to such notes so that I can find them from outside the application (e.g. through Spotlight).
A couple of improvements can still be made. Most notably, the tags assigned in NValt appear in Ulysses with considerable delay. Moreover, it has not been clear to me how to easily search for a tag or a keyword in Ulysses (except by creating a smart folder).