Factsmith is a 100% free database system for debate research, similar in goals to the popular Evidence Scribe debate research software. Factsmith frees you from formatting and editing so you can spend more time actually researching.
Factsmith is built around a lightweight database structure. Instead of random blobs of text in a Word document, evidence is stored the way you naturally think about it - as individual quotes in a database (brief). This gains a number of useful advantages.
First, sources are stored separately from evidence. If you use the same source for more than one card, you can just select it from the list and use it again. Better yet, if you change a source, it's reflected across all evidence that uses it - you don't have to go through and manually change it every time it appears. The same holds true for authors - even if an author appears in more than one source, one change is enough for them all.
Second, it makes sorting and moving evidence a breeze. You can easily sort and organize your evidence any way you want, without a lot of complicated copying and pasting. Just drag and drop, and you're done.
Factsmith does virtually all the usual tedious formatting tasks for you automatically. Once you've found a killer quote, all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+A, drag-and-drop it into the floating evidence window that appears, whip up a pithy tagline, and you're done. Cutting a quote takes mere seconds - no window-switching, font-fixing, or reorganizing. Factsmith even includes a button to automatically remove those annoying line breaks from PDFs, among other time-saving features.
When you're ready to print, just click a few buttons and it's all automatically exported to a clean, consistent, perfectly-formatting document, ready for the printer. Tables of contents, headers, and more are all done for you - it'll even make sure quotes don't spill over a page, so you don't have to worry about leaving part of a piece of evidence at the table.
Export styles are completely customizable - you can make your brief look pretty much any way you want, or just use one of the prebuilt styles that comes with Factsmith. You can switch from style to style with the click of a button.
Factsmith can synchronize some or all of your briefs to an online archive, allowing you to easily collaborate on research with your friends, partner, or a research ring. Plus, since the file is still stored locally, you have access to all your evidence even when you're offline - a key advantage over purely web-based systems that put you at the mercy of a server. Factsmith also maintains a list of briefs modified by others, so you can easily see what you need to print out.
In addition to the basics, Factsmith includes many other research aids that will make your life easier, such as:
In addition to its own format, Factsmith completely supports the cross-software Open Brief (.obf) file format and includes basic support for Evidence Scribe's format. If you need to send a brief to someone who uses Evidence Scribe or Blue Book Report, all you have to do is save it to the right format.