Tools for managing contacts and connections?

Posted by Gordon Douglas, community karma 549

The further I get in my dissertation fielwork, the more I promote my work or see it published or presented, and the more conferences, projects, or exhibitions I take part in,  the more I find that my social and professional contacts are not only ballooning out of simple control but are also overlapping and interconnecting in fascinating ways. I like this sort of connection-making, and it is increasingly important as I approach the job market (both academic and non-). But it has recently begun to feel as though I could benefit from some method beyond just searching my email accounts, fieldwork contacts, and stacks of business cards every time some connection like this comes to mind

I'm curious what tools others out there use to manage such connections?

An online search turned up this article, which suggests perhaps the easiest would be just giving gmail's contact manager more of a chance (since at least I'd start with a fair amount of stuff already in there), but I don't think this is quite as dynamic as I have in mind. I want something more than a digital Rolodex, with a smooth interface for managing and variously searching, visualizing, interconnecting, etc. these sorts of contacts from a number of different but overlapping worlds (in my case, academia, journalism, urban activism, professional architecture and design, etc). 

Anybody have any tips, suggestions, or other thoughts about all this? Thanks!


Brian Cody, community karma 166052

I've used Highrise (, which allows for easy tagging, grouping people by company, etc. The down side is that it's a completely independent database that requires you to upkeep it constantly.

One thought is to jury rig an existing database, such as LinkedIn or your address book. I jumped on LinkedIn just now and saw you can add tags to people and you can export your connections as a .csv file, so that might be a helpful starting point.

You could also check out Neiio Contacts (, which I read about on lifehacker ( Not much info on the site itself, but might be what you want: bring in all your contacts and then tag them in various ways (geographically, interests, events, etc.). An app like Neiio Contacts would also make it easier to keep your system updated as you use each source app (Gmail, Facebook, etc.).

over 12 years ago
I second the use of Highrise.
Rob Walsh – over 12 years ago
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Brandon Smith, community karma 37

I have faced this challenge myself. I use the gmail contact manager to manage all of my email addresses, and it works rather well if all you need to store is basic information, and its easier to contact people cause you can call and email people straight from your contact list on gmail. Of course, when armageddon hits and the internet is destroyed along with all computers, my analog rolodexi (i have three of them) and I will reign supreme. The next step that some folks I know use is and related sites, but you have to pay a monthly fee to retain your contacts there (although mass messaging is a lot easier).  Never heard of Highrise, Neiio, or lifehacker but maybe I will look into them . . .

over 12 years ago
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