As the month of August is a prime planning time for me--what with it being very quiet around here and school starting just a few weeks from now--I've been making a lot of use of an application called NoteBook, developed by a software company called Circus Ponies (click here to check it our for yourself).
The concept is that you maintain one (or more) virtual "notebooks," which is basically a way collect all sorts of data: text, images, sound recordings, video, electronic documents, URLs for web sites, et al. I have set up a notebook for each of the courses I teach to collect all sorts of materials and notes for my teaching, for example.
What's cool about this format is that it's a very intuitive way to collect "clippings" from all sorts of different sources, and then organize them and store them for easy retrieval later on (with all the advantages of electronic search, including Spotlight on OS X). Given that I am something of a media omnivore (I read two newspapers a day, subscribe to WAY too many magazines, and surf the Net incessantly), having the flexibility to squirrel a chuck of information away for later reference is invaluable to me. It's helpful to be able to maintain different notebooks because there are a range of different roles I have to fill in my work (teach, administrator, coach, housemaster). I have found NoteBook especially useful preparation for my writing projects. I also created a "Travel" notebook where I can collect ideas and contact info for the sabbatical trip looming just over a year away.
The Tiger OS interface makes it easy to "clip" text, images, media files without leaving the application I am working in, even if NoteBook is inactive or not even open! Once the information is deposited in a notebook, it's automatically indexed and can be highlighted, amended, formatted in all sorts of ways.
Enough of my description. If you really want to see how this product works, check out the video demos online here.
There are online support forums there too (this will be of interest to any followers of the David Allen/Getting Things Done cult!)
Finally, you can download the application for a 30-day trial for free and a student or teacher can buy a license for the software for only $30!
This would be an INVALUABLE tool for students to learn to use, in my estimation, so if you are going to school, check it out.