After I expressed an interest in Rollabind and Circa notebooks in a recent blog post, the folks at Myndology sent me some sample notebooks; they license
the same a similar “disc binding” technology from Atoma, the Belgian company that I think is the originator of the system. This was the first time I had a good look at the system myself, other than having briefly fondled one of the leather notebooks at the Levenger Store in Boston.
I received two sizes of disc notebooks of various sizes (6.5″ x 8″ and 8.5″ x 11″), some disc-bound 3×5″ index cards, and two interesting bundles of small cards bound with a single ring. Also included were refills for the notebooks and card deck.
The paper is punched in this pattern, and you slip the paper into the rings. You can also remove the paper by gently lifting it out. Reinsertion is possible as well, though I imagine there is practical limit before the paper starts to fray.
One cool thing about the system is that you can add and remove pages pretty easily. You can also put in strips of paper that are at least 1.5″ tall, so two rings can grip them. The Myndology notebooks use rings spaced about 1 inch apart.
Levenger and Rollabind sell punches so you can use your own paper. I didn’t see such a product listed on the Myndology website, though you can buy refills. If you’re thinking you might use the punch from Rollabind, the systems are apparently not compatible with each other. I haven’t verified this for myself, though. It’s too bad, because I would have liked to put my own forms into the notebook system without running the pre-punched stock through my printer and risking paper jams.
It’s all pretty cool, nicely designed and available in bright cheery colors. The front cover is translucent plastic, and is pretty flexible. The rear cover made of the same material. I would have liked a more rigid back cover (a heavy cardstock) so I could use the notebook without a table, but alas, it is not to be. The index card binder, however, is pretty rigid because you’re basically writing on a whole stack of cards. I’m trying to think of something useful to do with them
Another product that I found interesting, but couldn’t think of an immediate use for, was the Japanese-style “one ring binding” system (image above). It’s just neat to have a ring full of cards. Maybe pre-printed flash cards? Tickets? Business cards? They’re just neat. Here’s a closer look and the ring hinge:
I’m not quite sure whether I can use any of these disc-based binding systems for the Emergent Task Planner. I could see it maybe being useful for creating a customized ticket system, but the adding/removing of tickets would wear down the edges of the paper, causing failure or frustration. Also, the paper removal/insertion process is a finicky process, perhaps best used for infrequent updates.
On the plus side, you have a lot more flexibility in designing unusual form factors. I had spent quite a bit of time looking at ring binders, and the three ring format just didn’ do it. I really want a 5 or 7 ring binder, so I can split the pages up into halves and thirds as need be. The disc system is almost as good, though, and if you have a puncher and a ring set to start with, would allow greater flexibility in designing a system. One minor drawback is that turning pages in the ring system feels a little “grabby”; pages tend to stick slightly at the ring, instead of sliding on smooth metal rings. It’s like the difference between one of those GBC bindings versus a nice wire binding.