Levenger Circa Notebook -- questions

I'm a paper/notebook lover, i recently heard about Levenger's Circa notebooks, and i'm thinking about using those for my the fall semester at school, (since i have yet to find the perfect notetaking system)

How many pages does do the rings hold? the largest size rings on the website were 1.5? Would the number of pages differ between the paper sold by levengers and regular paper that i could print and punch myself? Would just normal printer paper work? or would i have to use the one that they sell, or a higher qualtity printer paper?

Does anyone else use these products at school?

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Hi, my name is Dan, and I'm a Circa/Rollabind Junky :)

I will try to offer some answers.

How many pages does do the rings hold?

look here

Would the number of pages differ between the paper sold by levengers and regular paper that i could print and punch myself?

The capacity is expressed in both inches of paper thickness and sheets. I suspect the sheet counts are for the heavier paper Circa uses. Simple concept: thicker paper means fewer sheets will fit.

Would just normal printer paper work? or would i have to use the one that they sell, or a higher qualtity printer paper?

I'd say "That depends what you plan to do with it"
For pre-printed stuff, plain old printer paper will do. For printing forms (like Cornell style note sheets) that you plan to write on, I believe many folks here would say that it is worth the cost and effort to use a higher quality paper.

That's a start.

More folks will chime in any second now :)
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Many smaller vs. one huge

Recalling my college days, many moons ago, I would suggest you have separate ring-bound notebooks for each class rather than one huge one for everything.

My experience with disc binding is that is does not "scale up" beyond a given size. Some folks have complained about the Circa XL discs at 1.5 inches.

If I had to keep a huge amount of papers for a single class/subject, I would not use disc binding. I recall an engineering class taught by the Dean of the Engineering department who was in the process of proofing his own text for the course. We got several hundred loose pages of "textbook". I recall investing in a heavy-duty post binder. It was worth it when I saw classmates dropping pages from their ring or comb bound texts.

I would also suggest you budget in a desktop punch if you are going disc-bound. Punching any quantity with the "portable" is a royal pain in the tushie.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Recalling my college days,

Recalling my college days, many moons ago, I would suggest you have separate ring-bound notebooks for each class rather than one huge one for everything.

Maybe it's my lefthandedness, but I _hate_ spiral-bound for note-taking. My system was much simpler. I used manila folders--one for each class. And loose-leaf, 3-holed paper. The top of each page was dated, with the class name. If I finished a lecture in the middle of the page, the next lecture started on the next line, but with the date in the margin, under a dark line, delineating the dates. My notes went into the manilla envelope in reverse order, with the newest on the top, oldest on the bottom. At midterms and finals time, I would wither put them in a binder with those flat things that stick through the holes, and flatten over them (preferred), or in a 3-ring binder (not so hot, IMO). This took the least space in my briefcase (used both softies and hard ones), and the least amount of fuss, IMO.

Now, this cross-scales to Rollabind/Circa quite well, IMO, in that you use the loose pages in class, but can then bind them, either while you go, or during exam time. (Writing on loose paper is so very much better than writing in a book, IMO) In many ways, I wish I had this sort of sytem when I was in school. ;-)

-Jon

Similar

I used a combination of 3-holed loose leafs in duotangs and Canada notebooks by Hilroy. Those are great.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

My Desktop Punch...

My desktop punch (Levenger) can punch 8 sheets of 20lb paper. That's all that will fit into it at once. It will punch 5 sheets of 28lb paper. You can use 20lb paper in a Circa notebook, but I prefer 24lb for general notetaking and 28lb for my planner. For me, it's basically an issue of bleedthrough and the feel of substance of the paper.

I'm also planning to use a Circa notebook when I go back to classes in the fall (I broke my ankle so I've been out of classes for awhile). I usually use one spiral bound notebook for taking notes during the day, marking each page in the upper right with the date and class. Then, at the end of the day, I move the pages to binders by subject. I believe that Circa notebooks will work great for this method. I plan to use a notebook with small circa rings for capture, and larger circa rings for reference/archive. I may carry a second notebook to classes with dividers for each class with current relevant pages. I used to have a Mon/Wed binder and a Tues/Thur binder that served this purpose.

-Karen

Personal Punch capacity

Ygor,
Assuming the usual 20 lb office quality paper would you say the most you could punch at once would be about 5 pages? That's been my experience.

I haven't tried the desktop model yet. How many pages of 20 lb paper would you say you could punch at once with one of those?
~Cath

I'll try when I get home..

for the desktop punch.

For the portable punch, I think the limitation is more about the physical design. I have a Levenger portable and it has a rather thin slot that the paper has to go into. By folding, I got 8 thicknesses into it and it punched without too much force, but I do not believe I could jam much more into the slot.

I like Jon's idea about folders. You would not be required to carry a punch.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

hmmm...

The thing that I found lacking in Circa notebooks is POCKETS! ... I know you can purchase the slash pocket inserts BUT ... as many of you know, I'm cheap!

This might be a cheaper alternative that will allow you to keep your handouts until you return to your desktop punch. DIY Circa/Rolla NB Cover w/ Pockets

my artwork| my blog

School plans

In the past month I've become a Circa junkie, so I'm trying to sort out the right system for summer term. Here's what I've got.

I've ordered a couple of Rollabind binders, which have 1" rings. I also ordered some slash pockets from Rollabind for storing loose pages.

For paper, I like the 5-Star college-ruled notebook paper, which is a bit heavier than standard filler paper. I bought one of the notebooks that has the spiral binding on top with perforations, as the pages don't have three-hole punch holes. That way I can Circa-punch them without having smurfs AND holes.

I punched some pages from the 5-Star notebook and stuck them in a Rollabind notebook. The pages turn great. So I'm quite happy about that.

I haven't decided whether or not to use the binder for notetaking or just for storage. As a lefty, the steno-like style of the 5-Star allows me to write easily. I'll experiment some before the beginning of the term, I think.

Hope this helps.

Smurfs and Holes

Smurfs and holes can co-exist on classic size paper, but not on letter size. THat's 'cause on letter size, there are an odd number of smurfs (11) and that means one has to be centered. On classic size, there are only 8 smurfs and the holes do not interfere.

We now return you to your regular program, already in progress.
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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

A great starting point....

is to get one or two of the Clairefontaine Clairing Notebooks we arranged for at Pendemonium that are now available to order.

Shameless Link

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"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Reporter's Style?

How about making your own "reporter's style" Circa notebook with the disks at the top? You'd need disks and a punch, and you could use one of the many great ideas on this site for making covers. I didn't know about Cornell ruling when I was in school, but I think it's an excellent layout for noting taking. I use Levenger's modified Cornell layout all the time and find it invaluable. You could also print out your own on paper of your choosing.

your own printed paper

Firefox ok, Safari crashes

Just FYI: the Cornell page crashes my Safari (Mac OS X browser) as soon as I click on one of the radio buttons, but it works fine in Firefox.

Firefox ok; Safari ... not ok

When I tried this (two seconds ago) Safari dumped onlhy when I clicked the Submit button. Changing the radio buttons didn't cause a crash. I'm running the latest version of Safari.

Circa @ school

I started using a Circa notebook recently after reading about them on this site. I guess you could say I technically use it at school... I work at a large university and have been using it as my planner. I don't use it for class, as I haven't taken any classes for years. Here's what I've found...

The smallest rings available from Levenger are 1/2". When you buy a plain Circa notebook, you get 60 pages of their 60 pound paper on 1/2" rings. I believe you can add a few more pages, but probably not many before it would start making the pages hard to turn. The next size up is 3/4" rings which seem to be the ideal size for letting you keep lots of pages while still turning smoothly. The biggest I have is 1" Silver rings. The pages just don't seem to turn as nicely on those rings, but I have really yet to figure out if it is because the Silver rings don't seem to have as smooth a finish as the other colors or if the size is really an issue.

Also, thicker paper does seem to do better in a notebook like this than the thin paper. I've tried plain 20 pound printer paper but it just doesn't seem to do well.

My suggestions (depending on budget - I wasn't a college student that long ago)... Get a good Circa or Rollabind notebook with either 1/2" or 3/4" rings and divide it up into one section per class. Keep your current notes (say for an upcoming test) in that and then have some way to store your old notes - either multiple notebooks (one per class) or plain file folders. If you're sure you're going to stick with the system, buy some good quality printer paper and a desktop punch.

You can either buy dividers from Levenger or Rollabind, or for an extreme budget version consider Postit Durable Tabs

-Kenny

Thanks everyone

Thanks to everyone who commented: i probably should have mentioned
- in regards to my "not finding my perfect notetaking system", is simply that i'm never happy in how i organize. I decided to buy a large binder, and keep all of my subjects in there, in case ihad some time between classes to get some work done. 1) it was huge, and heavy. 2)For math i really needed a notebook. 3) I'm left-handed. So binders with huge rings = pain in the but. Not to mention the fact that it took up all the room on the desks at school. Last sememster i decided i would try just using the pronged folders, one for each class, and put filler paper in the prong part to make a notebook. This was a system teachers had us do in middle school. The only part i hated was the fact that the cheap folders wore out ubber quickly. So i bought a bunch of five-star poly pronged folders. I was psyched. Until i realized that they wouldn't lay flat when spread open to pages in the middle.

Not to mention, that for some reason, regular ruled paper, just doesn't work for me. The lines are too wide apart.

For this semester, i decided to print my own paper....cornell style. Cornell was something i stumbled upon the semester before *cornell=love*. Ok, maybe i don't use it entirely correctly. I never end up writing the summary part at the bottom, and the side panel usually end up just holding the important key points i didn't want lost in the shuffle. For this sememster i printed my own paper, using http://www.eleven21.com/notetaker/ -- which i thought was awesome.

That's why when i discovered levenger's circa the other day it was instant *wow*...finally an alternative to the binders i hate -- plus they sell paper in semi-cornell style, no huge block at the bottom which is perfect considering i never used it anyway.

I would probably make a seperate notebook for each class, or group the classes i had on certain days (mon-wed, tue-thur) together.

I guess i just can't get my mind around the whole "disc" thing. I guess i just keep thinking that it won't hold up under the stresses of being pulled in and out of a backpack, not to mention the papers falling out randomly. Or that like binders the discs will be a pain in the but, since i'm left handed. Someone suggested the idea of making the "reporter style notebook" -- i never thought of that. It just might be the solution.

Being me, i'll probably order the circa letter size sample pack, to test out...i have to say, I like the idea of designing my own notebook...*the creative wheels in my head are turning already*

It also sounds like a great idea for planner making, especially since i love all the templates on this site. I "had" a moleskine 18-month planner. Key word --had. I was overjoyed when i learned of it coming out last july. Bought one, only to have the back pocket rip open, and the binding let go...but that's another story.

Re: durability

Hi.

Check out the 'spine' mod that Karen posted here on flickr.

This should satisfy your qualms about durability. Punch you a spine made from a plastic file folder and the only thing that will be exposed in your bag is the cover, basically.

Honestly, though, I haven't had any trouble with the books I take around with me. I don't have a spine, I just have a front and back cover made from plastic. If you overstuff them or use very fragile papers you might have trouble. But if you keep it slightly loose and use 24lb paper (or heavier) you should be just fine.

shris

flickr circa/rollabind group

You should check out the Circa/Rollabind group on Flickr.com and the "New to Circa" thing on Levenger's website to get a better idea of how the discs work. Levenger actually has a video on their site.

The discs and paper are very similar to the way Rolodex works. As far as the durability goes, I have been using a Junior size Circa notebook as my primary planner. I take it to work in my backpack, use it on my desk all day, take it to meetings, and bring it back home in my backpack. Standard Levenger Circa rings and notebook cover. Also, I've not had anything fall out yet. Between pages being punched being in there securely, pages that aren't punch go in the pocket dividers, and then I have the zipper pouch in the back.

As for working with it left-handed - the only suggestion I can think of off the top of my head is taking notes on the back of pages instead of the front. Does that make sense? The reporter style notebook may be the way to go...

-Kenny

lefties

3) I'm left-handed. So binders with huge rings = pain in the but.

Being left-handed myself, I can certainly relate. That was why I ended up using loose-leaf paper for taking notes in class. This is the beauty of Circa/rollabind, too. The fact that you can pull out pages to write, and then put them back when done. Actually, I would only put pages into my notebook after they were written in, if it were me. I would keep a folder of loose pages on hand. As I needed them, I would pull them out, and write on them. When I was studying, I quickly learned how many average pages I would use per lecture per day, and would set them on the desk in a pile. I would write on the top sheet, moving it to the bottom as I filled pages.

At the end of the lecture, you have your notes all there and still in order. At that point, you can put them into your Circa/Rollabind binder, and they are ready for cramming. ;-) Do this a few years, and you may never go back to writing in bound notebooks again.

Oh, one more advantage of having only a few sheets on the desk is that you have a solid writing surface, but soft enough for the pen to get a 'bite" without feeling "mushy."

-Jon