A sample information schema or record entry in my hypothetical database would look like this:
Keywords: Antitrust, EMD (Electro-Motive Division, Electro-Motive Company)
Source: "Is EMD a Monopoly?", Trains, June, 1961
Pages: 6, 11
Notes: diesel locomotives, NY grand jury, indictment, repower, re-engine, Sherman Act, freight traffic, 12M tons/$211M waybills/1st 9 mos of 1959, market share, competitors out of business, percentage of diesels sold
I'm tempted to buy a copy of FileMaker Pro, although it's also rather expensive, since I know that one can easily set up fields in it that are string-searchable very easily (I've used it before to manage a database of ~1000 address/contact information labels, back when I was doing targeted e-mails to schools in South Asia).
Is there anything comparable that I can get for significantly less money (like, optimally, none)? If I spend $250-400 of my research budget on software to manage my information, that's less money that I have for source materials.
Please don't suggest Base, which comes with OpenOffice. I've tried using it already, and, unless you can get the Form Designer walking and talking (I can't, and the documentation is beyond bad -- Hey, OO documentation team! Screenshots, maybe? Got a bit of a Comprehensible Only If Known Problem going on, too!!*), the fields aren't as customiseable as I need. What I want is exactly what I've shown above, and I'm not willing to compromise on organization, since I know how I search for things (by important concepts or keywords), and I pretty much guarantee that would get me the results I want, 99.9% of the time.
* One of these days, once I no longer have seventeen other projects on the go, I'm going to sign on to the OO documentation team.