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askSam, from askSam Systems, was a "free form" database desktop application[1] that competed with a number of other personal information manager (PIM) applications.

It was noted for organizing disparate information such as email messages, documents, text files, spreadsheets, addresses, web pages into dynamic folders, and allowing these to be easily searched, and the results exported to spreadsheets or as a report.[2]

The last version was askSam 7, released in July 2008.[3]


The Florida company askSam Systems was formed in 1985 and located in Perry, Florida. The earliest versions of askSam were for DOS,[4] but later versions were for Microsoft Windows. As well as the base desktop version, there were Professional versions[1] with a more powerful search,[5] and networked versions. A web-publishing option was also available with "askSam Electronic Publisher".[6]

When 4.0 was released in 2001, so was web publisher package AskSam Web Publisher 4.0, described as "letting you make the database searchable in any browser."[7]

By 2004, the competitive landscape included "names like ADM, ... BrainStorm, Chandler, Enfish, InfoSelect, iRider, Lookout, Onfolio, TheBrain and Zoot.".[8] Asksam was ahead of its time in many ways, and today applications like Roam Research,, Logseq, and Obsidian are beginning to fill the ability Asksam had for hyperlinked rapid note retrieval, though still unmatched for reporting.[9]

In 2014 personal information manager MyInfo added support for importing text-delimited AskSam files.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mark Fritz (June 1998). "AskSam System' askSam 3.0 Professional". eMedia. pp. 76–77.
  2. ^ Pfeifer, Daniel J. (August 1999). "askSam ver 3.0". Journal of the Association for History and Computing. 2. hdl:2027/spo.3310410.0002.215.
  3. ^ "New askSam 7 Now Available". 11 August 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  4. ^ Rose, Daniel. "DOS - askSam 5.0a". Daniel's Legacy Computer Collections. Archived from the original on 27 January 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  5. ^ Watt, Peggy (5 May 2005). "First Look: AskSam 6 Offers Database Flexibility". PC World. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  6. ^ "The Searchers". PC Magazine. 12 Mar 1996. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  7. ^ "AskSam Gets Boost to Web". eWeek. 9 April 2001.
  8. ^ James Fallows (18 April 2004). "Humans vs. Computers, Again. But There's Help for Our Side". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Meet Logseq, an open-source knowledge management system that 'stores data like a brain'". VentureBeat. 2022-05-05. Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  10. ^ "AskSam Alternative for Windows". 2021-10-23. Retrieved 2021-10-23.