Google has released an update to NotebookLM that allows one to provide specific sources to Google’s Gemini LLM, store the results from questions about those sources, and write and store your own notes. I first learned about NotebookLM from Steven Johnson who advised Google in its development of this product. Johnson is the author of several books such as “How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World” and has used DEVONThink for is research and writing. Johnson describes NotebookLM as the type of tool he would find useful in his research and writing, suggesting that NotebookLM is intended to fill scholarly and writing type use cases.

I am following the development of and trying out NotebookLM because the use cases Johnson describes align with my interests. Right now Google is focusing on input of content and there are no formal methods for producing output beyond copy and paste. I assume at some point in time Google will allow creation of documents in Google Docs.

Prior releases of NotebookLM allowed me to upload a small number of PDFs or Google Docs from Google Drive as sources, and the new update allows me to specify web sites. It does not crawl an entire domain, it appears to GET the HTML page for the URL you provide. I have found that Dave Winer’s Old School CMS that publishes my Daynotes structures the writing in a way that works well with NotebookLM.

As you can see from my Monthly Index, Old School creates a page for each month of the year for all of the posts published in that month, for example here are all of the blog posts I wrote in February, 2024. To have NotebookLM use my Daynotes as the source for answers all I have to do is provide it the URL for each of the monthly pages. I am surprised that so far I haven’t reached a limit to the number of web site URLs I can provide as sources because there is a limit in how many files (PDFs or Google Docs) one can provide.

I have entered all of the monthly URLs for 2021 through May, 2024 and then asked it to summarize what I wrote about in each year. You can save responses to the notebook, but sources are not included in what is saved, although you can get to them from the chat. When you click a source link from chat a pane opens with the source content that you can highlight and then save verbatim to the notebook or have Gemini summarize the highlighted content and save the summarization to a note.

One can copy and paste the content of a note, and I did that with the 2022 Summary of my daynotes, pasting it in to Drummer. I lightly edited the result in Drummer for formatting. My recommendation to Google would be to create the notes in markdown so that formatting will also carry over.