The challenge of keeping multiple address books in sync

If you have a contact list in your email system and another in your mobile phone, you’ll be aware ¬†of the desirability of keeping both lists in synch. However, if you also have an address book with some additional non-standard fields on your PC, the problem is even greater. Ideally it would be best to have just one address book – but mail and phone systems aren’t generally set up to do that, let alone being capable of including non-standard fields. So, the challenge is how to keep all the information you need in sync across these multiple systems with the least effort and keeping errors to a minimum.

My particular circumstances are that I have an email account with BT Yahoo, an iPhone, and a PC-based address book in a Filemaker database. The iPhone seems able to draw contact details from BT Yahoo, but BT Yahoo doesn’t seem to be able to do the reverse. Neither Yahoo nor the iPhone allow non-standard fields to be created so I can’t just ditch the Filemaker database.

I’m thinking of exploring a number of avenues. One is the use of the export and import facilities across all three systems. Another is the possibility that there may be an official standard for contact list fields and integration facilities. And another is the use of macros in Filemaker to try and automate the synching process. If you’ve got any experience or ideas on the subject please reply to this post or drop me an email.

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