For four years, I was the Management Information Systems Specialist (a/k/a Database Specialist) for YMCA Child Welfare. I used Microsoft Access, and I grew to love that program's powerful capabilities in terms of queries, reports and other tools which enabled me to manage all kinds of information. But Access databases required a certain amount of setup and planning. One couldn't just start entering information and expect to be able to easily organize and find what you wanted later on.
Tornado Notes (long since defunct) was a free form database program introduced in the 90's. It was later updated and given a new name, Info Select. That program is still being sold today, by a company known as MicroLogic.
Another free form database program which has been around for a very long time is known as AskSam.
Where these programs excel is in enabling one to manage information contained in word processed documents, text files, HTML web pages, PDF files and many other types of files. I don't think that such programs will ever replace traditional relational databases such as Access, but I personally would want to have both types of programs on my own computer, since I'm a bit of an "information junkie". (I also store tons of information on 3x5-inch index cards I carry just about everywhere. I guess some folks would say that was anachronistic, but paper still has its place. For one thing, battery power isn't an issue when one's primary method of recording information is not electronic!)