RE: generic help ;-) Stan Rogers 8.May.14 10:12 AM a Web browser General 6.5Windows 2003
Throwing you into Notes without any orientation was probably not fair. You can probably *use* it, but not use it *effectively* without some sort of training. The Notes Help database (available through the menu or simply by pressing F1) has a lot of well-explained information in it.
Your mail and calendar are in the same database, and in a standard "vanilla" installation, that database will live on the Domino server (where, if things are set up correctly, you will have no access to it as a file). You should be able to create a local replica of your mail database if you want to be able to access your mail offline.
Likewise, any other collaborative applications you will be using will live on the server, though you may, in some cases, be able to create local replicas of the applications to enable working offline.
Your private contacts (and a bunch of other stuff dealing with how you connect to which server(s)) will live in a local database called "names.nsf" in your Notes data directory. For internal purposes, you will primarily be using one of the public directories that lives on the server (or a local directory catalog having a subset of the public Domino directory if you're set up for offline use).
You can also create your own private local databases for note-taking or any of a number of other purposes using one of the standard templates.
The databases themselves are a proprietary document store; they have almost nothing in common with anything else you may have heard the name "database" applied to. (The closest non-Notes database application, at least as far as the document store is concerned, is Apache CouchDB, which was written as a sort of "Domino reboot" by a former developer of Notes. The mechanisms are completely different, but the philosophy is much the same.) You will find nothing interesting or useful in the files unless you access them via the Notes client or the Domino server (which can be done programmatically). Oh, and Notes is "default secure"; you won't have access to anything you shouldn't have access to (unless your admin(s) have opened holes that should have been left closed), and access is controlled by public key infrastructure. (Your ID file contains both your public key and an encrypted version of your private key, among other things. Your password merely allows you to use your private key; it's not actually used to authenticate with anything.)