I don't have any real programming ability, I can understand it if I look at it hard enough.. but beyond that I'm toast.
Yeah, that was sort of my point. Unless you are capable of modifying the existing wordpress code to fit your needs better, then it really makes more sense to start from something that already is closer.
Essentially, you're wanting a database (for actual data) with a web interface. The problem is that WordPress is geared towards making blogs and other sorts of things. Yes, it's a database, but the format of the data is different. You've got all these plugins, true, but so do other systems.
Consider a wiki, for example. It's a more freeform way to put textual data on a website. You create pages on the fly, you put in text, you can easily modify them as needed, it keeps history of changes, etc, etc. Organization can be as ad-hoc as you want it to be. A wiki is not as oriented on a date of each post or as any sort of a continuing system like WordPress is. Wiki's are just as advanced in terms of software, and plugins (or something similar) exist for them as well. They would be infinitely more along the lines of what you probably want.
Unless you *are* a programmer, and willing/able to make changes to the actual software, then it makes a bit more sense to pick the right tool for the task instead of simply picking something which, while you already know and use it, may not be as suited for the task itself.