“If I create a customized text field using a drop-down (or look-up table), how can I get that information to travel from view to view? If I am in the Gantt view, and I add the field, I would hope that when I go to the resource view, I should be able to add that same text field (with the same data in it).”
When you create a custom field (Tools->Customize->Fields) in a task-based view, such as the Gantt Chart view, it will be available (Insert->Column) in other task-based views (and easier it find if you rename the field while you’re creating it.)
However, it will not be available in resource-based views, such as Resource Usage. That’s because you’re now looking at resource (or assignment) characteristics, not task characteristics. (Task:Text1 is not the same field as Resource:Text1). You could create another similar custom field for resources, or you could take a look at a different view, perhaps Task Usage, which has similar information, but is task-orientated.