A tablet… didn’t Moses have two of those?
So out are the piles of highlighted notes, and in is a tablet. But a tablet is merely a glorified expensive paperweight without software to make it usable, and in my field probably the most important piece of software is a good document reader. Personally I use GoodReader, although I am certain that there are many other great document readers out there, but my main criteria are as follows:
1. Reads documents < duh
2. Annotates and marks up documents
3. Can extract annotations and highlights from documents
4. Easily synchronisable with a cloud storage medium
Now the cloud storage topic is one which will be addressed in another post, but all of the rest are quite essential. In my general use GoodReader commonly looks like this:
Several documents open, on various different topics, and all with various highlights and annotations which I have made. GoodReader allows me to do all of this, and ticks off the multitasking/distractable aspect from the list of ways that I work in. The part which makes it extremely valuable to me is the ability for it to extract the highlighted portions, along with my annotations, and email it to me as a separate document. Note taking made easy. Which brings me to my next item.
How in heck do you collate and organise all the various studies, along with the rapidly ballooning requirements of studying another humanities degree? (I vaguely did Engineering/IT as well) Originally I started doing this method using Endnote7, and then it has slowly evolved via various versions of Endnote (that I must admit I constantly whinged about) and now that I have started on Theology I jumped at the opportunity to transfer it over into Zotero as I had heard many great things about it, and importantly the fact that it is free to boot.
What are these tools you say? Well at the most basic level they are merely reference citation managers, but if they are used correctly they can be so much more than that. Infact, the way I use Zotero these days is more akin to a repository of knowledge on the topics I am studying.
But rather than providing a comparison of the tools, its probably better to describe how I use them, and let users decide which one suits their needs. Besides, I stuck around with Endnote9 while everyone else upgraded to X, so im a bit out of date.