To be honest, I’m a relatively late-starter in the field of post-graduate academia. My preferred ‘search engine’ still begins with books, my favorite reference app is still index cards and handwriting is still a necessity – at least for the first draft. As a hands-on person, I like to be able to touch the cards and arrange them like a puzzle on the floor in order to see the ‘flow’ of ideas.
There’s also a sense of achievement in seeing the words pouring from the pen onto a previously-white page (please disregard the cat doodles). However, time – and technology – wait for no one, and I must open myself to exploring new, more efficient ways of doing the work.
I do most of my reading on Kindle, making Evernote my favorite referencing app which allows me to import my notes and highlights. The Evernote site and the Kindle Highlights Blog give clear how-to instructions to move the notes and highlights from Kindle to Evernote. A little formatting on Word and, voila, instant index cards, citations and all. Evernote is also very useful in that it’s mostly free and has the capability to sync between devices. It also allows the user to create notebooks and sub-notebooks to organize information.
Thanks to the push from RDP, I started looking around to see what I can do to make life easier (or at least, neater) for research and writing. I discovered that Kindle notes and highlights can be imported to Evernote (referencing tool), then directly to Scrivener (writing tool). Two videos – on Youtube and Vimeo give clear directions on how to export from Evernote to Scrivener. I assume there might be an easier way to import highlights, but for now, I’m happy.
Scrivener, on the other hand, seems to be a great writing tool (I’ll need to do a little more exploring, though). The user has the ability to save different notes as index cards in folders, offers a split screen to both write and search references at the same time, as well as arranging work in different formats: corkboard, outline, full screen, etc… Apparently, Scrivener also helps in creating a copyright page and table of contents – but I haven’t tested that out yet. My favorite item in Scrivener so far is the project tracker. I am the kind of person who needs deadlines to keep on track when working. The project tracker takes your completion date and number words expected in the final draft, then sets a writing schedule to be followed.