What is the best hardware/software system for keeping track of a) hundreds of academic papers in PDF form and b) my handwritten notes on these hundreds of papers? Bonus if the answer integrates with some sort of citation management software.
I am in a PhD program that requires me to read and take notes on a large number of papers. I can see myself in four years time simply drowning in printouts. My problem is somewhat similar to this previous question
I don't like reading while sitting in front of my computer (typing hurts and easy internet access kills my productivity), so I tend to print out PDFs and take notes all over them while reading in cafes, libraries, on planes, etc. (Zotero's note system, for instance, isn't great for me because I don't like reading in my browser and typing notes). An ideal system would allow to me read much as I do, but make my notes--and interesting quotes and passages from what I'm reading--searchable for when I'm writing papers, studying for orals, etc.
The problem at that moment is that I end up with all these papers and notes that aren't easy to archive and can't be searched. I fear I don't have the discipline to properly archive all my actual paper notes, and hope that there's a technological fix out there for me.
I'd like advice on whether my best option is
a) a Tablet PC (with what software?)--one potential problem with this would be bulk and the distracting internet access.
b) an eBook reader that supports annotation (the upcoming IREX one?) with some sort of arching software to upload to.
c) One of those smart pens
that records what you write (Previously
). If these really work and can be integrated with good archiving/searching software I can see this being helpful for interviews and class notes, too.
d) Scanning notes taken on paper into my computer and archiving them from there. Something that sounds onerous and that I probably wouldn't actually do.
e) some brilliant technological solution that hasn't occurred to me.
f) knuckling down and getting a disciplined paper archiving system.
Could these options--a) in particular--be combined with Atlas TI? I love that QDA programs let me jump to specific tagged passages--and apparently the latest version has good support for PDFs. Or will OneNote--or some Mac program I haven't heard of--do this kind of thing better?
I have fairly atrocious handwriting, so OCR doesn't seem to work that well (in Evernote, for instance). I was impressed by Vista's handwriting support the one time I tried it, however--and I gather it learns from its mistakes.
I've heard Apple has a similar option, and would be willing to switch to using Macs if their handwriting recognition or the various note-taking programs I've heard about (Devonthink, Scrivener, Papers, others?) can be combined with some sort of note-capturing system.
I also take notes in lots of books. Any good ideas for capturing these notes that might fit with one of the above options?