eReading + eResearch refresher
April 24, 2016 4:10 AM   Subscribe

I have been doing most of my research digitally for a number of years, with varying degrees of success. As I finish up my phd (!) I want to refresh my research habits and streamline for efficiency. For pdfs, epubs, and online articles I currently use several services and software platforms, only some of which are compatible. Help me best this

My habits are below. I graded the success of each from 1-5, problems underneath:

Note taking: Evernote (iPad + PC) / 4
- - Evernote is generally great, but would love some more mindmappy/hyperlinky type features

Saving articles for highlighting/annotating: Evernote (iPad + PC) / 3
- - Evernote does an ok job of this, but reading and highlighting on iPad is very clunky

PDF reading/annotating:
PDF expert (iPad) + Zotero (PC) + Adobe (PC) / 5
- - Generally perfect. Dropbox sync helps a lot. Wish Zotero notes feature was better

eBook reading/annotating:
Marvin (iPad) / 3 + Kindle (multiple) / 2
- - This is always frustrating. Proprietary nonsense and out of date sync methods make me hate ebooks with a passion

Zotero (PC) / 4.5
- - Works great for this. Feels slightly out of date though. If it had a good iPad app then could possibly replace all other services

Writing: Microsoft Word (PC) / 5
- - Not much to say. Google docs is a great alternative, though Zotero integration not as good

What are your habits and how do you put up with so many overlapping platforms and methods?
posted by 0bvious to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of tools you might consider:

Instapaper allows you to save articles and read them offline (much like Send to Kindle) and with a paid account you can make notes and highlight passages. I like to read and make notes on the Kindle but I find the send-to-kindle tool for online articles and PDFs to be too clunky for note-taking. Instapaper might be a better alternative for you than Evernote and Zotero.

I really love Workflowy for making notes and to-dos. It's an infinitely-expandable list-making tool, which means you can break down ideas into smaller parts and either view the idea as a whole or drill down into each individual part. Allows for hyperlinks, tagging and drag and drop so it's really easy to brain dump there and then organize later. It's kind of hard to explain how it works but the video on their homepage gives a good overview. I LOVE Workflowy, and my entire life is in there (from shopping lists to work projects to vacation planning). I highly recommend it for mind-mapping because it is so minimalistic and flexible. It also syncs/backups to Dropbox, and has mobile apps.
posted by Brittanie at 4:34 AM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just popping in to recommend Papership for Zotero, if you haven't tried it.
posted by unknowncommand at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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