Looking for tools to help me get out of the endless reading trap
April 25, 2007 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some good research/study/outlining software that assists your writing? Either freeware or paid. Basically I mean software that alows you to collate ideas and notes as you read, as well as lets you do outlining - all this in preparation for writing a report or paper or essay.

I find it really hard to write coherently for long periods of time but I love to research and learn and I just don't know when to stop reading. It always feels like there is more to learn. If I could find something that allows me to build an essay incrementally as I read, that would be ideal. If you have any other tips for improving your motivation to write, feel free to add them.
posted by vizsla to Education (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Windows? OSX?

For OSX, Scrivener is great.
posted by provolot at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2007

Seconding Scrivener, quite powerful and elegant freeware.
posted by Scram at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2007

I've wanted to try Tinderbox myself; perhaps worth a look?

NB: "Tinderbox is built for Mac OS X (and Tinderbox for Windows is coming soon)."
posted by kmennie at 6:44 PM on April 25, 2007

Response by poster: Seeing as quite a few people are interested in this, I will mention that I have recently tried ndxcards which looks kind of interesting too.
posted by vizsla at 8:11 PM on April 25, 2007

scrivener ain't freeware. it's $35 after 30 days.
posted by spitbull at 8:18 PM on April 25, 2007

Are you reading online or print? Have a play with Google Scrapbook.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:30 PM on April 25, 2007

Best answer: -For a visual outline: Freemind
-For a more conventional, but still useful, outline: Microsoft Word's "outline" view (note: this is not the same as Microsoft's typical bulleted outlines; it's a completely different feature, accessible in the "View" menu. It gives you nice collapsible and expandable outlines)
-For research on the web; useful for saving web pages, annotating them, and categorizing them: Scrapbook
posted by lunchbox at 11:07 PM on April 25, 2007

a simple program windows is keynote

For writing I block out ideas ideas/ themes/ or paragraphs, and use hte hierarchy to fill in, or copy down quotes i'm gonna use...
posted by stratastar at 8:05 AM on April 26, 2007

Check out vimoutliner. Not the friendliest of software (based on VI) but very powerful and customizable. One of the biggest pluses is that it uses flat text files so you can use it anywhere.
posted by aeighty at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2007

On Windows I like OneNote - very handy, fluid and can handle web pages as well as outlined notes.

Disclaimer - I work for Microsoft (but not in Sales, Marketing or Development), so yes I may be biased - but OneNote is truly one of the best tools I've used in years.
posted by jkaczor at 9:11 AM on April 26, 2007

I use google notebook so I don't have to worry about syncing between work and home.
posted by ThePants at 12:15 PM on April 26, 2007

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