There is so much information, simple bookmarks just don’t work, how can you keep your research notes organised? How can you properly cite your references and build-up the evidence base needed to better understand the subject of your interest? Data data everywhere, what are we going to do with it all…
In our IT toolkit for Historians series we try to offer-up some alternative online approaches to dealing with the complex data we are all researching and collating in snippets and in depth.
Here you can see a couple of contrasting approaches with videos that demonstrate the capabilities, take a look they will help you see the art of the possible. You can then choose and select a tool that is best for your purposes.
Examples here include:
- Evernotes easy and intuitive, very flexible
- Zotero more of a student and scholars tool, ideal if you really want to build the knowledge base and document your evidential proof and arguments for your history project
Zotero Adding Items Video Demo:
This is a sophisticated and capable tool that is free to use. It has lots of online help and we are wading through it’s vast capabilities. A detail report will follow but see what you think from the video, it will give you the concept.
Evernote Google Chrome Browser Extension Video Demo:
This extends ease of use making saving and clipping notes seamless easy and intuitive, great and then you can tag and classify for the relevant notebooks and synchronise with your other devices. It really is easy to use. YOU JUST NEED GOOGLE CHROME FOR YOUR BROWSER!
Evernote for Mobile, Android Ipad or Iphone versions as well as Windows and Mac (Safari) are available this video gives you a demo from the android performance
Way Forward with Toolkit for History Projects and more
These tools are supposed to make it simpler and we are all different in the way we work, what we want to do and what suits our working style but remember just because a tool is simple to use, it doesn’t mean it is not a great solution. So if you want to index notes and get started use something simple and free like Evernotes. If you want something with a little more rigour then consider Zotero.
Tools across the web have not always integrated very well between vendors In the current phase of development there are some good signs that as with databases and social networking it is becoming all about sharing. ‘No man an island…’ what is the point in history if we don’t share communicate and create a dialogue and healthy debate? Well the good news is it is beginning to happen.
Gradually tools are being seen as components, the software concentrates on being really good at a specific task and then we can switch on and integrate with other great tools. Cloud Computing from Google and Apple and all the others will help with this as it is becoming easier and lower cost to achieve across the net great levels of integration sharing and synchronisation.
If you have children or students in your family, you can also use some of the tools to give them a glimpse of the art of the possible. Anyone in a learning or research role should be harnessing these tools to help them learn and start developing their curation skill, so we can all skill-up and cope with the danger of data overload…and actually achieve something useful with all that information.
Sadly even at university level the take-up of what should be core tools and skills is lagging behind. Make sure you and your family get to share and use the best tools available. As long as you have a net connection many of these tools are free, as volumes of your data grow some require low subscriptions to cover costs of managing the vast server resources but they are very reasonable, so try the free ones and see how quickly you get hooked!