Posted by: Ian Briggs on 9th April 2013 at 7:15 pm
Those who read the stuff I write will know how much of a fan I am of Evernote.
Recently I have tried to go as paperless as possible. I don't think it will ever be possible to go completely paperless as there will always be documents we need to keep…drivers licence, birth certificate etc…but electricity and phone bills and receipts? No way. In addition to putting most of my home office paperwork into Evernote, I have been trying to get my real office paperless too!
Most of my work involves running computer models and writing down endless pages of results. However, when it came to writing papers, I have found it incredibly difficult to find the particular note I wanted to reference in my log book. So now every result or plot I get from my models goes straight into an Evernote note which is titled with something obvious and relevant to the contents. I don't bother putting a date into the title any more as I have learnt how to make use of Evernote's saved searches, as well as other organisational tips thanks largely to Jamie Todd Rubin's excellent Evernote blog, of which I am a big fan.
I have a notebook in Evernote for every aspect of my PhD project I am working on. This keeps all the work I do in separate areas and consequently, it makes it very easy to find when I need to – writing my current paper has been much easier thanks to having results and plots at hand. Having a timeline of work and results has also highlighted the areas I need to work on, so it is really helping to shape and organise my research. If I do write something in my paper logbook, I can take a photo of it with Evernote's page camera which does a reasonable job of scanning the page.
As part of the PhD, there is also a lot of reading to be done. When I started, nearly three years ago, I would print every paper I found online and put it in a box folder on my desk to be read. When I read it, I would write a short view and print this and file it in another folder!! When it came to writing up this research, I had no idea which review belonged to which paper, or what some papers contained at all.
Now, I have all my papers scanned into PDF format in a research notebook in Evernote and at the top of each note, as I read them, I write a few bullet points on each paper. I also write in the reference for each one so when I come to write about the research, I can just open each paper in Evernote and immediately have a few points showing the highlights of the paper, and copy and paste the reference into my bibliography. I have also tagged each paper so I can see related ones together.
I find my use of Evernote has really developed, even over the last few months, and has made writing much more structured, efficient and enjoyable. Using it on the iPad is also incredibly easy. Recently, I have been using it for everything…my film database, blogging ideas, foursquare checkins (which automatically get put into Evernote thanks to IFTTT), and the list goes on.
Today's conference highlighted how much my use of the iPad and Evernote has come on…no more pen and paper to take rushed notes that I can't read after the day's over, but instead, one note with the name of each presenter and a few bullet points about things that are mentioned, and I can take photos of peope's business cards instead of losing them I my bag or desk when I get back to the office! What's better is that Evernote can search the images for text (I've no idea how), so I can find people's contact details very quickly.
Well that's enough evangelical praise…are you using it yet?
Posted by: Ian Briggs on 12th June 2010 at 9:03 pm
Felt it was time to update my blog again and as I write this I am sitting in my tenth floor hotel room in Glasgow looking out over the city, trying to avoid the World Cup.
Edinburgh has the romantic, artistic qualities with an abundance of attractions and fascinating things to see, that have been written about by many, but Glasgow seemed curiously empty. Amongst the prevalence of high rise buildings there are a few gems though – the classical architecture of the many banks and townhouses, and the independent film theatre located in the listed art deco building is a favourite. Disappointingly, another former cinema from the same era is now a Tesco Express.
We spent a weekend here in May and felt we didn’t see that much, but having spent a further couple of days here I have begun to find a bit more interest in Glasgow. I met up with a friend of mine who went to university here and needless to say he knew a few more points of interest than I did. Some great bars and some lovely parts of the town up by the university and some quieter bits of the city centre really had lots of great atmosphere.
I am here for a turbomachinery conference to be held here next week for which I, and a few PhD students from Queen’s Uni are session assistants.
We have to shepherd the delegates around and help with any technical issues. Dull stuff, but we get to hear some interesting technical papers and presentations, as well as talk to some companies related to what I am doing.
It’s a shame the day starts at 6am though – I’ll be glad to get home for a sleep! I had better take advantage of a free day tomorrow – there’s a grand prix on, oh and there is that cinema I was talking about!
Until next time…
IB — Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone