Evernote is hands down my favorite tool to use for grad student work. It’s a crazy awesome digital notebook that I can access online, on my computer, on my iPad and on my iPod.
From the Evernote website:
Evernote makes it easy to remember things big and small from your everyday life using your computer, phone, tablet and the web.
You can write notes, save webpages, attach photos and pdfs, collaborate with others, and sync to mobile devices. Evernote even provides a Web Clipper to save anything you see online. Scroll down for a cool video on what Evernote can do.
Well that’s great, you say, but what about me? I’m not a doctor or a magazine writer or anything like that. I’m a grad student. What can I use Evernote for?
I am so glad you asked.
Introducing the Super Amazing and Convenient Thing I do with Evernote
Ok, I read a lot of scientific articles. I even take notes on them…sometimes. When I first started grad school, I printed out all of the pdfs and diligently highlighted and scratched notes directly on the text. You know, just like high school taught me. Then I would file them in a file cabinet by author’s last name.
That system lasted about two weeks. It was tedious to print and alphabetize and store all of that paper. I felt a twinge of guilt every time I had to print out a 50-page book chapter.
But my biggest problem was that there is no searchbox for printed text. Every time I needed to reference hepcidin levels in children (for example), I had to physically sift through all of my papers. Ugh.
No one has time for that.
Evernote lets you create notes (text) with titles and attachments much like an email. These notes can be organized into notebooks and stacks and given tags. Every bit of text is searchable.
Let me say that again. Every piece of text whether it is a Word document or a decades old scan of a forsaken book chapter is searchable.
I took all of my pdfs and dumped them into Evernote. Then I organized them so that each note included the title of the article, the citation, the abstract, and whatever notes I had taken. Now I reference Evernote every time I sit down to write. When I forget where a certain concept was discussed, I just conduct an Evernote search and up pops the paper!
If this sounds like a fabulous resource to you (and it should), I’ll be walking through my exact method in upcoming posts. Here’s what you can do to prepare:
Action steps for Evernote
- Sign up for a free account at Evernote.com
- Install the Evernote Desktop Client
- Start brainstorming about what scientific articles you want to include. If you already have PDFs saved, you’re in great shape. If not, that’s ok, I’ll walk you through it in the next few posts.
If you like what you see here, subscribe to the email list!