Thursday, January 10, 2008

Improving Web Research

This isn't my usual level of geeky tips, but something that comes up a lot for anyone who has to learn on the Web all the time. "Back in the day" when I was in college, I read books and highlighted them as I went, or else I'd take copious notes on 3x5 cards. Then, when it was time to review or to gather the information to put into a report, I'd have easy access to everything. On the Web it's a bit different. I can read stuff, but until now, it's been a bit more difficult to gather the details I need from a specific page along with notes and references I would have written in margins or on cards. Bookmarks alone just don't cut it.

There are a few tools out there now that are aiming to fix this problem, though. I use Google Notebook right now as my main computer-based note taking tool, but I'm looking around to see if there is anything better.

Google's Notebook tool is actually rather nice. It works with a browser plug-in that sits in the right-hand corner of my browser status bar. I can click it, and the notebook opens up. I can have several "notebooks" that each hold different sorts of information. I can type notes myself, or I can highlight something in my browser and then drag it to an open notebook, or press "clip" in the notebook plug-in, and I get a little note with the text or images I've highlighted plus a link back to that page. In the Web page for the notebook (though not in the little plug-in version) I can see the date that the note was taken, which is important for citations and the like. I like it, I'm just wondering what else is out there before I get so much data into this notebook system that migration would simply be a major pain.

There is a tool called i-lighter that looks very interesting. It allows you to use your mouse like a highlighter on the screen, and then it saves your highlighted text, along with any other notes that you want to write. Problem? It's a Windows application. Sure, I could use it with Wine, but unless it completely rocks the universe, I don't see a reason to do that.

I have heard about other pieces of software in this category that are under development, but I have yet to experiment with any of them. If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear about them!


P90X Reviews said...

+1 on Google's Notebook Tool Lisha, love it!

how to get rid of eczema said...

I prefer Google's notebook tool over other similar ones just because it integrates so easily into your toolbar - so it's always there, and very intuitive.