Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Do I note everything in Evernote?

Evernote ( is a great program that is supposed to save everything in the world to one place and have it at your fingertips. It's the newest piece of software that I've tried, and so far, I'm liking it. I have the app on my phone, and the program on my laptop. I bit the bullet for the premium account, since it allows for more uploads and I haven't yet hit my limit. I find that the most useful thing that I've been able to do so far is to take pictures of documents on my phone and save them directly into the correct "Notebook" on my Evernote account and after I "sync," I then have the photos added to my laptop files in the right client files.

For now, I'm mostly using it as a research log for various client projects. If I'm at a particular repository working on a surname, I'll save images of various documents into a file, and then have that file or "note" put into a notebook. I can then annotate the note with citation information, and highlight significant areas of the document with arrows or notes. The date the note was created is supplied directly to the note so you know when you looked at the materials (hence it's usefulness as a research log).

It's very simple to use, and it helps me stay organized. Probably one of the most useful research log-type features is the ability to create a note directly from a website. You can just make note of part of the site or the whole thing, which makes creating citations a lot easier, since you have the web address as well as the date you accessed it automatically added to the note. It allows me to put all my notes for one research project into one file including web searches, textual notes, and images of documents. You can tag the type of note it is to allow searching when you have bazillions of notes. I've been categorizing things by surname, first name, record type and location so far. I may add tags as I continue such as repository tags (so I know where I was), and I'm always looking for helpful suggestions.

There are a ridiculous number of ways that I've been using it (including for types of cheese I want to try) and I'm sure that I'm not even maximizing its value for a professional researcher. That's why I plan to attend Lisa Louise Cook's Evernote talk at the FGS/RootsTech conference coming up in Salt Lake City in February (

Next time, I'll talk about the latest social media site that I use primarily for my personal life, though am thinking about leveraging for research, Instagram.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I've learned something new. I'm a pathetic blogger. I see so many of my genealogy colleagues with fabulous blog posts coming out daily, and I think..."wow, I love reading their posts!" They're all connected to update with links on their facebook, twitter and linked in accounts and websites. I'm not there yet. I'm not sure that I'll ever be a completely comfortable modern media person. I still write in my journal, by hand.

So as I reflect back to when I started this blog, and what I wanted to learn, I ask whether I've achieved non-luddite status. I realize that I don't want to achieve status in any way. I like not being hip to the latest social media, and not being constantly connected. I'm still just trying to sort through all the ads I get in my email mailbox when I order something online from a new company. (Sometimes, I don't even realize I'm signing up "to receive special offers." Every day, come on... how much did your sales change since yesterday.)

But I have found several new business helps and one fun new app that I use daily. The first one that I've discovered is called Klok ( I was looking for an easy time tracking program that I could use for my client research, so I would be able to track the time spent researching and writing. I could then total the billable hours and enter them into my financial management software. This is easy to use, easy to add projects and turn the timing on and off. I can even change the entries if I find I got distracted and forgot to turn it off when I finished my work. It allows me to see how many billable hours I've gotten in for a week, and on which projects. There's a new mobile app that I may try, especially since I'm often out doing research at a repository, and may forget to turn it on on the laptop. I entered non-billable hour activities as well, and if I used it religiously, I'd see where my time was going, playing Mahjong and reading Facebook (and deleting those emails from my inbox). Still working on the using it religiously part. More soon.

The other one I've been using is Evernote ( I had heard at previous conferences people talking about how Evernote was such a great tool, and learned a bit about it. I had to give up on my previous software, ByGones, since I couldn't find it on my hard drive. Please don't ask about that. Anyway, Evernote is really great and in my next post, I'll tell you why I like it, and what I do with it.

If you check out that, I'll tell you about my fun one!