How Evernote Can Revolutionize the Way You Manage Research 41


IF YOU’VE BEEN A READER of mine for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of Evernote. I use Evernote for journaling (it has replaced all other journaling apps), storing files and correspondence, recipes, travel, blog posts, articles I want to read, and much, much more. In fact, I am writing this article on Evernote as I wait to board a flight to Phoenix. And, as this title indicates, Evernote also does a great job of capturing and organizing research.

At its essence, Evernote is a cross-platform, cloud-based note-taking application. Notes can include text, voice recordings, images, and all types of file attachments. You can organize your notes in notebooks or by “tags,” otherwise known as keywords. I use a combination of the two.

[Tweet “Evernote makes capturing pictures, audio, ideas, and web pages in one place a snap.”]

I thought about creating a video about Evernote but, instead, used Evernote to capture research for this article. (I mean, why recreate the wheel — right?) Here is a short YouTube video that pretty well sums up what Evernote is and what it can do:

One of the things I love most about Evernote is that it is truly cross platform, operating nearly identically on my computer, tablet, phone, and web browser applications. I can access it anywhere and any-when I want, providing I have access to the Internet. And if I don’t have access? No problem. I can always take a folder offline.

Today, I’d like to share how Evernote can be used to capture, organize, and store research.

My primary Evernote research gathering tool is the Evernote Web Clipper. An extension, it embeds itself into my web browser and allows me, at the click of a button, to save an entire web page, article, a simplified version of the article (no images or links), or a screen capture. These are stored in any research folder, along with any keywords, I designate. I clip web articles and pages, note ideas, and keep track of books and other research sources and store them all in in Evernote.

This one-minute promo video demonstrates the basics of how the Evernote Web Clipper works:

And finally, as a brief example of Evernote’s capabilities and for your entertainment, is a YouTube video about how to use Evernote to capture research. It’s humorous — and created back in 2011 — but the concepts outlined here still apply:

As you can see, capturing pictures, audio notes, general information, and web pages and keeping them together in one place is a snap. In addition to capturing research materials and ideas, you can easily create a table of contents with hyperlinks to all of the notes included in a particular notebook (or tagged for particular research), as well as create hyperlinks within one note that link to other notes.

Perhaps best of all, the basic subscription level is completely free. I have upgraded to the premium level because I like some of the perks, but the basic level provides enough features for most writers I know.

What do you think?

Do you use Evernote? If so, I’d love to hear how you use it to enhance your writing and journaling. If you don’t use Evernote, how do you currently organize your research?


 


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41 thoughts on “How Evernote Can Revolutionize the Way You Manage Research

  • Roland Clarke

    I’ve been using Evernote for a couple of months – primarily the Web Clipper – and I find it great. I am definitely going to continue exploring its other uses – as suggested in this article I clipped. Many thanks.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Hi Roland and thanks for joining the conversation. I make extensive use of tags (keywords) as well as using the different notebooks. That makes it easy to find and group information by topic, no matter what notebooks it’s contained in.

  • Roland Clarke

    I’ve been using Evernote for a couple of months – primarily the Web Clipper – and I find it great. I am definitely going to continue exploring its other uses – as suggested in this article I clipped. Many thanks.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Hi Roland and thanks for joining the conversation. I make extensive use of tags (keywords) as well as using the different notebooks. That makes it easy to find and group information by topic, no matter what notebooks it’s contained in.

  • Sharon Lippincott

    Thanks for using those videos Amber. Like you, I’ve been using Evernote for years, together with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud for meatier documents. I refer to Evernote as my Digital Brain Annex and use it to remind me what’s on OneDrive.

    Most recently I’ve been using Evernote to manage our move from Pittsburgh to Austin. I consolidate images I clip from the web for decorating ideas. I’ve snipped rug images and fabric swatches from half a dozen websites each, along with links for ordering whichever one I select. I have a list of fun things to do in Austin and hiking trails. I have a notebook within the Austin notebook with floor plans and thoughts on houses we looked at before we bought. I could delete that one, but hey — this is my brain. These are MEMORIES!

    I’m embarking on a search for the story about one of my g’grandmothers whose first father-in-law was a Texas governor. How her life changed when his son died, leaving her a widow with seven children at the tender age of 26. Document links, thought-scraps, you name it — it’s in my Evernote app, on my phone, tablet and computers.

    Now I see from these videos that I’m barely scratching the surface of what I can do, so thank you for raising the blinds. In fact, I’ll make a note of that!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Sharon, those are great examples of the many different ways Evernote comes in handy. Like you, I rarely trash older notes … you never know when you might need one! My three power apps for writing are Evernote, Scrivener, and Dropbox (like OneDrive, it stores documents in the cloud).

      What a fascinating story you’ve started researching. I look forward to reading about your great grandmother’s life.

  • Sharon Lippincott

    Thanks for using those videos Amber. Like you, I’ve been using Evernote for years, together with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud for meatier documents. I refer to Evernote as my Digital Brain Annex and use it to remind me what’s on OneDrive.

    Most recently I’ve been using Evernote to manage our move from Pittsburgh to Austin. I consolidate images I clip from the web for decorating ideas. I’ve snipped rug images and fabric swatches from half a dozen websites each, along with links for ordering whichever one I select. I have a list of fun things to do in Austin and hiking trails. I have a notebook within the Austin notebook with floor plans and thoughts on houses we looked at before we bought. I could delete that one, but hey — this is my brain. These are MEMORIES!

    I’m embarking on a search for the story about one of my g’grandmothers whose first father-in-law was a Texas governor. How her life changed when his son died, leaving her a widow with seven children at the tender age of 26. Document links, thought-scraps, you name it — it’s in my Evernote app, on my phone, tablet and computers.

    Now I see from these videos that I’m barely scratching the surface of what I can do, so thank you for raising the blinds. In fact, I’ll make a note of that!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Sharon, those are great examples of the many different ways Evernote comes in handy. Like you, I rarely trash older notes … you never know when you might need one! My three power apps for writing are Evernote, Scrivener, and Dropbox (like OneDrive, it stores documents in the cloud).

      What a fascinating story you’ve started researching. I look forward to reading about your great grandmother’s life.

  • Howard Veit

    Amber, you have prompted me to reconsider switching to Evernote for my daily journaling. I have been using Day One, but Evernote is so much easier to pull material into with the web clipper, etc. Also I can attach .PDFs to notes in Evernote and I cannot do that in Day One. I am a heavy user of PDFs. I have been reluctant to mix my personal journal in with all my other notes in Evernote, but I am going to give Evernote a try for a month and see how it goes. There is an advantage to keeping my journal with my other note taking. I have just one place to search for things (the Evernote search function is good), and I can copy notes to/from other notebooks. I think I can be lots more creative in Evernote. Also, the export/sharing options with Evernote are very good. One concern is confidentiality, although I can encrypt selected text in Evernote. That is more cumbersome, but I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Howard, ease of use and accessibility are reasons why I switched from my journaling apps. Yes, confidentiality could be an issue … you have to use a password to logon to the web app, and most of us use fingerprints and/or passwords for our mobile devices, but Evernote doesn’t require a password to launch the app on your computer. One way to secure this (short of highlighting and encrypting all your text) would be to require a password when logging on to your computer and after you’ve been inactive for a prescribed period of time.

      Another possibility: I found (but cannot attest to, as I’ve not tried it) an application that allows you to lock applications on the Mac. (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/41089/mac-app-blocker) If you don’t use a Mac, there are probably equivalent apps for Windows.

      • Howard Veit

        Thanks..I’ll take a look at app-blocker. Another tactic might be to set the Evernote journal notebook up as a local not a synched notebook, so the information does not travel over the web. I probably will not do that since I like the convenience of entering journal entries from my iPhone and iPad. Also, I gave my Evernote journaling notebook an obscure name so anyone looking at my notebooks will not know if is a private journal.

        Some folks do not like the idea of mixing their personal journal notes in with their more routine day to day stuff like receipts, notes from business meetings, etc. Actually I like having my private thoughts and other notes in the same application. I have one place to search for stuff rather than doing searches in two applications. Also, often my mundane day-to-day stuff ties in with my personal journal entries. Evernote provides a ‘note link’ feature which is very powerful.

        At any rate, I am still experimenting with Evernote as a personal journal. We’ll see how it goes. Visually, I think it works well, especially when I keep my notes in the ‘snippet’ mode.

      • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

        Howard, I agree … having your notes all in one place, and accessible on all devices can provide a fuller picture of your life. And since you can put all your journal entries in a separate notebook, to me it’s not much different than having separate notebooks for different purposes. And actually more secure than a physical notebook, from my point of view. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      • Howard Veit

        By the way, one of the other nice things about Evernote is that if you like to do handwritten journal notes, Evernote can accommodate. I keep a small moleskin pad in my gadget bag. I can scribble notes, open Evernote on my iPhone and take a quick picture of the note and it goes immediately into your chosen Evernote notebook. If you want to get even more high tech, you can use a Livescribe pen and special Livescribe notebook to write journal entries in longhand and have them automatically transferred to Evernote via your iPad or iPhone Livescribe program. Neat!

      • Howard Veit

        Agree, and I found the Livescribe pen to be too thick, and somewhat uncomfortable to write with. I like my fine point pens with various color ink, and then snap a picture of the pages into Evernote.

  • Howard Veit

    Amber, you have prompted me to reconsider switching to Evernote for my daily journaling. I have been using Day One, but Evernote is so much easier to pull material into with the web clipper, etc. Also I can attach .PDFs to notes in Evernote and I cannot do that in Day One. I am a heavy user of PDFs. I have been reluctant to mix my personal journal in with all my other notes in Evernote, but I am going to give Evernote a try for a month and see how it goes. There is an advantage to keeping my journal with my other note taking. I have just one place to search for things (the Evernote search function is good), and I can copy notes to/from other notebooks. I think I can be lots more creative in Evernote. Also, the export/sharing options with Evernote are very good. One concern is confidentiality, although I can encrypt selected text in Evernote. That is more cumbersome, but I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Howard, ease of use and accessibility are reasons why I switched from my journaling apps. Yes, confidentiality could be an issue … you have to use a password to logon to the web app, and most of us use fingerprints and/or passwords for our mobile devices, but Evernote doesn’t require a password to launch the app on your computer. One way to secure this (short of highlighting and encrypting all your text) would be to require a password when logging on to your computer and after you’ve been inactive for a prescribed period of time.

      Another possibility: I found (but cannot attest to, as I’ve not tried it) an application that allows you to lock applications on the Mac. (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/41089/mac-app-blocker) If you don’t use a Mac, there are probably equivalent apps for Windows.

      • Howard Veit

        Thanks..I’ll take a look at app-blocker. Another tactic might be to set the Evernote journal notebook up as a local not a synched notebook, so the information does not travel over the web. I probably will not do that since I like the convenience of entering journal entries from my iPhone and iPad. Also, I gave my Evernote journaling notebook an obscure name so anyone looking at my notebooks will not know if is a private journal.

        Some folks do not like the idea of mixing their personal journal notes in with their more routine day to day stuff like receipts, notes from business meetings, etc. Actually I like having my private thoughts and other notes in the same application. I have one place to search for stuff rather than doing searches in two applications. Also, often my mundane day-to-day stuff ties in with my personal journal entries. Evernote provides a ‘note link’ feature which is very powerful.

        At any rate, I am still experimenting with Evernote as a personal journal. We’ll see how it goes. Visually, I think it works well, especially when I keep my notes in the ‘snippet’ mode.

      • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

        Howard, I agree … having your notes all in one place, and accessible on all devices can provide a fuller picture of your life. And since you can put all your journal entries in a separate notebook, to me it’s not much different than having separate notebooks for different purposes. And actually more secure than a physical notebook, from my point of view. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

      • Howard Veit

        By the way, one of the other nice things about Evernote is that if you like to do handwritten journal notes, Evernote can accommodate. I keep a small moleskin pad in my gadget bag. I can scribble notes, open Evernote on my iPhone and take a quick picture of the note and it goes immediately into your chosen Evernote notebook. If you want to get even more high tech, you can use a Livescribe pen and special Livescribe notebook to write journal entries in longhand and have them automatically transferred to Evernote via your iPad or iPhone Livescribe program. Neat!

      • Howard Veit

        Agree, and I found the Livescribe pen to be too thick, and somewhat uncomfortable to write with. I like my fine point pens with various color ink, and then snap a picture of the pages into Evernote.

  • Timothy

    I love Evernote! It has become an invaluable tool to store and organize research I find all over the Web. I used to email myself any articles that I found, but then I would have to comb through my inbox like a mechanic looking for a quarter-inch socket. Now it is all right at my fingertips, saving time, valuable space, and reducing clutter.
    Great article… as a newbie you’ve captured my attention! 🙂

  • Timothy

    I love Evernote! It has become an invaluable tool to store and organize research I find all over the Web. I used to email myself any articles that I found, but then I would have to comb through my inbox like a mechanic looking for a quarter-inch socket. Now it is all right at my fingertips, saving time, valuable space, and reducing clutter.
    Great article… as a newbie you’ve captured my attention! 🙂

  • Barbara Toboni

    Thanks for this post, Amber. I appreciate that you linked the videos. They were easy to understand. I’ll try downloading the free app. Where have I been, living in the dark ages with my old notebook and pen?

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Barbara, take note of Howard’s info above. Evernote can also work well for people who like to handwrite, in terms of keeping all those handwritten journals and notes safely in one place, as well as organizing and tagging the entries with keywords.

  • Barbara Toboni

    Thanks for this post, Amber. I appreciate that you linked the videos. They were easy to understand. I’ll try downloading the free app. Where have I been, living in the dark ages with my old notebook and pen?

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Barbara, take note of Howard’s info above. Evernote can also work well for people who like to handwrite, in terms of keeping all those handwritten journals and notes safely in one place, as well as organizing and tagging the entries with keywords.

  • Sherrey Meyer

    I’ve been using Evernote since I began writing my memoir, using it to store info about my hometown back in the time period my mother grew up. I’ve stored lots of blog posts on writing, research, editing, etc. in Evernote thinking of it in my mind’s eye as a good-sized filing cabinet. Currently, I need to do some purging and reorganization, but with search features it’s usually easy to find what I’m looking for. I’ve been considering moving what I have bookmarked on my browser to Evernote except for those things I use everyday. The habit of reaching to the bookmarks with my mouse might be a hard one to kill. Thanks for a great overview of Evernote.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Sherrey, I love the idea of using Evernote to manage (or at least have a copy of) bookmarks. I don’t always use the same computer and find that my bookmarks don’t always sync. One of the ways I have dealt with that is by periodically exporting my bookmarks (or favorites) to an HTML page and storing the page on Dropbox so I can always access them. But I may move this to Evernote. Makes perfect sense.

  • Sherrey Meyer

    I’ve been using Evernote since I began writing my memoir, using it to store info about my hometown back in the time period my mother grew up. I’ve stored lots of blog posts on writing, research, editing, etc. in Evernote thinking of it in my mind’s eye as a good-sized filing cabinet. Currently, I need to do some purging and reorganization, but with search features it’s usually easy to find what I’m looking for. I’ve been considering moving what I have bookmarked on my browser to Evernote except for those things I use everyday. The habit of reaching to the bookmarks with my mouse might be a hard one to kill. Thanks for a great overview of Evernote.

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Sherrey, I love the idea of using Evernote to manage (or at least have a copy of) bookmarks. I don’t always use the same computer and find that my bookmarks don’t always sync. One of the ways I have dealt with that is by periodically exporting my bookmarks (or favorites) to an HTML page and storing the page on Dropbox so I can always access them. But I may move this to Evernote. Makes perfect sense.

  • Michelle monet

    wow.This definitely looks like the thing to get. I am using google docs now which I do like.Can you tell me the main differences between EVernote and google docs?thanks. Im considering trying it too. Im assuing its easy to use?Please say yes!!ha

    Also.. .You say its free.DO you mean totally free or free with a catch?>

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Google docs stores documents as individual files. Evernote stores everything in notebooks, which are really all in one big file. That makes it easy to organize and find content when you need it. It’s really a different animal than Google docs. You could compare it to Microsoft’s OneNote, which I don’t like as well because it’s not as seamless across devices. Evernote does have a paid level, which I use because I like the benefits, but the free version is quite generous — you can store thousands of notes in just the free version. All I can say is to try it out and see if you like it.

  • Michelle monet

    wow.This definitely looks like the thing to get. I am using google docs now which I do like.Can you tell me the main differences between EVernote and google docs?thanks. Im considering trying it too. Im assuing its easy to use?Please say yes!!ha

    Also.. .You say its free.DO you mean totally free or free with a catch?>

    • Amber Lea Starfire Post author

      Google docs stores documents as individual files. Evernote stores everything in notebooks, which are really all in one big file. That makes it easy to organize and find content when you need it. It’s really a different animal than Google docs. You could compare it to Microsoft’s OneNote, which I don’t like as well because it’s not as seamless across devices. Evernote does have a paid level, which I use because I like the benefits, but the free version is quite generous — you can store thousands of notes in just the free version. All I can say is to try it out and see if you like it.