Software to Support Scholarship

Coordinating Academic Research with Digital Tools and Practices

1: Assembling and Coordinating Sources

Practices / Concepts:

  1. Capture data automatically from library sites, article database site, Amazon, and other sources
  2. Share data with others globally or in select groups
  3. Use social networks to discover additional sources
  4. Automatically create and format Works Cited pages in a variety of styles (APA, MLA, etc.)
  5. Bookmark tagging and highlighting webpages
  6. Future-proofing data: can the data be exported to a variety of formats so that you can change programs?

Zotero (requires Firefox browser) | Endnote | Mendeley | RefWorks | Papers (M) | BibDesk (M) |Diigo

Zotero Screenshot

Screenshot of Zotero library

2. PDF Management

Practices / Concepts:

  1. Annotate files (highlight, notes, underline, etc.)
  2. Cut-and-paste text from articles into notes
  3. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): convert PDF images (typical in older articles or files you have scanned yourself) into PDF searchable images. PDF images do not have text you can cut-and-paste, while PDF searchable images do (and, of course, you can also do keyword searches of them).
  4. PDF management: some of the programs listed in the bibliography section allow you to "attach" PDF files to their bibliographic entries, so everything is in the same place (but this also makes you more dependent on the bibliographic software).

Annotations: Skim (M) | Acrobat (Full only--not free Reader version) | Preview (M) | Foxit (W)
OCR: Omnipage (W) | Acrobat (Full Only) | DevonThink Pro Office (M)

3. Note taking

Practices / Concepts

  1. Data portability and compatibility / future-proofing: can you export the data in a variety of formats, easily and completely?
  2. Capture anywhere (phone, iPad, laptop, desktop, lab computer)
  3. Analysis: can you do more than keyword search?
  4. Journaling

OneNote (W) | Evernote | DevonThink (M) | plaintext | Tinderbox or it's cheaper cousin Twig (M) | | WordPress | Blogger |pbWorks wiki

OneNote Screenshot


DevonThink Screenshot


4. Manuscripts / Writing

Practices / Concepts

  1. Outlining: move easily from outlines to drafting to outlines to drafting, etc.
  2. Corkboards: easily move around different "chunks" of text to rearrange texts, keep "garbage" file close at hand
  3. Multiple drafts: view the differences between the current version and a past version
  4. Branched drafts: work on two different versions at once, then compare and even merge them
  5. Collaborative writing
  6. Distraction free environment: do away with the interface and font options and just get text on a blank screen

Word | Tinderbox (M) | Scrivener (M, with W beta) | GoogleDocs | OpenOffice | pbWorks wiki | Ulysses (M) | mercurial (WM) |WriteRoom (M) | Writespace (needs Word) (W) | OmmWriter (M)

Scrivener Screenshot

Scrivener Screenshot

Tinderbox Screenshot

Tinderbox Screenshot

5. Backup / Synchronizing

Practices / Concepts

  1. On-site and off-site backups: On-site backups are ok for daily use, but important files (your diss) should be stored off-site (in the cloud, in another town, in a bank, etc.)
  2. View every version: Keep every version of every file, review the differences between version 3 and version 7 six months or 3 years from now.
  3. Keep laptop and desktop in sync, or work computer and home computer

Dropbox (sign up with .edu email address to get double space | GoogleDocs | Amazon S3 - Cyberduck (M) or Arq (M) | or s3browser(W) | Carbonite | Backblaze | Crashplan

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