Make Research Easier with These Five Tools is an article on Information Today by Brandi Scardilli that discusses five tools that are mainly for managing references. Tools mentioned are EndNote, Flow, Mendeley, Paperpile, and Readcube. The discussion of each tool is nicely organized, offering a description, the parent company, tagline, mobile apps, social media, features, customers, what’s new, and what’s next.
Stay up to date with Mendeley with their Twitter account for Tips.
Crystal alerted me about a great post and video by James Dvorak on using Evernote with an article-indexing database. It uses an Ebsco database as an example, but the technique (sending a bibliographic record to your Evernote email account) could be used with many article databases, including a lot of library catalogs.
Crystal and I posted the slides for our presentation on using Evernote for research and outreach previously. We did not post, though, the handout we used and to which we have since added. Now we have. ;-).
Evernote is rolling out a feature called Work Chat. You can see the faces of those with whom you share notes or notebooks, and are able to open a chat within the program. It is accessible on all versions of Evernote and does not mention being a Premium or Business-only feature. More information is available.
Evernote’s iOS-only Penultimate handwriting app has a new version with a number of useful features like infinite pages, a de-cluttered writing area, different themes, and better support for the Jotscript Evernote edition stylus. I do hope they come out with an Android version!
Google Calendar Now Adds and Updates Events for You Based on Gmail is a post by Alan Henry on Lifehacker about the new features. Of most interest is the feature mentioned in the title. The example they use is that if you get concert tickets or plane flight confirmations in your email, it will add the events automatically to your calendar. Post includes a video.
With Inbox, Google Dares to be Different is an article on CNET by Stephen Shankland, discussing the new interface for mail that shakes up the traditional way of viewing email in an attempt to make the flood easier to deal with. Article covers features and links to other resources.
Add-ons for Forms Brings a Little Something Extra to Your Surveys is a post by Google about new flexibility in their tool for creating surveys. Add-ons are created by third-party developers and the ones available do things like close the survey after a certain number of responses or on a specified date.
Three Nice Online Tools for Building Jeopardy-Style Review Games is an article from Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne. A lot of librarians as well as other instructors use these as a more interesting teaching tool. The tools are eQuizShow, Jeopardy Rocks, and FlipQuiz.
IFTTT now also has a channel called Followup.cc, “A simple & powerful email tool. Use timed email to schedule reminders, follow up with leads and ensure emails are not ignored. eg. firstname.lastname@example.org“. Lifehacker has an article with a few more details.
Nicole Hennig is teaching an online course Apps for Librarians and Educators. It is a 5 week course with a self-paced option available. The course runs February 2 through March 6, 2015. While we generally focus on freely available materials, the course is not free. However, Hennig is extremely knowledgeable about this topic. I plan on taking the course and am looking forward to it. ALA members get a discount.
Hennig also has an interesting post Why You Don’t Need to Stick with One Mobile Platform: 50 Best Apps for Multi-Platform Productivity. It mentions a number of apps available for both iOS and Android, including a few I’ve wished were available and now are. One example is iAnnotate. Being an Android user, I do get frustrated because it seems that almost all of the people I follow who write about apps/programs for academic use are Mac/iOS users, so I rarely see reviews of equivalent Android apps. So this article is much appreciated!
Office Productivity Software
2014 Top Desktop Office Software Suites Comparison Chart is another excellent article by Cindy Grigg, the About.com office software expert. The article compares Microsoft Office 2013, Office 365, LibreOffice, Open Office, iWork 2013, and Kingsoft Office 2013 in many categories. She has also done more detailed reviews of all of these, plus some reviews of associated apps.
Grigg has also done a 2014 Top Online Office Software Suite Apps Comparison Chart. The article compares Microsoft Office Online, Google Apps, iWork for iCloud, ThinkFree Online, and Zoho Docs Online. In addition, Grigg has separate articles reviewing 40 features of Thinkfree, Zoho Docs, and iWork.
Grabbing Quotes from Journal Articles with Highlights App for Mac is an article from Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog. She describes the Highlights app which can extract your highlights, add metadata for the article if it has a DOI, save as (editable) HTML or Markdown, and the result can be exported to Evernote, DEVONthink, or another text editor. Sounds like a great piece of technology for academics.
Manage Research Papers on the Go with Papership is a post from Dr. Alex Hope on the Dr Sustainable blog. Papership is an iOS app that makes reading and annotating papers with an iPad or iPhone easy. There is a free version, but the author recommends the $9.99 version as having excellent annotation tools. Found via Nicole Hennig in her email newsletter – and thanks, Ms. Hennig, for the shout out about our blog!
Podcast of Interest
Back to Work is “an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.” Available on the web, by RSS feed, and from iTunes. It was recommended in a post in Profhacker.
Kensington’s PresentAir Pro A Laser Pointer on Steroids for Mobile Presenters is an article about this product shipping as of November. It is a Bluetooth device, so doesn’t require a USB port, and besides serving as a laser pointer also controls the volume, playlist, and controlling video clips.
Using Scrivener to Project Manage Your Thesis is a post by Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog. It has some good tips on Scrivener features to keep track of things to do and the status of tasks while writing a thesis in Scrivener.
6 Tools to Make Archival Research More Efficient is a Gradhacker post by Emily VanBuren aimed at graduate students who do a lot of research in archives. The tools include apps to manage finding aids, a good camera, a wireless SD card, a table grip for mounting the camera so it is stable, a remote control, and scanner apps. I particularly like the idea of the app she mentions for a scanning app, PDFpenScan+, which runs OCR on the scanned documents and turn them into searchable PDFs (iOS only, PDF Scanner looks like it performs the same functions on Android).
Canva introduces their Design School, “a new platform, workshop series and teacher resource hub designed to increase the world’s visual literacy.” It is a 30 part series of interactive tutorials on such topics as branding, fonts, layouts, and images.
Optimizing Microsoft Word for Academic Writing by Landon Schnabel in Social Work Helper has interesting tips with which I was unfamiliar, such as turning on more proofing options, using field codes, and more.