43 Folders

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Grad school notes (again; long)

I know that notetaking has recently been taken up on the front page around here, and topics pertaining to academics also pop up fairly frequently, but I thought I'd try to solicit some feedback for my particular situation.

I'm a PhD student in the humanities (specifically English). I'm trying to establish some sort of concrete workflow and organization method that I can use, but I am having a lot of trouble settling on anything. This isn't really a new thing-- I seem to have a bad habit of using one method of information gathering for a while, then switching to something new, then going to a third one, and so on.

Anyway, to make a long-ish story short, my work involves (as you might have guessed) a lot of reading. The material I read ranges from pulp fiction to theoretical debate; from microfilm to PDF articles; from old editions of books that I can't take out of a certain room in the library to the latest issue of some journal. I'm having trouble corralling all of this information and processing it.

Right now, I use Endnote (which I like if only because it makes formatting a bibliography very easy), and I don't plan on losing that-- it has been one constant-- but I feel like I need a better way to organize information that I get OUT of the sources I am working with. Currently, I'll sometimes take notes in Circusponies Notebook and other times on 3x5 cards (which I find handy when I am writing a paper, because I can move them around easily). Trouble is I have some things in one place, and other things in another this way. I also use Yep to keep my PDF files tagged. I have OmniOutliner, too, but haven't really done much with it.

I've tried so many apps out there (from Journler to Scrivener, to a demo of Devonthink Pro, and VoodooPad, and so on) and nothing seems to work with me. I am starting to think that there is less any sort of app I need to worry about and more some particular way to file my materials.

But yeah, I'd appreciate any advice. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with options at this stage. I'm in my second year, which means I am prepping for comprehensive exams and so I haven't started researching my dissertation in earnest yet, but that will begin before long and I'd like to have a system I don't have to think too much about when I get to that stage.


About synecdoche




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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