Back when I was putting my Masters away I lusted after a small hand-held scanner so I could grab research material quickly and review it later. There were some cool scanners around, however me and the money and the scanner never even got close to each other. In real terms, however, I wonder about the real value, because I would still have had to OCR it and redo it and blah blah blah.
I’m always learning new stuff (should I ever get serious about undertaking my PhD?) I’ve started by firing up a tiddlywiki repository. It’s incredibly easy to set up, and almost frightening in its potency. Here’s how to do it:
1. Fire up Firefox. You don’t use Firefox? Well, there you go then. Fell at the first hurdle…
2. Cruise over to TiddlyWiki and download the latest version. Save it somewhere meaningful. Hint for students – this could mean your memory stick.
3. That done, point Firefox back to TiddlySnip and install the Firefox extension. Follow the simple (but thorough) online installation instructions and in five minutes or less you’ll have a tiddlywiki enabled, web-based, browser powered scrapbooking device with tags. Did I mention free?
You could also use the TiddlySpot online wiki (again, did I mention free?). You’d be building a resource there that’s visible to all, so perhaps if you were a generous soul and you wanted to build something to share with your peers – or perhaps a group project. Hmmm, I’m tempted to consider returning to teaching.
TiddlySnip grabs a highlighted selection of text, wraps your tags around it, and writes it into the TiddlyWiki, complete with a clickable url back to the original page. Effortless, fast, and fantastic for doing basic literature reviews, gathering notes, and building a knowledge base. Team that up with some speed reading and high speed net access it’d be awesome how quickly you’d build a potent resource. The only thing the TiddlySnip people haven’t done for you is format the citation into APA, but I expect you can do that through Noodlebib or something similar. For luddites like me, I just did it by hand.