Marshalling information around the place, on so many disparate topics, takes some organisation so I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’ve been coping. I’ve been trying to run this site/ project as a more-or-less paper-free, online, digital research desk.
Google Apps has been a saviour in that regard. For the princely sum of €0, I’ve been able to commandeer an email address at my own domain (firstname.lastname@example.org). With this gmail address came so many more facilities. I use the Calendar to keep a record of my top three research goals for the day, and merge it with my personal gmail calendar so that I never forget what it was I wanted to do. (And at weekends, I can turn this merging off! Win!) I use the free storage at Picasa to upload photos I’ve taken in museums, and photos that I’ve sneakily cadged with my iPhone from published books. The Documents facility, and it’s ability to be organised into Collections, has been a godsend. I can type up all my notes online, and so have access to them wherever and whenever. I’ve been using Documents for lists of sources (printed, digital, archival), ideas for blogposts, accounts, brainstorming, daily check lists, and a pretty Grand Time Management Plan To Take Over The World 😉 I can also keep tabs on other history blogs through Reader.
Although you can store PDFs in Google Docs now, I’ve been using Dropbox. Dropbox lets me create a library of what I’ve used in my research, and organise that library into categories so that if I need to recheck something, it’s right there where it’s supposed to be. I can’t do this with books, but most books (whether they’re scanned online, have a preview function, or are snippet view only) are searchable in Google Books, so after I’ve created a list in Documents, it’s pretty easy to look for that needle in the haystack if I need to.
How do you handle your own research organisation? Got any tips for me?