13 September 2011

Managing the Information You Find Online

I often wonder what readers do with all the information posted on this blog! Obviously, not all of it is relevant to you, but when it is, how do you manage it? Here are a few free web applications which may help on the receiving end of things, but I am also interested in your feedback, so please share your own strategies.

Bookmarking Services:

These services allow you to create bookmarks (i.e., save the address) for any web-based resource, store them in one central place, and access them online. You can organize your bookmarks using tags (or keywords), and you can share your bookmarks in various ways. So if you are working on several research projects, you could use standardized tags to describe the online materials you find that relate in some way to those projects. I can vouch for both Delicious and Diigo (here are examples of how I've used each service: SRLAN Current Awareness Bibliography and New Journal Articles). There are many other bookmarking services besides these; two that I've heard good things about but haven't used are Evernote (requires a free download) and Pinboard (charges a small fee).

Online Reference Managers:

These are similar to bookmarking services, but they are more geared to a research audience. As such, emphasis is placed on bookmarking references to journal articles and scholarly papers, but other resources can be bookmarked as well. Two well-known services in this category are CiteULike and Connotea; both offer the ability to assign tags, share references and connect with colleagues. Connotea is a bit more user-friendly and is ad-free, but in the past has been quite slow.

Bibliography Managers:

These applications are more traditional bibliography-builders and are designed to make it easier to format any of your online references according to certain citation styles (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.). In the past, I have used EndNote, which is a desktop application, but I am interested in exploring these web-based programmes to see how they compare: BibMe.org, EasyBib.com, Zotero (note: the classic version of this application is used in conjunction with Firefox; however, a beta version is now available for download that will run on your desktop).

More generally, here are some tips for dealing with information overload: "Being Wired or Being Tired: 10 Ways to Cope with Information Overload."

So what do you do?

[Image credit: Information Overload (Hidden in Plain Sight, April 2009)]


Jessica said...

If I'm really strapped for time, I star the blog post in Google Reader. Google's search function is good enough that I trust that I can find what I need from my starred posts. If I have a bit more time, I'll open the great-sounding link in your post and then Evernote the pertinent info. Its searchability is also excellent, and I highly recommend it!

EEM said...

Thanks for sharing your strategy. Sounds like Evernote is worth a closer look!