Before moving to a paperless environment, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about how to best organize your digital files. Maybe you already have a system, and adding new files to that system won’t be a problem. Or maybe you need to create a system, or rethink the one you are using. Considering workflow and organization before you dive into moving paperless will save you time in the long run. To see examples, take a look at these academic workflow concept resources collected by Georgia Tech Library. Also remember that both librarians and instructional technologists can help you create a solution.
Now, let’s dive into the tools:
- Evernote: We have held two workshops on Evernote and blogged about it here. This is a great cloud based tool to collect information – articles, websites, blog posts, pictures, meeting notes, audio notes – and be able to access them anywhere from any connected device or computer. Add-ons like the Evernote webclipper make saving online content easy. Organize your notes into notebooks, add relevant subject tags, or search across all your notes to find information when you need it.
- Google Drive is one of many cloud storage tools. Through Google Apps for Education, all Connecticut College faculty, staff and students each receive 30 GB for storing files. Because the College community is connected, it is easy to share and collaborate on documents.
- RefWorks, available through Shain library’s database subscriptions, allows you to create your own personal database of published research. Find something in a database? In Google Scholar? Add the citations to your RefWorks account. You can also upload the pdf article to the bibliographic information. Because RefWorks was created for libraries, it is easy to create folders to organize your references and then to create bibliographies automatically. RefWorks is available online to any Connecticut College student, staff or faculty member.
- Mendeley is similar to RefWorks but is not tied to our institution. It is free to create an account, organize your research articles and upload pdfs. You can also annotate the pdfs in your library, or share them with colleagues. Mendeley also has a social network component. By creating or joining groups, you can share research, collaborate and chat with colleagues, and find out what others in your field are reading.
Image source: Pete Birkinshaw. Filing System. From http://www.flickr.com/photos/binaryape/2915047335/in/photostream/