Friday, June 01, 2007

More Confusion

More confusion -- EndNote version


Can somebody explain to me why one would use Endnote and what might be a better program for what I need? I would like to be able to take all my notes as I'm reading and keep them in my computer. Right now, I use Word and just type in Keyword terms at the end of each note. I've tried Scribe and it's incredibly complicated, even though it seems to duplicate the notecard type of functionality I want. It would be very nice to be able to type in my notes, have them all linked to one bibliographic database, and be able to search for them and put them into my work as I'm writing. Is there such a thing?

10 comments:

medieval woman said...

Endnote scares the shit out of me. But, I'm back from vacation and wanted to say hi!

Dance said...

Mac or Windows? I don't think EndNote is the best for taking notes, really better for managing the bibliography. The notes are no better than the Word files to search/access, and you don't have autocorrect or color-coding while typing. But a combination of EndNote for bibliography and something like Google Desktop Search to index the content of your Word files could be fine.

The EndNote listserv (archives linked from EndNote support) should have some posts from people talking about how they use it for note-taking.

Linking and searching notes--the gold standard on the Mac is DevonThink, good discussion of it here, read the link first. If that sounds like what you want, googling for "devonthink windows" will turn up reviews of people who tried out equivalents. Also Google NotaBene (windows only).

I don't think there's an easy answer here--I've been trying to streamline my process for a while and have concluded that it's going to take an investment of really trying out the different tools. Meantime I just roll with Word.

undine said...

Despite its flaws, I like Endnote, but I don't use it for taking notes except indirectly: I keep the notes in Word and then paste the relevant paragraphs into the Endnote citation. It's just easier to visualize the information IMHO if you can see it in Word.

Anonymous said...

A professor here shared his method (actually, using Endnote to manage copies of things from archives, etc): link to the Word file from Endnote, but also paste in the whole text or relevent text. Endnote will pull up the bibliographic entry that has the text if you do a search, but does not locate the text inside the entry. So he then opens up Word and runs the search from inside there.

At least, that's as if I remember his method right.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Basically, ditto to what everyone's said about EndNote. I used to use it a LOT, but I just realized that this was pre-everything being available on the internet (now, half the time when I want a reference, I google it and cut and paste from the web rather than digging it out of EndNote). The thing that EndNote was really designed for, and hence is really good at, is managing bibliography and citations. So if you're in a science/social science field, you use EndNote to insert references and can automatically reformat them for different styles with the click of a mouse. I've never found it as useful for anyone who actually uses footnotes, because the difference in formatting is so different from other citation systems. When I first got it, lo these many moons ago, it was still useful for keeping track of bibliographic information, when finding that was so much more difficult. I really rarely use it now. It does have a notes field and you can certainly store information in it according to source, but I don't find it that much more efficient than just keeping notes according to author/title in word files. (Partly I never got that much info in it to make it useful...)

I take notes partly on the computer and partly by hand, and just have to remember what's where (I usually can remember which notebook I wrote about something - you know, it's the red notebook or the black notebook or whatever). I just organize them by author/title (for secondary sources) and by source for primary sources. I'm sure it's not the most efficient method, but I muddle through. (I'm probably not a model for anything researchy, though...)

In grad school I remember P/H using FileMaker Pro (though you could use any database program, really) and setting up a template where she could enter bibliographic info and then notes, and also designate keywords and so on. This allowed her to search really efficiently for information across one database file, rather than a bunch of Word files. If you don't mind playing around a little bit with database design, this is another way to go (though I'm sure there are people out there who've already created templates for the relevant programs - I know there are cool FM Pro templates, there must be similar stuff for Access, though to be honest I don't know anyone who actually uses Access as it seems to be a fairly sucky product).

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Hee! I was just going to chime in about FileMaker Pro. It wasn't hard at all to set up the template I wanted, I could take pages of notes and link everything by keywords, and it was the greatest database ever. Unfortunately it only exists for Mac (at least last I checked) and I've never found anything for PCs that works as well. I really miss that database. (And NK, I cannot believe that you remember things like that! ;)

Wegie said...

Filemaker is undoubtedly the most friendly database system around (especially when compared to abominations such as Access), and it's finally available for PCs as well.

Alternatively, MS now produces a product called OneNote that's supposed to be specifically for note taking. I've got a tria; copy lurking somewhere, but I didn't use it when doing my MA as the point where I'd've needed it most was exactly when my last laptop keeled over and died.

Some people still seem to be in love with and I've seen some nice things said about a Firefox extension called .

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Scribe is based on filemaker. I downloaded a trial yesterday, but it seems to have vanished from my computer, which is not a good signe. Fortunately, I hadn't put too many things into it ...

Rebecca said...

I've had problems in the past with Scribe.

My method is to have notes in a word document, associated with a number. THe number corresponds to a spreadsheet in excel that has brief bibliographical data. So the spreadsheet serves as a keyword searchable index to the actual notes.

I do use Endnote, but only as a Bibliography manager. I also use its CiteWhileYouWrite feature to do footnotes to secondary sources when I'm writing. It saves some time and effort!

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