Saturday, 9 April 2011

Research Toolbox, creation of

Last Wednesday (6th April) I attended another of Legacy's webinars, where the speaker was Thomas McEntee.  The subject of the webinar was 'Building a Research Toolbox', and it was excellent.  Thomas went through the different types of container for your toolbox (which essentially holds your Useful Links that you frequently use and forget!).  There are all sorts of ways to keep yourself organised, and these range from documents on your desktop to containers in the cloud.

Although I have quite a few containers with useful links, I decided to put them all in one place.  Mine ranged from 'that email from so-and-so, yes, that one, now where did I put it, hope I didn't delete it' - which are usually totally unfindable (is that a word?) to browser bookmarks.  Then, because I use Firefox 4 as my browser, I have a useful little add-on to it called Speed Dial, which shows even more of my bookmarks as tiny web pages about an inch high. But both these would be useless if, say, I were researching at the local Family History Library and was sat in front of their computer and wanted to use a particular site whose URL I couldn't remember...

So I chose Evernote.  This is a program of notebooks much like OneNote, but it has an advantage.  Evernote resides on the web AND on your desktop (well, it will if you download it).  It is free (one of my favourite words), and will not only capture URLs, but whole web pages if you want.  You can then build up your list of useful links/pictures of web pages when on your PC at home, the desktop version will sync to the web version when you are connected to the Internet, and then if you are at that computer on the other side of town, you can just log into your account at Evernote and all your useful links will be there!  You can also put your links and images into your web version, and it will sync to your desktop version.  There is no limit to how many notes you can have there, but there is a limit on the free version of 60Mb-of-uploading per month.  I somehow don't think I will get anywhere near that!  There is a paid-for version as well.

And you don't just have to keep your genealogy research toolbox there, either.  I have a notebook on Star Trek useful links, and people use it to compose songs, write novels - all sorts of things.

Now, other people might prefer other ways of building their own research toolbox.  They may want to put other things in it; after all, how many out there (apart from me, that is) are interested in a town museum in the depths of the Southwest of England, or a small local Cornish newspaper when your family comes from America?

But I'm thrilled with my choices - both of container and content.  And if you think "I haven't got much to put in there", like I did, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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