Everloving Evernote

This spring I started using Evernote which, if you don’t already know it, is a multi-platform notetaking system. I’m pretty certain that I got interested in using it via Profhacker which is about the smartest group blog out there for academics of any stripe.

Anyway, I installed Evernote on my laptop and my tablet. I poked around with it and was semi-sort-of meh about the whole thing. I mean, what was in it for me? How should I use it? I made a few notes, kept track of a few things and not much else happened. My world was definitely not rocked.

Then the super-smart Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega recommended a book for academics on how to use the software: Work Smarter With Evernote by Alexandra Samuel. I bought the book because, dangit!, the software really sounded helpful but I knew that I was missing the point. I read the brief book and, wow, world has definitely been rocked. My new phone has Evernote installed and it’s become a universal constant in my life, thanks to the book and other useful guides. Another Twitter star and historian, Liz Covart, cemented the deal for me with her 3 Ways Evernote Makes Research Easier. (Also see this only slightly-outdated list of Evernote power-user tips from PCWorld.)

Samuel highlighted some of the tools and organizational elements existing within Evernote that you can use to cluster your life or work in “stacks” that are easily and intuitively accessible. She showed how webpages can be clipped, documents appended and photos added to turn Evernote from a simple note tool into a total reference system.

I’m still only a novice but, wow, Evernote is so amazing. I’m putting together reading lists and class plans in course-specific notebooks that reside within my teaching stack. Tagging allows me to bridge the research and teaching aspects of the system where appropriate (which is surprisingly more and more now that I think about it). I have a personal to-do always floating around at the top to help me remember errands. Post office tomorrow to mail a small parcel, thank you, Evernote!

I’ve Evernote screenshot become an Evernote enthusiast but the real joy of the software didn’t hit home until Wednesday, during the grad class. One of the students was leading the discussion and I was making notes in Evernote on my tablet, all about the presentation when a handout materialized in front of me. Without thinking, I pulled out my phone, used the camera to snap shots of the two sides and pull them into Evernote. Then back to the tablet where I could now start making notes on how the handout and discussion intermixed. Oh, and if I’d pulled the document file out of the accompanying email or sent it to my evernote account, I could have included that there as well. In the end, I had a helpful note about the grad student’s work, incorporating their material, already labelled with the class (because Evernote reads my schedule and knows where I am at any given point in the day), that I could then tag and file appropriately. I’m now going to do one better and import my presentation rubrics into Evernote so that grading becomes more streamlined as well.

Do you use Evernote? If so, what do you love about it? If not, have I convinced you to take a second look?

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12 Comments

Filed under review, tech

12 responses to “Everloving Evernote

  1. Dana B

    I use it for recipes, work reference material, vacation organisation and planning, lists of things to do in the future, shopping and to do lists, planning for changes around the house, storing hints and tips articles, storing sewing and knitting patterns, keeping backups of things like my RSS accounts list, and writing notes. I’m also currently using it to compile municipal election information.

    It helps that my husband uses it as well, and we have premium accounts. We can keep the central to do and shopping lists shared and up to date, we can both access them anywhere, and we can easily share information that both of us need to know.

    • J Liedl

      Those are really smart uses. I have a lot of family references that I’m starting to add to Evernote. I will also likely upgrade to Premium given the way that enables a lot of offline use.

  2. Liz Covart

    Welcome to the world of Evernote Janice! I am glad you find the app useful.

  3. I’m an Evernote failure, but now I want to try it again. It won’t clip web pages and it won’t recognize text even when I use my superduper Evernote-gridded Moleskine or snap a picture of a document. It hides things, or rather, I haven’t learned how to use it effectively, so I can’t find them. Other people can get it to do these things, but no luck for me so far. When I get spare time, though, I always want to try it again, especially because I’m paying for Premium space.

  4. P. S. Can you write more about Evernote and how you get it to see your schedule? How do you pull in your presentation rubrics and fill them out? I do want to make Evernote work, because it looks so useful.

    • J Liedl

      Oh, I definitely will share more about putting together schedules and documentation with Evernote. I’ve only started doing this in the past month so I’m still a novice, but so far, so good!

  5. Your post got me to take another look! I’m trying to figure out how to sync across (Mac) devices, but yeah; it’s a great tool.

    • J Liedl

      I’m not sure how the Mac versions work, but I’ve found a “sync” option in Evernote on my phone, tablet and computer so that I’m getting the most up-to-date versions of my notes and notebooks.

  6. I do use Evernote, though not extensively. I use a smartpen and have it automatically upload to Evernote as a backup, and occasionally I’ll clip something to use later. I’ve been using TheBrain for similar research purposes. I like the visual representation and interconnectivity, and apparently you can even incorporate items from Evernote into TheBrain (though I haven’t tried it yet). Have you seen Mohiomap? It provides an interconnective interface for various cloud services, including Evernote. You might find it a useful addition.

    • J Liedl

      Oh, a new set of options with which to work. Thanks, Mark! These are some interesting leads which I can now pursue.

  7. I’most using it less and less. Although it is easy to get data into Evernote, its export options are less than ideal.

    • J Liedl

      I can understand the export frustrations. I wait until I’m on my laptop and then I copy and paste needed data into another application. That fits my workflow but could get annoying quickly!