Use Diigo to annotate and organize the web

Do you sometimes wonder how people were doing research in the pre-internet age? I do this quite often, and do you know what I am thinking right after? How the hell did I do research on the web before I knew about Diigo?!!

Diigo is one of my core information management tools. Some people call it a social bookmarking service, but it is far more than that. With Diigo, you can:

  • Highlight text on webpages in up to four colours
  • Add comments to your highlights
  • Add floating sticky notes to record your own thoughts
  • Save bookmarks and organize them via tags in your Diigo database
  • Save webpages into Diigo's Read Later list
  • Add a description to remind you why you saved this particular bookmark
  • Save the entire webpage into your Diigo database via its Cache function
  • Share your annotations and bookmarks with the world, or with colleagues via lists and groups.

In short, Diigo is an amazing tool for knowledge workers to annotate, archive and organize the web – either for yourself or in collaboration with others. And as an educator, you even get a free upgrade to a Diigo Education account with unlimited highlighting. Cha-ching!!

Diigo - highlighting and annotate the web
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Surprise: Papers is coming to Windows!

Papers for WindowsThis is big news! The mekentosj crew has silently rolled out a pre-release version of their upcoming Papers for Windows app. This is good news for iPad owners in academia, especially if you are also using a Windows PC – so we make an exception here and briefly talk about a Windows app on academiPad. [Read more…]

Start loving to organize your PDFs with Papers for Mac

Papers 2 for MacThe best apps offer a simplistic and beautiful interface that allows people to use the software in an intuitive way. Papers by mekentosj is one of these apps: Through its iTunes-like interface, Papers allows you to organize and annotate your endless collections of journal articles in an easy and fun way.

This post is part of a series exploring the two leading PDF management systems on the Mac and iPad: Sente and Papers. Previous posts have explored the benefits of PDF management systems (in comparison to stand-alone PDF readers) and offered an in-depth review of Sente for Mac. The current post checks out Papers, following the same structure as the Sente for Mac posts: it introduces the Papers ecosystem, reviews how you can add and annotate references, and briefly talks about how you can insert in-text citations and bibliographies into your write-ups. [Read more…]

Super-charge your PDF workflow with Sente for Mac

Finding, reading, annotating, and citing journal articles is our daily bread as academics. But are we good at cutting it? How many times have you searched for “that perfect paper” you have read just a few weeks ago!? Or have you ever almost missed a submission deadline because compiling the bibliography “took a little longer”?

If you are reading a lot of journal articles (and chances are you do if you are in university), it makes sense to invest in a tightly integrated ecosystem that allows you to organize and annotate your PDFs seamlessly on the Mac and the iPad. As I mentioned in the previous guide to annotating PDFs, there are right now two contenders in a neck-to-neck race of offering the best, multi-device PDF management system: Sente and Papers. To keep the current review of Sente for Mac somehow manageable (Sente’s user manual stretches over 316 pages, just to give you an idea), it only covers the most basic functions: how to add a PDF (or reference more generally), how to organize your references, what annotations are supported, and how you can insert in-text citations and bibliographies into your write-ups. [Read more…]

The ultimate guide on how to annotate PDF files on the iPad

Ultimate guide on how to annotate PDF files on the iPadFor most people in university and college, the ability to annotate PDF files is one of the main reasons for buying an iPad. There are hundreds of apps out there that let you annotate PDFs: how do you know which one is the best one for you?

Rather than discussing one particular app in detail, this post presents the bigger picture by discussing three different user profiles whose needs are different with regards to PDF annotation and management. Once you know what type of user you are, you can check out the overview of 10 (plus 3) apps, my personal favorites, and some thoughts on using a stylus. With all this information, finding out what app you need to annotate PDF files “your style” becomes a piece of cake.

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Apple’s flirt with academia

The Apple Education Event that shook up the Big Apple last Thursday stirred up the usual hype that surrounds everything Apple does these days. “Apple reinvents the textbook” is a headline you can see frequently on the web. Yeah, maybe, but what are the immediate consequences for educators and students at universities and colleges? Unless your campus has gone fully iPad already, you don’t have to hold your breath. Apple’s event mainly focused on high-schools, and the few textbooks that are available right now are not for the university level. So while there is nothing going to change for you tomorrow, I believe Apple’s Education Event is an indication of changes to come in the next two to five years.

In this post, I am discussing the possible “fallout” of Apple’s Education Event. If you are interested in learning about Apple’s groundbreaking take on text annotations, or if you are interested in how Apple’s focus on education might help you to engage your students through peer-learning and customized textbooks, this post is for you. [Read more…]