I am in awe of your breadth of reading and your ability to keep track of it all so that you can draw on it later. How do you keep track of all the studies you cite and all the links you incorporate into your posts? I have yet to find a really fast and accurate way to do it.

9 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    I’m starting to think that I write the blog as a way to have a place to put all the things I read.

    I keep articles organized by list. I have lists of big ideas, and each idea has a bunch of articles that relate to each other on the same list. And I have lists of articles that I think are interesting but I can’t figure out a way to put them on the blog. I keep the lists in gmail because gmail is searchable.

    I also receive tons of links from readers. I check every single link, and sometimes, even if i don’t think I’ll ever write about something, I have it swimming in my head, and I end up wanting to link to it, so I just search for it in gmail.

    I also read a lot in print. And when I like something, I tear it out and put it in my pile. I end up having a big pile that I carry around with me everywhere. My thinking is that I never know when I’ll write my next post and I want to have my pile with me when I write that post. I am thinking, though, that carrying around the pile is insane. I just can’t bear to have read something interesting and not put it on my site.

    In fact, my pile is right next to me now. So I think I’ll publish a link from one of the pages I’m carrying around…

    Here is a great story in the New Yorker about a guy who left his ipad in a Taxi and then used his cloud backup to ping his ipad and chase the taxi down over the course of days. I love this article. It’s short and fun and amazing. I hope you love it too!



  2. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    I used to tear out articles, too, and then lose them. So I started creating binders with those plastic sheet protectors. Makes life much easier and you can get some cute binders now!

  3. junger
    junger says:

    I haven’t started using it, but apparently folks are in love with Pinterest as a way to save and keep track of stuff. I’ve recently started using Instapaper to save longer form documents to read them offline – not great for readily available links to blog about, but gives me a reading list at the end of the day to go through.

  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    If you are reading primary research, try Mendeley – searchable way to store PDFs. Scientists use that (or the Papers, the Mac equivalent). You can leave notes directly on PDFs, or tag them into one or more “playlists”, much like iTunes.

    The search capabilities are comparable to Gmail.

  5. Deborah Hymes
    Deborah Hymes says:

    Evernote. It’s awesome. You can clip/archive a link, an article or a page. Totally searchable. Easily sortable into folders if you want a deeper system. Accessible from anywhere. You can also add your own notes, thoughts, keywords. So you can easily keep track of items for multiple blogs or projects. Seriously, try it out!

  6. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    These are such great suggestions! Thanks you guys.

    Something I think about a lot is public vs private. Delicious and Pinterest are public, so it’s like publishing all the links before I publish them. I can’t decide if that’s good or bad…


    • Mark W.
      Mark W. says:

      Delicious allows you to individually mark as private your bookmarks. Right click on a bookmark, select properties, and check in the box labelled private (it’s located in the upper right corner of the dialog box). Also, I’m pretty sure you can do this when you’re adding a new bookmark.

  7. Alison
    Alison says:

    If your goal is remembering & organizing casual/informal ideas from blogs, personal conversations, etc:
    *Android app lets you voice record musings, and it’s multi-platform/format friendly for however you’re trying to digitally remember things

    If your goal is storing formal published papers, quickfinding content within them, & collecting their meta-data for instant citations into your own formal writing:
    Onenote ($), Zotero (open source free equivalent), Mendeley
    *will merge into MS Word for clickable citation insertation in your own writing

  8. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Another option is Diigo which is a social bookmarking service. They describe themselves by the following text –
    “Diigo aims to dramatically improve your online productivity. Building upon the strengths of award-winning Diigo V4, widely regarded as one of the best and most popular social bookmarking, web annotation, collaborative research services, Diigo V5.0 has added additional data types (screenshots, pictures, notes, etc) and platform support, such as Chrome, Android, iPad, iPhone, etc. With Version 5.0, Diigo moves one step further towards its vision of providing the best cloud-based personal information management (PIM) service that enables users to collect, highlight, access and share a variety of information, on a variety of devices.”
    More information and links to text and video are here – http://help.diigo.com/ .

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