Saturday, June 02, 2007

Notetaking applications

Via Lifehacker, here is a list of online programs that can be useful for note taking. I haven't tried most of them, but none seems to permit hyperlinking notes, something I find really important as I take notes that I use in different contexts. Currently, I am pretty happy with WikidPad, a "personal" (meaning single-user) wiki that allows me to jot down notes very quickly and to cross-link with keywords etc. For example, in one of my recent working papers, I summarize the literatures on constructivism (in international relations) and historical institutionalism. For that purpose, I created notes on constructivism and hist. institutionalism that linked to my notes on all the papers and books that contribute to those literatures, making it easy to keep track of all the sources I use. (And, vice versa, when I go back to any one of those sources in a year or so, I have a link to the general theoretical summaries I created for this paper.)

I think that cross-linking is important for students, who tend to overlook that different classes often deal with similar issues. Learning how to cross-link may help students see that classes in, let's say, lit crit and political theory deal with similar questions and that material learned for one class may be useful for another.

(OK, WikidPad is not an online tool. But it doesn't take much space, so I have it on my flashdrive and run it from there. Almost like online, except that I can lose it...)