Evernote for Academics: Introduction

Evernote for Academics: Introduction

Evernote. This word has not become ubiquitous in our culture. Many of you have have heard of this app but I’m sure that most of you have the question, “where do I start” or “I’ve downloaded this but it just sits there on my computer”, or “I’ve tried it before but it just isn’t for me.” We’ve all been there, we hear of something that is supposed to be great but as soon as we step inside it becomes daunting and we don’t know where to begin. Take learning a language for example. We all know the benefits to learning a language: we can interact with more people, dive into literature that was once far off too us, and take advantage of the many cognitive benefits that research has shown when one knows multiple languages. Regardless of all these benefits the task of actually getting started is daunting. It is like walking into a dark room and you don’t know where to go but you know on the other side is a magnificient room full of all your favorite things. You need a guide, one who has been there before, to show you the ropes and give you direction. You need someone who has made the mistakes before so they can accurately and proficiently guide you.

Well, that is what I hope this series will be.

I’ve been using Evernote for several years now. I have my ups and downs. Some months I’m all on board using it and other times it just slips from me. But through this process I think that I have picked up helpful organizational strategies, tips, and shortcuts along the way. So I hope that you will join along for the ride.

So what is Evernote.

Evernote is a place to store all you digital clippings, notes, pdfs, thoughts, images, graphs, and more. That’s awesome.

But imagine if all those items mentioned above had physical properties and you just dumped them all in one place then that would be an absolute disaster. That’s why you need some type of organizational strategy. This is where Evernote excels.

Evernote is open enough to be as complex or open as you want/need it to be. They allow you to create notebooks, which basically works like a folder. Once you put something there that is the only place it resides. But Evernote allows allows tags. Tags allow you to categorize different items across different folders. This is a very simplistic explanation and we will cover it more in depth in another article.

So Evernote allows you to organize your stuff through notebooks (single location) and tags (multiple locations). But they also have a very powerful search engine that allows you to search within all your stuff to find what you need. When you want to find that quote by Thomas Edison just type in his name and you are bound to find it.

There’s a way to do it better - find it. - Thomas Edison

But what good would all this be if you didn’t have access when you wanted it. Another thing that makes Evernote so great is its ability to work on basically any device that you have on you. So if your Mac is at home but you carry around your Android phone and then you are at your parents house and all they have is an old computer…well you can access your stuff on ALL those locations. Yes, even at your parents house who is still using a 2004 Windows XP computer with a dial-up connection.

So not that you know all the great aspects of Evernote how does this work in your life. Well this blog series is going to be focused around using it in an academic setting but most of the principles, tips, and shortcuts can apply to a variety of areas of life. So if you are not an “academic” stay tuned because you will finds all kinds of useful things too.

Brian Renshaw is pursing a Masters of Divinity at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is currently a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, North American Patristics Society, and the Society of Biblical Literature. His research interests range from the Gospels, Catholic Epistles, history of interpretation, theological interpretation of Scripture, and discourse grammar. Regarding his involvement with the Center for Ancient Christian Studies, Brian serves as Director of Digital Production and is also on the editorial staff. Currently, he attends Sojourn East with his wife, Jen Renshaw. You can follow him on Twitter @renshaw330, he blogs at his personal website.