04 June 2014

NGS 2014 Family History Conference – Session T211 – Adding Evernote to Your Genealogy Toolbox

Another in the series on sessions I attended at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference.

T210 (R) Adding Evernote to Your Genealogy Toolbox, Julie Miller, CG, Syllabus page 143

Whereas I immediately fell in love with Dropbox the first time I played with it, I have had a more love/hate relationship with Evernote.  I had downloaded it to my laptop, I had installed the free Web clipper in Google Chrome and then I stalled ... Everyone says what a great program it is and how they can’t live without it.  I, on the other hand, hadn’t figured out how to live with it and living without it was working out just fine.

I am partially to blame for that, I never did fully “Explore Evernote in Five Steps” as the software implores me to do.  Even if I had done that, and learned how to create a note and notebook, etc, what I hadn’t really appreciated were some of the following:
1. The use of stacks!  Notes and notebooks did not provide me with enough organizational levels to handle client projects along with personal needs.  Once I learned about stacks from Julie, for the first time I could now think of how I could organize the information to suit my needs – with a bit of a hierarchy.
2. The value of tags. 
3. Web Clipper.  Though this was discussed and I could appreciate its value (once I determined on my own that when you do “clip” something from the web, you will get the URL, title and a date stamp (the basics needed to cite the found information as a source)), my attention was really caught when Lisa Louise Cooke (T219) mentioned that newspaper articles that are clipped this way get OCR’d and become searchable. Ah ha – being able to clip newspaper articles/pages and be able to search on them has great appeal to me.

I have now committed to myself (and publicly to you via this blog post) that I will make a concerted effort to make Evernote a tool in my genealogy research arsenal.  Besides the benefit of acquiring online information with source information attached (and that you can do real time annotations, note taking, etc), I can now also visualize how it will help me as I explore finding aids for offline material – in a few steps I can save a finding aid as a note, write notes on what project it’s for, mark-up the finding aid to highlight what I need to request, and then visit the repository with electronic notes in hand! 

The associated syllabus pages give you a nice overview of why genealogists should consider using Evernote, how to get started with it and some of the neat and useful features of it.

Editor’s Note: This series is not presented in any particular order.

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