I’m a part-time college student. As a result, I have to do research. I’m currently in a public speaking course where, for example, I have to give a persuasive speech. I have no idea what to write my speech on, but my wife did – drink more grape juice!
Some number of years ago I made a comment half in jest that I think purple grape juice is the answer to more health issues than most give it credit for. I say “half in jest” because I had no clue at the time about all of the research to that effect. The comment got some heavy laughs for one reason or another, and I stuck to my guns, which, to me, just made it funnier. This all started because, well, I just like grape juice.
So anyway, I have to do research on this now, and so I went to Google Scholar, searched for “purple grape juice”, and started clicking on stuff. Now I have choices:
I can bookmark every single one of these research papers about grape juice and how it stops brain rot and whatnot. Bookmarking, though, means going and making a folder for these bookmarks, bookmarking all of these things, and then when I have some downtime or a lunch break at work, I can’t look at any of this stuff because I’m doing the research on my workstation at home and I loathe synchronizing *anything* between home and work.
Another option is to use del.icio.us to bookmark them, and that’s great because I also use Flock, which uses del.icio.us as my bookmark organizer. Problem there, though, is that now people who go and see my del.icio.us collection see my weird obsession with grape juice, and 2 years from now I’m gonna think “why the hell do I have all of these grape juice links?”
There’s also the larger problem of bookmarking in general, which is that you have no real context to work with when you bookmark – you just have a bookmark. A link to a page. Great. What if the “page” is one of those really long ones with links off to other stuff and enormous amounts of text, like, say, a research study page? Well, you’ll have to sift through all of that every time to remember what tidbit you went there for.
There is, I think, a “perfect tool for the job” in my case, and it’s Google Notebook.
Google Notebook is a firefox extension and gmail component that puts a little notebook icon in the bottom right corner of my firefox window. I can manually click the icon to add a note, create a new notebook for another subject, or whatever, but what I normally do is use the highlight feature. I can highlight just the interesting paragraph from a research site, right-click on the highlighted portion, and choose “Note this”. Now, my Google Notebook will have the paragraph text, along with a link back to the page I got it from. Perfect!
Now, I can just do crazy-mad-guerrilla browsing for facts about my topic, add them to my Google Notebook, and when I go to organize my speech, I just open my “Juice” notebook, jot down the quote, and the link I need to reference the source is right there for me as well.
What’s more, because Notebook is integrated with my gmail account, I can view my notebook from any machine without syncing anything. And, when I’m done with my research, I can easily go and just completely delete my “Juice” notebook without disturbing my other notes. Pretty cool!
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