The hard drive to my laptop failed in late September. At that time I had used EverNote two times. Being without a primary computer, and pretty much spending 85% of my waking hours in the library, I tried the online version to see if it could keep up with my hectic, computer hopping lifestyle. It could not. Frequently moving between Mac and PC, laptop to desktop, I found the learning curve to be greater and the extra log-in less convenient than, what has become my absolute stand-by for any and all long-term projects: Google Drive.
Google Drive is bare bones file storage and basic file creation, but it allows users to create the infrastructure that they are most comfortable with and files that can be transferred and used with any Microsoft Office software.
I wanted to use video to tell the story of murder within Tammany Hall. This requires very specific and expensive software that was on my computer, so I spent most of the semester gathering material and researching the topic. Most of this was in the form of New York Tribune and New York Times articles found via the library’s ProQuest database. A lot of these articles went into Google Drive, however, some of them I just printed out and kept with me for quick reference. I find it much easier to flip through pages than I do to scan through PDFs. When it finally came time to include these in the exhibit, I needed only to do a quick keyword search and download the file in order to access it.
Admittedly, this is not the most centralized or organized approach in the world, but it is how I am accustomed to working and it seems to get the job done for me. It is difficult to find a single program or software that offers you every function and application necessary to do a research project. I think some programs are better suited to some functions than others. Because there are so many programs that do one function really well, I’m not sure it’s necessary, or even more convenient to have one program that does every function only so-so. I use Google Drive because I use many computers, but I also use the library databases as if they were personal hard drives because it’s easier to do a keyword search than it is to go through subfolder after subfolder to find a particular file.
I’m sure EverNote works well for a lot of people, but it didn’t fit with my particular methods for researching and creating a project. I think this is why we have so many different programs available – there is a person for every application and an application for every person. It’s just a matter of finding the one that fits.