By far the greatest function in Evernote is its “Web Clipper.” This function works better than bookmarking because the saved website becomes dynamic and tag-able, while often my bookmarks languish in my Chrome browser. Particularly, I love the Simplified Article option. This makes the page more readable, and saves the text for later reading offline. I have particularly used this for class readings, which often include blogs and other web-generated articles. By using my Evernote iPad app, I can complete homework on my subway commute.
While Evernote’s functions are innumerable, I haven’t yet used it to its full capacity. Mostly, my Evernote notebook contains web clips for sources related research for my exhibit. Though my time using it for this class is waning, I am not yet ready to entirely give up on the program. I personally enjoy organizing my digital items hierarchically, and I haven’t properly employed the Tags function.
Because I don’t use tags to organize the items in Evernote, I find the look of all the files together too cluttered. I’ve always stuck by the adage that a cluttered desk leads to a cluttered mind, and my computer often reflects that. I prefer using folders to organize my files, and I believe that Evernote’s lack of folders is its greatest weakness. I also think that some of their features tend to be more dazzling than pragmatic. I personally find that geo-tracking my note-taking a bit worthless, and also a bit creepy.
When I was an undergrad, I used the program “Papers” to organize research for my thesis. I would upload digital files of primary resources, and I also organized my notes on secondary sources in the program as well. It was fairly similar to Evernote, but I appreciated the organizational flexibility that is less intuitive on Evernote. However, Papers is a proprietary programs that costs a steep $79 to purchase and install. Evernote’s free access is a great advantage.
After a bit of guidance from other Evernote users, I’ve realized that many of my complaints could be rectified. By creating a number of “notebooks” for different classes or subjects, I could delineate between the different files I store. As I begin research and writing on my capstone project next semester, I believe that Evernote could become an invaluable tool. As I move further, I may try and experiment with tags to see if they can be of any use to my personal and academic work.
In general, I appreciate Evernote’s flexibility and universality; however, I am not sure I use it to its full advantage. I have it installed on my computer, on Chrome, on my iPhone, and on my iPad, but I rarely use it on anything but my iPad. To fully appreciate Evernote’s worth, I am going to need to dramatically alter my current research and note-taking habits. This shift could be to my advantage, but it would be a difficult transition to make.