Links Roundup #26

saddle and ropeCitation Management

Make Research Easier with These Five Tools is an article on Information Today by Brandi Scardilli that discusses five tools that are mainly for managing references.  Tools mentioned are EndNote, Flow, Mendeley, Paperpile, and Readcube.  The discussion of each tool is nicely organized, offering a description, the parent company, tagline, mobile apps, social media, features, customers, what’s new, and what’s next.

Stay up to date with Mendeley with their Twitter account for Tips.

Evernote/OneNote/Note-taking Software

Crystal alerted me about a great post and video by James Dvorak on using Evernote with an article-indexing database.  It uses an Ebsco database as an example, but the technique (sending a bibliographic record to your Evernote email account) could be used with many article databases, including a lot of library catalogs.

Crystal and I posted the slides for our presentation on using Evernote for research and outreach previously.  We did not post, though, the handout we used and to which we have since added.  Now we have. ;-).

Evernote is rolling out a feature called Work Chat.  You can see the faces of those with whom you share notes or notebooks, and are able to open a chat within the program.  It is accessible on all versions of Evernote and does not mention being a Premium or Business-only feature.  More information is available.

Evernote’s iOS-only Penultimate handwriting app has a new version with a number of useful features like infinite pages, a de-cluttered writing area, different themes, and better support for the Jotscript Evernote edition stylus.  I do hope they come out with an Android version!

Google

Google Calendar Now Adds and Updates Events for You Based on Gmail is a post by Alan Henry on Lifehacker about the new features.  Of most interest is the feature mentioned in the title.  The example they use is that if you get concert tickets or plane flight confirmations in your email, it will add the events automatically to your calendar. Post includes a video.

With Inbox, Google Dares to be Different is an article on CNET by Stephen Shankland, discussing the new interface for mail that shakes up the traditional way of viewing email in an attempt to make the flood easier to deal with.  Article covers features and links to other resources.

Add-ons for Forms Brings a Little Something Extra to Your Surveys is a post by Google about new flexibility in their tool for creating surveys.  Add-ons are created by third-party developers and the ones available do things like close the survey after a certain number of responses or on a specified date.

 Instruction Software

Three Nice Online Tools for Building Jeopardy-Style Review Games is an article from Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne.  A lot of librarians as well as other instructors use these as a more interesting teaching tool. The tools are eQuizShow, Jeopardy Rocks, and FlipQuiz.

IFTTT

IFTTT, the task automation software, now has a channel and suggested recipes for Todoist, one of the most commonly-used to-do apps.

IFTTT now also has a channel called Followup.cc, “A simple & powerful email tool. Use timed email to schedule reminders, follow up with leads and ensure emails are not ignored. eg. 1day@followup.cc“.  Lifehacker has an article with a few more details.

Mobile Apps

Nicole Hennig is teaching an online course Apps for Librarians and Educators.  It is a 5 week course with a self-paced option available.  The course runs February 2 through March 6, 2015.  While we generally focus on freely available materials, the course is not free.  However, Hennig is extremely knowledgeable about this topic.  I plan on taking the course and am looking forward to it.  ALA members get a discount.

Hennig also has an interesting post Why You Don’t Need to Stick with One Mobile Platform:  50 Best Apps for Multi-Platform Productivity.  It mentions a number of apps available for both iOS and Android, including a few I’ve wished were available and now are.  One example is iAnnotate.  Being an Android user, I do get frustrated because it seems that almost all of the people I follow who write about apps/programs for academic use are Mac/iOS users, so I rarely see reviews of equivalent Android apps.  So this article is much appreciated!

Office Productivity Software

2014 Top Desktop Office Software Suites Comparison Chart is another excellent article by Cindy Grigg, the About.com office software expert.  The article compares Microsoft Office 2013, Office 365, LibreOffice, Open Office, iWork 2013, and Kingsoft Office 2013 in many categories.  She has also done more detailed reviews of all of these, plus some reviews of associated apps.

Grigg has also done a 2014 Top Online Office Software Suite Apps Comparison Chart.  The article compares Microsoft Office Online, Google Apps, iWork for iCloud, ThinkFree Online, and Zoho Docs Online.  In addition, Grigg has separate articles reviewing 40 features of Thinkfree, Zoho Docs, and iWork.

PDF Management/Highlights

Grabbing Quotes from Journal Articles with Highlights App for Mac is an article from Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog.  She describes the Highlights app which can extract your highlights, add metadata for the article if it has a DOI, save as (editable) HTML or Markdown, and the result can be exported to Evernote, DEVONthink, or another text editor.  Sounds like a great piece of technology for academics.

Manage Research Papers on the Go with Papership is a post from Dr. Alex Hope on the Dr Sustainable blog.  Papership is an iOS app that makes reading and annotating papers with an iPad or iPhone easy.  There is a free version, but the author recommends the $ 9.99 version as having excellent annotation tools.  Found via Nicole Hennig in her email newsletter – and thanks, Ms. Hennig, for the shout out about our blog!

Podcast of Interest

Back to Work is “an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.” Available on the web, by RSS feed, and from iTunes.  It was recommended in a post in Profhacker.

Presentations

Kensington’s PresentAir Pro A Laser Pointer on Steroids for Mobile Presenters is an article about this product shipping as of November.  It is a Bluetooth device, so doesn’t require a USB port, and besides serving as a laser pointer also controls the volume, playlist, and controlling video clips.

Project Management

Using Scrivener to Project Manage Your Thesis is a post by Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog.  It has some good tips on Scrivener features to keep track of things to do and the status of tasks while writing a thesis in Scrivener.

Research Tools

6 Tools to Make Archival Research More Efficient is a Gradhacker post by Emily VanBuren aimed at graduate students who do a lot of research in archives.  The tools include apps to manage finding aids, a good camera, a wireless SD card, a table grip for mounting the camera so it is stable, a remote control, and scanner apps.  I particularly like the idea of the app she mentions for a scanning app, PDFpenScan+, which runs OCR on the scanned documents and turn them into searchable PDFs (iOS only, PDF Scanner looks like it performs the same functions on Android).

Web Design

Canva introduces their Design School, “a new platform, workshop series and teacher resource hub designed to increase the world’s visual literacy.” It is a 30 part series of interactive tutorials on such topics as branding, fonts, layouts, and images.

Writing

Optimizing Microsoft Word for Academic Writing by Landon Schnabel in Social Work Helper has interesting tips with which I was unfamiliar, such as turning on more proofing options, using field codes, and more.

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Links Roundup #25

saddle and ropeCitation/Reference/Bibliographic Management

We have mentioned ReadCube before, which adds some interesting tools for managing PDFs for research, including things like turning references into live links where possible.  They have a PDF on the features of the software, including its Word-compatible citation tool, and a comparison chart with its features compared with EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, and Papers.  It is a great chart, though I would always take such with a grain of salt for two reasons (1) any chart produced by one software is likely to have some bias; and (2) the features of this type of software change all the time.

Cloud Storage

Wappwolf has three products that work similarly to IFTTT, but on a more limited basis.  They connect your cloud storage (Dropbox or Google Drive or Box) to other web services such as Facebook, Flickr, or Evernote.  The range of actions for documents, audio, images, etc. is amazing.  Scroll down on each page to see the list of actions.

Content Curation

Nicole Hennig, who is just da bomb on apps for learning, has a Pinterest board Content Curation with Mobile Apps.  She has a website, Best Sites for Academics, and an ebook Apps for Librarians, and you can sign up for her email newsletter.

Content Curation Survey 2014 by Christian Puricelli is a slideshow illustrating the answers to a survey.  He got results from 282 content curators.

Digital Pens

Here is a pen to watch for, the N2 which has a kickstarter campaign in Australia.  It looks like it can do much that the Livescribe pen (the market leader in digital pens) can do, but it doesn’t need special paper.  Caveats include:  when will it be available, will it be available outside of Australia and how soon, price, and a better comparison of features to Livescribe.

Educational Technology

The Dawn of the Digital Classroom is a post by Jared Carrizales, of Mighty Skins (which produces skins for electronic devices).  The post provides an infographic that summarizes the positive views both college students and faculty have towards electronics, with students having almost seven devices each!  More importantly, both faculty and students have positive views of the value of online learning.

Evernote/OneNote/Note-Taking Software

Evernote Lovers: Now You Can Create an Email Newsletter in Evernote is an article by Kira M. Newman in Tech Cocktail (an email newsletter for startups) discussing an email marketing tool created by Mastodon which works within Evernote.  The article has screenshots of how to create and send the newsletter.  The service uses a freemium model, with the paid version costing between $ 10-$ 35 a month.

The New, Beautiful Evernote Web is a blog post from the company’s official blog (by Andrew Sinkov) about the new interface designed to be simpler and less cluttered.

Evernote has also announced a premium feature called Context, which searches for related information from your notes, from selected external sources, and, for Evernote Business users, notes from your team.

Garth Scaysbrook is an author who writes a lot about Evernote (see a short review of his Evernote book).  His blog has a number of useful short tips, amply illustrated with screen shots.  Two useful examples are Evernote: How to Search Within a Note and Evernote Quick Tip: Insert Date and Time.  Another useful quick tip is Navigate Notes Back and Forward Shortcut.

Create Watch Folders to Easily Store Files in Your Evernote Account is a post in Lifehacker by Tori Reid.  It discusses a VERY important new feature in Evernote for Windows – you can create a folder in Windows, then click on “Import Folder” in the tools menu in Evernote.  Now everything you add to that folder will be automatically added to Evernote in whatever notebook you specify.  This can be a huge help, especially for academic researchers.  Article mentions there is a Mac script that can do the same thing.  The Lifehacer article links to the official Evernote blog post with step-by-step instructions.

I have included many posts from Evernote’s Going Paperless Ambassador, Jamie Todd Rubin, in these link roundups.  Sadly he will not be posting these on a regular basis anymore.  He will, however, still post occasionally.  For now, he has a post that serves as a table of contents for his posts on how to organize Evernote.  He also has a post that serves as a TOC for his posts on searching Evernote.  The third in this series is his roundup posts on productivity tips using Evernote.

Using Evernote in the Classroom is a recent Profhacker post that doesn’t itself have much new, but links to a couple of other resources including Raul Pacheco-Vega’s public notebook of using Evernote in academia.

Why Evernote is Amazing: A Collection of Articles, Blog Posts, Tutorials, and Ideas for Making Evernote Your Best Friend Ever is a board in Storify that is just what it says.  ;-).  Good collection, though would like the date to have shown on the list.  Categories are Why You Should Consider Using Evernote; Video Overview of What Evernote Can Do; Basic Beginner’s Guides; Moving Beyond the Basics; Ideas for Using Evernote; Evernote for School and Research; and For Advanced Users.

 Goals/Habit Tracking

Building Habits and Routines is a Profhacker post by Anastasia Salter.  She discusses how easy it is to lose track of these at the beginning of a semester, and mentions the app she is currently using to track them is Way of Life(iOS only).  I looked on the Google Play store, and there are a number of Android apps that do something similar, like Habit Bull.

Learning Tools

Huzzah!  The new Top 100 Tools for Learning is now available!  The annual survey has been around since 2007, compiled by the excellent Jane Hart.

Productivity

The Projecteze System Keeps You Productive With Just a Word Processor by is a Lifehacker post by Mihir Patkar on creating a 4 column table in Word or Google Docs, for example, with columns for project name, due date, priority, and action items.

Scanning

Scanbot is an app for iOS and Android that does crisp scans, multiple page scans, recognizes QR codes and barcodes, allows annotating PDFs including uploading your signature, automatic uploading to a variety of cloud services including Dropbox and Evernote, and more.

Twitter

How to Save Tweets to Evernote is another useful post from Catherine Pope in The Digital Researcher blog.  She describes two different methods for the task.  Many academics use Twitter to create communities discussing research.  Pope, by the way, has ebooks available on using Scrivener for research (see below), both Mac and Windows editions, using Evernote for research (Windows and Mac), and using Zotero to manage references.

Writing

Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned by Writing Every Day in June is a Profhacker article by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson that is described by its title.  Good tips for those who want to get in the habit of writing regularly.

How to Create a Content Brainstorming Dashboard to Keep Ideas Coming is an excellent article by Ann Smarty in Small Business Trends.  First mentions a couple of apps (I just use Evernote and keep a bin list), but then a number of techniques.  One I like is to step away from a project for a time… when I am writing a blog post, I first do the research, then don’t look at it again for a day or so.  When I come back to it, usually the organization of the writing of the post has suggested itself to my mind.

How to Write Your Thesis with Scrivener is an ebook written by Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog.  I have been so impressed with her writing and organization, so I expect this is a really good book.  The first link is for the Windows version, and she also has a Mac version.  Both are available as Kindle versions for $ 4.99.  Scrivener is a popular writing tool for academics.

 

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Discipline-specific Tools: Science: Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs)

ScienceScientists have been recording data for millennia (Bird, 2013).  Since science became more formal in the 17th century, more and more data has been produced, and tools grow ever more sophisticated.  There are still some who think that if a paper notebook that records the progress of an experiment was good enough for Sir Isaac Newton, it must be good enough for me!

There are still advantages to paper.  It is cheap, extremely portable, and if a spill destroys it, it isn’t hard to replace.  If it is lost or destroyed, however, then that experiment is (sometimes literally) up in smoke.  So as computers progressed, the idea of keeping experimental data online was born, and took hold first in the 1990s.  Now there are many products, at all levels of sophistication.  They range from free to highly expensive, and are designed for corporate or academic labs or individuals.  There are versions for all operating systems, browsers, and, in this second decade of the 21st century, there are also versions for tablets.  ELNs may be specific to one discipline, such as chemistry or biology, or more general.  The more sophisticated ones may be required to meet regulatory requirements for the FDA, or to be able to meet requirements to protect intellectual property.

Notebook Software

As will be no surprise to readers of this blog, we take particular note of note-taking software.  A number of academic researchers use Evernote or OneNote as their ELN.  Their availability on a wide variety of platforms, features that include robust search capabilities, ability to add many formats including audio and graphics, and more, make them the choice of many.  As a devotee of Evernote, I somewhat reluctantly admit that for this purpose I suspect OneNote, with its infinite levels of hierarchy, might be best.  Resources discussing each are below.  Since note-taking software is tablet-friendly, some researchers pop their iPad in a plastic bag to prevent damage from spills, and type away.  Others use Evernote with the Livescribe digital pen or the Penultimate handwriting app.  Similarly, some use Google Docs or a wiki to keep track of their information and to share between a small group of collaborators.

Other Software

However, while this software may work for some, especially academic labs where resources are short, such software lacks many desirable features of ELNs.  There was a short-lived organization, the Collaborative Electronic Notebook Systems Association (CENSA).  It developed a definition of an ELN:

CENSA define[d] an ELN as, “a system to create, store, retrieve and share fully electronic records in ways that meet all legal, regulatory, technical and scientific requirements.” (Rubacha, 2011)

 

Notebook and docs software don’t meet this definition.  Corporations were early ELN adopters and had to meet strict requirements for their data, some of it imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (pharmaceutical companies were one of the leaders in this field).  Other restrictions came from the process for patenting the results of the experiments.  Many the competitors in the field starting adding features to meet these requirements as well as other desirable features such as the ability to directly upload readings from scientific instruments.

 

Currently the ELN market is thriving, with a product available to meet almost any need.  Academics have not caught up to corporations yet in this area.  Specific labs may have an ELN, and it is increasingly necessary to keep track of the work done by everyone in the lab. This is especially true of work of labs with high personnel turnover, such as academic labs where much of the research is done by graduate students or postdocs who will be moving on to jobs elsewhere.  Labs have to have a mechanism to retain their information.  Standardization across a campus might become the norm if institutional licenses become more common.

 

As a disclaimer, I must mention that I have never done science in a laboratory, so am not qualified to make recommendations about the best ELNs to use.  My purpose in this, as with the other posts in the discipline-specific tools series, is to suggest resources for finding information from the experts in a field.  Below you will find a list of resources that may be of help.  Unfortunately I did not find one source that lists all the software AND reviews it.  If you know of such a resource please mention it in the comments!

 

The Best of the Best:

Bird, C. L., Willoughby, D, and Frey, J. G. (2013).  Laboratory Notebooks in the Digital Era: the Role of ELNs in Record Keeping for Chemistry and Other Sciences.  Chemical Society Reviews, 42, 8157-8175.  DOI: 10.1039/C3CS60122F.  Open access article with excellent explanation of ELNs and an equally good and extensive literature review.

LiMSwiki.org.  Electronic Laboratory Notebook.  Last updated August 2014.  LiMS stands for Laboratory Information Management Systems, of which ELNs are a part.  Article gives good background on ELNs (better than the Wikipedia article).

LiMSwiki.org.  ELN Vendor Page.  Page lists active vendors first (about 60 of them), then inactive vendors.  The name of the vendor, their main product(s), home country, and notes (mostly mergers and acquisitions) are provided.  Last updated October 2014.

Rubacha, M., Rattan, A. K., and Hosselet, S.C. (2011).  A Review of Electronic Laboratory Notebooks Available in the Market Today.  Journal of Laboratory Automation, v. 16 (1), 90-98. Reviews over 20 ELNs according to CENSA definition.  Organization is by categories:  R&D,  Biology/Chemistry,  Quality control/Assessment or Multidisciplinary.  Reviews include awards if any,  most important features,  link to company website.   No pricing information.  The Journal of Laboratory Automation has had numerous articles with ELNs as the main or subsidiary topic, and its articles become open access after two years.

Notebook Software Sources:

Bedford, E. (2013).  Electronic Lab Notebooks.  Gradhacker, August 22, 2013.  Primarily discusses Evernote, with links to LabGuru, iLabber (now Accelrys Notebook Cloud), and the PerkinElmer E-Notebook product.  Also discusses the Livescribe pen and the advantages of tablet computers.

Crockett, C. (2013).  Evernote for Scientists: Mastering the Electronic Lab Notebook.  Astrobetter, June 24, 2013.  Reports on a discussion on the Astronomers Facebook page about using Evernote as an ELN, and the features they most liked for the purpose.

Hayes, Melissa.  Electronic Lab Notebooks.  The Postdoc Experience, Nov., 19th, 2012.  Discusses using OneNote, with print backups.

Polka, J. (2014).  Exotic Electronic Lab Notebooks.  ACSB Post.  The author uses OneNote, but passes on recommendations from others about a variety of products, some specifically ELN and some not.  Products mentioned are Circus Ponies (Mac product similar to OneNote), Curio (Mac, notebook software, includes mind mapping), Hivebench (Mac or browser, ELN, specialized for biologists), LabArchives (browser, iOS and Android apps, lots of ELN features), VoodooPad (Mac OS, wiki with many features including publishing to ePub or PDF, Markdown language, Javascript, and more), and LyX (graphical editor for TeX/LaTex).

Research Guides:

ELNs Electronic Laboratory Notebooks – guide from Daureen Nesbill, University of Utah.  Home page with definition, pages on selecting an ELN, Lists of ELNs, and implementation at other institutions.  Last updated August 2013.

Electronic Lab Notebooks at Yale – this guide is an example of a campus that has chosen one product for the campus as a whole (LibArchives, in this case).  The guide defines an ELN and discusses some features of LibArchives.

Selected Articles on Other ELNs:

Giles, J. (2012).  Going Paperless: The Digital Lab.  Nature, v. 481 (7382), News feature.  General discussion of ELNs, with some specific mention of LabGuru, iLabber, and Syapse.

King, A. (2013).  Notebooks Go Digital.  ChemistryWorld, May 22, 2013.  Discusses ELNs in particular and their expansion from just data capture but also data analysis and visualization.  Companies with ELNs mentioned are Accelrys/Contur, IDBS, CambridgeSoft, and other players.

MacNeil, R. The Electronic Lab Notebook Blog.  No longer active, but had a variety of articles on the topic.  MacNeil is CEO of company that produces the ELN eCAT.

SelectScience.  Electronic Laboratory Notebooks.  SelectScience bills itself as “trusted information for laboratory scientists”.  The ELN page has information on eleven products with a link to request pricing, and a link to the ELN producers website.

 

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The Courageous Decision to Show Your Work


The only way to find your voice is to use it.
—Austin Kleon

The hardest decisions we face are the ones that can’t be made without you — in other words, the important stuff that often doesn’t feel urgent.

The Courageous Decision to Show Your Work

Like taking your spouse out to dinner for no reason at all. Or showing that coworker how much you appreciate her. Even deciding to hit “publish” on a blog post.

They’re the decisions that if you don’t make them no one notices but you. It’s the choice to leave your job when you think it’s time, despite the fact that everyone says you do great work. It’s the choice to launch an important project when there is plenty of email to answer.

These are the decisions that shape us, that shape our world and affect our future. They’re not easy decisions to make, but they are important.

The better of two goods

Often, it might feel like choosing between two pretty good options. But in your heart you know which one is right. The life of an artist is full of moments like this. Moments where the only wrong choice is to not move forward, to stagnate.

I can’t say what this means for you. For me, it means hanging onto a project far longer than I should. It means starting something (or finishing it) before I feel ready. It’s learning to trust my gut, obey my instinct, and listen to the spirit inside that says, “It’s time.”

One of the most important decisions I made happened three years ago. It was the decision to start calling myself a writer. When I did this, all kinds of crazy things started happening. The most amazing one was this: I finally began to believe I was a writer.

And as a result, I began to act like it, publishing and sharing my work.

Eventually, the world started to take notice. Publishers, agents, and editors were now asking me to write. Instead of me going to them, the gatekeepers were showing up at my doorstep, which was, admittedly, weird. But I’ve learned to embrace the lesson in this experience.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “Nothing works until you do.”

Daily decisions make a difference

Now, the biggest decisions I face on a daily basis involve when to release my work to the world.

For example, I’ve been finishing up the manuscript for my next book, which in many ways feels like the most important thing I’ve ever written. But I’m beyond petrified of finishing it. Which is what makes me confident I need to do it.

When you begin to feel that fear of inadequacy, knowing you’ve done the work and simply sat on your behind, this is a telltale sign that it’s time to ship. To let go. To turn the work in and move on to the next project.

I’m thankful for this hesitation, the thing that causes me to deliberate over something until it’s as close to perfect as I can make it. But at the same time, I kind of hate it. It’s paralyzing.

So without thinking, I close my eyes and hit send on the email or “publish” that blog post and let go of my work which will never be totally finished.

Often, I have no idea if it’s going to move people or flop. But that’s not my call to make. What’s mine to do, and perhaps yours as well, is to do the work and accept the outcome. Quality comes with time.

Your job is to trust the process and keep showing up.

Note: If you’ve ever wondered what this looks like practically or what you can do to put your work out in the world, I recommend starting a blog. Next week, I’ll be sharing something that will help you take all the hassle out of blogging so that you can get your message heard. Stay tuned!

What courageous decision to share your work can you make today? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

Finally, A Portable Charger That Allows You To Charge Anything Anywhere

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These days, running out of power is a real concern due to our reliance on electronics. No power means no calls, messages, and emails. It also means you can’t work or do your assignments. Now there’s a device that you can carry around that can supply power to your gadgets and tools anywhere, anytime.

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ChargeAll is a power bank for all your electronics. It has both a USB port and an outlet. You don’t need an adaptor or a converter; you can plug your devices in directly!

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This device is extremely portable. It can fit in large pockets and small bags. It’s also incredibly light. You won’t even notice that you’re carrying around something so powerful.

werwe

ChargeAll comes in two sizes, one for general use, and the other for heavy use. Prices start at $ 139, which is the early bird special from the company’s Indiegogo campaign (link below).

ChargeAll – World’s Smallest Portable Power Outlet | Indiegogo

The post Finally, A Portable Charger That Allows You To Charge Anything Anywhere appeared first on Lifehack.


Lifehack

Links Roundup #24

saddle and ropeApps for Students

A previous roundup mentioned Lifehacker‘s annual series of posts on the best current apps/software for different operating system.  Now they have published editions of best apps/software for college students, for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone.

Blog/Website of Interest

Faculty Focus is a website on higher ed teaching strategies.  It now has a column called App of the Week:

App of the Week is a new feature here on Faculty Focus written by Dave Yearwood, PhD, associate professor and chair of the technology department at the University of North Dakota. Dave is an avid collector of apps and is always on the lookout for new ones that can improve student learning or simply make academic life more organized, productive and fun. Through this column, he’ll provide tips for getting started, app reviews, best practices, sneak peeks, and more. Reviews from guest contributors are welcome as well.

 

One of our favorite blogs, Gradhacker, has moved and is now available from the Inside Higher Ed site.   The new URL for it is https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker.

Citation/Reference/Bibliographic Management

The Evernote blog mentioned an app called RefMe, which can read the barcode of a book and create a citation for it.  It is available for Android and iPhone.  There is also a web version, through which you can manually add citations, or search for a book or journal article and it will fill in any information it finds.  The web page has a paucity of information, it needs more thorough explanations of features, but looks like it works with a variety of document formats and citation styles (though it may be that the free version has eight styles, while the premium has thousands).  The document formats is impressive – includes types such as artwork and interviews, as well as more common ones.  It also integrates with Evernote, Gmail, and Microsoft Word.  Like most apps these days it syncs in the cloud.

Importing PDFs into Zotero is a recent post by Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog.  Excellent instructions including screenshots.

Educational Technology

In this blog, we do tend to prioritize discussing productivity tools that are freely available.  But now and again other tools are worth mentioning.  If you campus has access to lynda.com, they have a category of tutorials for education, and it includes what looks like a number of useful videos.  There is one on writing a research paper (haven’t looked at it, but have high hopes for it), plus ones on Google Apps for students, visual teaching techniques, flipping the classroom, and many many more.

Top Ten Educational Tools, by our friend Bonni Stachowiak, is an annotated list of tools useful for higher education faculty.  Her list does not overlap much with other lists I have seen.  Bonni’s post are always well organized, thoughtful, and infused with her warm personality.  Tools mentioned are Tapes, Zotero, Heads Up (which sounds like a good game to play with friends, as well as having educational uses), Poll Everywhere, Drafts, TimeTrade,  Attendance2, Planbook,  iAnnotate, and the Livescribe Pen.   Be sure to read Bonni’s post for her reasons for choosing these tools.

Email

In 6 Tips and Tricks for How I Stay at Inbox Zero, Jamie Todd Rubin discusses tips and tools that help him manage his email quicker and smarter.

10 Killer Ways to Tackle Your Email Inbox gives some useful tips and tricks for reducing the time you spend on email… which makes it timely.  ;-).

Evernote/OneNote/Note-taking Software

In a previous links roundup I mentioned an article on how to export your Kindle highlights and notes to Evernote, but this article Kindle + Evernote = [heart symbol] goes much more in-depth and includes annotated screen shots.  The article is on Tim Challies’s blog.

8 Evernote Tips for Book Nerds is an article on Ebook Friendly by Piotr Kowalczyk.  It has some nice tips, like taking pictures of a stack of print books, or a set of pictures of a bookcase (the spines must be readable).  Evernote will make the text it can OCR so that you can search on the titles.  That and some of the other tips might be useful for researchers.

Evernote: How to Annotate Your PDFs is a post by Garth Scaysbrook, who wrote a small book that was a good introduction to Evernote.

Cindy Grigg, About.com’s Office Software guide, has published several posts on tips and tricks for Evernote.  They are 10 Tips and Tricks to Customize the Evernote User Interace, 17 Tips and Tricks for Sharing and Collaborating with Evernote, 10 Basic Tips and Tricks for Evernote, 15 Intermediate Tips and Tricks for Evernote, and 15 Advanced Tips and Tricks in Evernote.  An earlier links roundup mentioned her wonderful article Comparison Chart of Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Keep, which also links to more complete reviews of Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.

Graphics

11 Tools to Create Awesome Images for Social Media is a post by Leslie Walker, who is the social media expert for About.com.  The tools can be used for other purposes than social media.

Instruction Recorder

Georgia State University has released as open source a WordPress app Library Instruction Recorder (LIR).  If those of you who are instruction librarians don’t already have a system for keeping track of sessions offered and statistics about the sessions, this might be a nice option.

PDF Management

Readcube has been a desktop application that improves readability of PDFs by adding links to article references where it can, allows you to find altmetrics for the article, add notes and highligts to the PDF, and more.  Now there is a web version available.

Productivity

Best Productivity Books is a Lifehacker post by Melanie Pinola that provides and annotated list of some books and is open for others to add more.

To-Do Lists

Any.do for Android Now Lets You Attach Files to Your To-Do List Items is an article by Paul Sawyers in TNW.  The article discusses this new feature in the Android version, and mentions that some other to-do list apps such as Wunderlist offer a similar feature.

Twitter

In What Twitter Changes Might Mean to Academics, Anastasia Salter‘s Profhacker post discusses that Twitter users are less active than previously and so Twitter is considering changes to its algorithm that might negatively impact the features most useful to academic discourse.

Windows

Microsoft Fix It Solution Center is a review of the Microsoft site by Bob Rankin.  Looks like a useful page, though as he points out, it falls down in a few areas.  Give it a try when having troubl with Microsoft products.

WordPress

Here’s How to Be the Worst WordPress Designer on the Planet (In 8 Steps or Less) is a really really tongue-in-cheek post by Karol K. in the CodeinWP blog.  The one that resonated with me is the use of flat design which I just hate – I have mild cataracts and I just can’t see flat design elements well at all.

The post Links Roundup #24 appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.

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Why I Will Never Use Microsoft Word Again

I wasted years of my life doing all my writing on Microsoft Word. But that’s all over now. I have finally seen the light.

MicrosoftWord_1 After hearing so many writers I respect (people like Michael Hyatt and Andy Traub) talk about the magic of Scrivener, a word processor designed for serious writing projects, I decided to give it a go.

I had no idea what I was missing.

What’s so bad about Microsoft Word?

First things first. Here’s my beef with MS Word:

  • It’s complicated. I find the auto-indents and instant formatting cumbersome and frustrating. And yes, you can turn this stuff off, but navigating a plethora of menus is anything but easy.
  • It crashes. Like, all the time. I thought this was just me until I heard from other writers who struggle with this, too. Word will just randomly crash on you and unless you’re saving every seven seconds, you’re likely to lose some of your work. I have lost more than a few chapters of my books thanks to this feature.
  • It’s irrelevant. Those who swear by Word tell me they love the robust features like being able to add footnotes and chapter links and the like. Yes, that’s cool, but the problem with these features is that they’re pointless for authors. Any fancy formatting that Word lets you do doesn’t register with most typesetting software (subheads, bulleted lists, and endnotes/footnotes all have to be marked up manually and then designed by a book designer). So who cares?
  • It’s ugly. This may not be a big deal to you, but I like using beautiful, simple tools. They inspire me. And every time I open up Word, I feel like I’m making my life as a writer way more complicated than it needs to be.

What I really want when I write

As a writer, I basically just want to write.

I don’t want to have to worry too much about making sure the tools work right or having to fix some funky formatting because of an invisible rule that Word set up because it “intelligently” thought I was doing something that I wasn’t. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.

By no means am I an accomplished technologist, but I know my way around a computer and can figure a lot of things out. And I know for a fact, I have wasted days of my life trying to fix something that Microsoft Word messed up, just trying to get the text back to normal.

But what’s a writer to do? For the longest time, I thought the answer was just “grin and bear it.”

Well, not anymore.

Enter Scrivener…

As soon as I opened up Scrivener, I was amazed at how much easier it was than Word. Yes, it’s a robust program, full of features I know I haven’t taken full advantage of (more on that in a minute), but immediately I made a vow to myself.

“I will never use Microsoft Word again,” I said to myself after writing my first piece on Scrivener.

I just finished my last book, The Art of Work, and wrote the entire thing on Scrivener.

Guess what didn’t happen while writing book? I never lost a chapter due to the program crashing. I never screamed at the computer for forcing an indent I didn’t actually want.

It just worked.

Why I love Scrivener

Here are a few reasons why I love this program and recommend it to any writer:

  • It’s affordable. At most, it’ll cost you $ 45 ($ 40 for PC). Compare that to Word’s $ 139 price point, and it’s a no-brainer (consider Scrivener is way better and much more writer-friendly). Find out more here.
  • It’s simple. Unlike MS Word, there’s a distraction-free mode that allows you to just write and not worry about anything else. If you’re a Mac user, it’s similar to what Pages allows you to do (but better).
  • It’s easy to use. One of my favorite features of Scrivener is how you can create small mini-documents (called “texts”) and drag and drop them in whatever order you want. This is essential for me when writing a book, as I am writing it piece-by-piece and often moving chunks around. In Word, you have to copy, scroll, and paste. It’s not very efficient or easy. This is my favorite feature of Scrivener.
  • It’s ideal for authors. You can export your work to any digital book version, which allows you to publish directly to Amazon, B&N, or wherever without having to hire a designer (which can easily cost you $ 500 just to format the book). That feature alone is worth the cost of the software.
  • It’s multifaceted. Scrivener comes with templates that allow you to write for whatever form or style you prefer (screenwriting, novel, nonfiction book, etc.). I have even heard of people like Michael Hyatt using it for blogging. The possibilities are endless, but honestly I am just beginning to learn all the potential uses for this tool.

So what does this mean for you?

I think if you’re happy with MS Word, by all means keep using it. As for me, I’m done with it. It just doesn’t compete with Scrivener. And finally, after years of feeling frustrated, I’m able to write without worrying about anything else.

If, however, you’re looking for something to make your writing life easier, something that will help you be more creative and product, I recommend you do the following:

  1. Go grab a copy of Scrivener. It really is a steal for the value you get. There’s even a free trial version of it. Check it out here. Use the coupon code “selfpublishing” during checkout to receive $ 9 off.
  2. Sign up for my upcoming webinar. This Wednesday, my friend Joseph Michael will be sharing how to use Scrivener to its fullest potential (there are some advanced features that I admittedly don’t know much about and am excited to learn from the Scrivener Coach himself).

Whatever you do, I hope you don’t spend as much time as I did feeling frustrated, just trying to get your words out into the world. You deserve a tool that helps you get the job done. I’d love to hear more from you in the comments about what tools you use to get your writing done.

Do you like using MS Word? Why or why not? Have you ever used Scrivener? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

How to Wow Your Audience with the Right Image

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Barry Pearman who lives in Auckland, New Zealand.  Barry blogs about Spiritual Formation and Soul talk for Mental Health. You can follow him on his blog and connect with him on Twitter.

There was something about this picture that grabbed me. Was it the black and white starkness? Shadow’s hinting of something unknown? Male or female? Poor or rich? Going unnoticed in a crowd to a home of loneliness?

Create Wow with the Right Image

Photo credit: SpaceShoe (Creative Commons)

Something grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Images can have a spellbinding effect and shape our thinking. They can trigger off memories of past events and places. Images speak the words we never thought we could say.

When I saw this image it triggered off a Jim Wallis quote:

Only those willing to stand close enough to listen will ever hear those closest to the problem.
–Jim Wallis

I have stood close to those who have been wrecked and interrupted by Mental Illness. I have listened to the stories. Images of suffering seared into my mind that keep me grounded to a reality unknown to most.

Pictures have power

What thoughts and feelings were triggered when you saw this image for the first time?

A group of young people gather around a large block of wood. With hammer and nail in hand the first contestant comes forward. How many swings of the hammer will it take to drive that nail home. The count is taken with the winner being the one that has mastered both strength and accuracy.

I want to make one point in my writing. Every tap of the keyboard needs to hammer that one point home.

If you give people too much to remember they won’t remember anything.
–Andy Stanley

The image is a big hit of the nail. I place it at the start where there isn’t much friction yet between the nail and the blockheads, oops people, who read my material.

Where to find the right photo

Finding the right image for your article, webpage, or slide presentation requires a little digging, but it’s worth the result. Here are some places to look (depending on your budget)

  • Personal. With photos of yourself, family, holiday, office you literally invite the world to ‘come on over’ and ‘pull up a chair’. You are inviting them into your life and to be friends. Just a word of caution here, make sure other family members are ok with this world famous exposure.
  • Bought. Stock images are available from many different sources such as istockphoto. Stock photos do make your blog feel more professional, but you have to ask yourself if this is what you are aiming for. Also, you have to be careful here as sometimes the same image can get over used and you don’t get that ‘Wow’ effect because you’ve seen it before.
  • Free. I use mostly free images from Flickr. The amount of photos available is enormous. The photos are generally of high quality and have can have an arty feel to them. Compfight is a search engine that can search through Flickr’s library and also has a gadget for WordPress users. Using Flickr also enables you to support and encourage other artists like yourself, just make sure you give proper attribution to the artist.

Here are some practical pointers

Now that you know where to find your images, here’s how to choose the right one:

  1. Look for an emotional connection. Look for an image that emotionally connects both with you and the reader. Whatever grabs you will most likely grab others.
  2. Use photos that attract attention. Try to find pictures that scream “Look at me.” No more nice boring cliche clips. Just as your writing comes from within you, the story behind the picture needs to also connect with something of you.
  3. Remember the size of a thumbnail. The first time your picture will most likely be seen will be in the size of your thumb. If you want people to hit your thumb it has to stand out and beg to be hit.

What sort of images grab you and why? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

Attributes and Procedure of Getting CPD Accreditation Status

The term Common Professional Development (CPD) is a well organized approach to acquiring the pre determined specialized education, knowledge, practical training practice for pursuing a certain profession that is mandatory in many countries including the UK. CPD requisites can pertain to several professions such as medical, judicial, research and fellowship programs, logistics and transport etc. as per the regulations in an institution or governmental laws. For instance, according to the CPD rules in practice in England and Wales, a legal executive or solicitor executing full time legal practice in the country (working 32 hours or more in a week), needs to complete at least 16 hours of CPD every year that will earn them 16 CPD points.

Obtaining CPD Accreditation

There are several authorized organizations that offer CPD accreditation programs. Before you proceed to acquire your accreditation it is mandatory to complete your CPD program with minimum attendance fulfillment, participation in several activities as a registered college/university candidate etc. Completing this formality will bestow the recognition of an accredited CPD provider status. More or less the following procedures are adopted by all major organizations that offer independent CPD accreditation to a professional.

Application: The first step is to register and apply for an independent CPD provider accreditation status. While applying the candidate will have to submit proof of attending the CPD program, details, of participation in activities, hours completed etc.

Review: The institute awarding accreditation will take about a month of time to review the certificates and credential submitted to verify the authenticity of the documents before processing the application to the final stage where the accreditation awarded to the CPD provider.

Accreditation Awarding and Conditions: The final stage is the accreditation awarding when the candidate is assigned a particular date when he will receive the status of accredited independent CPD provider and gain the privilege of promoting himself in the professional domain to set a milestone in his career. He will then have the facility to approach potential clients or join any institute as an accredited member. To ensure that the accreditation remains valid for lifetime, keep updating it as and when there are any changes in the terms and conditions introduced in the regulations of the particular profession.

  • Gain better client prospects as an established accredited professional
  • Beat the competitors in the professional world and get exposure to premium career opportunities
  • Explore the new job opportunities for which you meet the criteria of accreditation requirements
  • Build a network of clientele with whom you can keep pursuing your profession with peak high progress

The CPD obligations are formulated in accordance with requirement of the essential and advanced skills and education to pursue any said profession with complete accuracy. Many organizations have strict codes for CPD fulfillment of the all the recruits. However the independent professionals not yet associated with any organization or enterprise, in their own interest can opt for taking CPD to ease out their way to getting hired and setting firm foot in the professional world.

Apprenticeships are also another route you can go down and with Gordan Franks Birmingham apprenticeships it is easier than ever before.