Liz has very kindly written up the software she uses, and shared a page from her Livescribe notes. Thanks Liz!

Liz's notes

A sample of Livescribe upload

The task we gave ourselves this week was sharing with each other which software we find useful, which others might or might not be aware of. I looked through my apps before the meeting to help me remember what I actually do use! I came up with a list of applications, some hardware related, which I use regularly.

At the top of the list was my Livescribe pen, which I used for making the list. This pen resembles a bulky ballpoint pen, but it includes a fair bit of technology. I have used it mainly as a pen, with the associated stationery, for making handwritten notes. The pen contains a miniature camera which records all the pen strokes and transfers an electronic copy to my computer. This electronic copy is searchable, making it easy to track down notes and ideas. The pen also has a recording device – I know people who have used the pen for recording interviews – and also various other facilities. Notes can also be transferred to Evernote.

There are a number of applications that I use very regularly. Evernote is useful for grabbing web-based articles and making notes at meetings – particularly useful as a multi-platform tool. Twitter is where I find my support network. Snagit is my tool of choice for screen grabs, but equally useful are Skitch and Jing, with Jing being usable for recording short video clips. I have used Inspiration for several years for concept mapping, but also find it useful as a general diagramming tool and for outlining documents – it is relatively expensive, but money well spent.

My main bibliographic tool is EndNote. I tried various others when I started my DPhil and found none was really ideal, but EndNote seemed to do what I needed, and importantly, was supported by the university. The current version has a powerful search function that is useful for finding the specific reference I need. Alongside EndNote, I use Papers (now available for Windows as well as Macs). I find this is my preferred tool for reading pdfs, particularly on my iPad. I have tried reading pdfs on my Kindle, but return to Papers, using the Kindle for reading and making notes on e-books.

Vitamin-R is one of a number of applications which set a timer – and has the facility for blocking distracting applications. I use it when I need a kick to get me working, but generally find once I’m started, I don’t need its other facilities. Another productivity tool I use regularly is Things – basically an application for making to do lists, but with useful reminder facilities.

Google Reader is essential for keeping up-to-date with both general news and the various blogs I follow. It means I do not have to read everything, but only the items I really want to.

For transcribing interview, I found ExpressScribe useful in conjunction with a foot pedal.

Find Any File is good for finding stuff I know is somewhere on my computer, but I haven’t a clue where.

Dropbox is essential for keeping my stuff available from any networked computer.

Text Expander and Typinator are useful for correcting material and for shortcuts – the facility is there in most word processors, but these apps work in most applications.

There were also expensive mistakes in my application folder. I have a number of Omni applications, but have never really found a use for them. Similarly Devonthink. Many people sing the praises of Scrivener, but it does not do what I need it to do – or maybe my writing style just doesn’t fit with how it’s designed. Similarly, I’m sure Nvivo is a useful and powerful tool, but so far, it doesn’t do it for me.

That’s my list – how about yours?