Use Evernote for Notes and Research

By David E. Y. Sarna

Evernote is ideal for taking notes and for doing research. Whenever you want to remember something, don’t write it down anymore. Papers create clutter and are easy to misplace. Just make a note of it with Evernote.

If you’re incurably addicted to paper, however, Evernote has a solution for that, too. Partnerships with Moleskine and 3M give paper and Post-it Notes a digital life and a whole new set of tricks.

Notes, notebooks, and stacks

A note is a thing of some sort. It’s the atomic unit of Evernote. A notebook is a collection of notes — a giant molecule. You can group notebooks into collections called stacks. If you want to keep the chemistry analogy going, think of stacks as being organisms.

It’s not necessary to get overly involved in the taxonomy, though. A lot of how you use and organize Evernote depends on how you like to work. A shopping list can be a note, for example. A collection of stuff related to shopping may be grouped in a notebook.

You may have one notebook for bills and another to keep track of tax deductions. All your notebooks related to home stuff can be grouped into a stack.

Web-page clips

When you surf the web, you often find interesting things that you’d like to refer to again. In the old days, people used to cut them out of newspapers, bind them, and keep them in a library. You can save clips too, but you can use Evernote.

Bookmarks in browsers just don’t cut it, especially because webmasters don’t need to consult you when they update their web pages. Content disappears from websites all of the time, and many times we are none the wiser!

Here’s a nifty solution: Clip what you want to save, and create a note. Then you can easily find the clip again. Even better, you can search the web-page information at the same time you search all your other interesting stuff, no matter how you collected it.

The web-clipping feature is one of the most convenient features of Evernote, allowing easy clipping of sections, images, or entire web pages. This technology has evolved a lot recently and is a lot smarter and easier to use, so be sure to read the details.

Notes from whiteboards and blackboards

Whiteboards and blackboards are just pictures, but here’s the magic part: Evernote uses its handwriting-recognition feature to try to interpret what it sees, and what it sees, it indexes automatically.

So if you write “Einstein’s Equation: e=mc2,” and that text is at all legible, you can search for either “Einstein’s Equation” or “e=mc2” so that Evernote can find the note quickly, as well as all the others in your notebooks that contain the same reference.

Saving notes from whiteboard or blackboard sessions is especially useful when you’ve been working collaboratively and want to quickly share the results with attendees or others who didn’t make the meeting.