I use Evernote heavily. I don't mean that in a quantitative sense but in a qualitative sense. I have learned that the power behind Evernote is not in how much you use it but how well you use it.
There are fantastic prophets of Evernote out there spreading the word on ways to increase your productivity with the application but this is one that I have not heard elsewhere and it has been too beneficial not to share.
I have started purchasing an increasing amount of books digitally lately and with this switch the way in which I research using my books has changed. I love physical books and when I am doing research my books are packed with notes that I make and post it notes sticking out like peacock plumage. Notation can be accomplished digitally in a number of ways either with or without the usage of Evernote but the real trick I learned was how easy it was to search for content I had not yet read. Searching the index of my digital books could not be easier when I can just start typing key words and have things pop up and see a list of what books contain what information.
I WISH SEARCHING MY PHYSICAL BOOK COLLECTION WAS THIS EASY!
This is where it hit me. Searching my physical book collection can be just as easy using Evernote. I started a new notebook in Evernote titled "Library." Now, for every new book on my shelf I have a new note. I snap a picture of the cover and a picture of each page of the index, toss them all into the note and since I have a Premium Evernote account all these pages are automatically scanned with OCR.
Although photographing the index pages of every book on my bookshelf can be a little daunting it has been relatively easy to do and the time that it has saved me in the long run has more than paid off.
Additionally, if enough people start this same process, Libraries can be shared and the process could be tackled by more than one person saving more time and building a stronger database to search from.
- There are a number of applications that make interacting with Evernote easier. Most of my books have been scanned using the application Genius Scan on my iPhone. This application is free but requires an in app purchase to interact with Evernote. Well worth $1.99 Genius Scan adds effects to the image to intensify the contrast, reduce the file to black and white, and even fix distortion in the image by intelligently skewing.
- Make sure you are scanning or photographing the pages in a room with sufficient light and as little glare as possible so that you have the clearest image and Evernote is able to run OCR on the image more efficiently.
- Tag and add notes: If there are some topics you know are especially important or key words you think would be especially helpful you might as well add them. I also add words that I know I commonly mis-spell or descriptors for topics that I might be able to describe more easily than name.