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Academic Workflow - Any Suggestion for an Application/s?

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Posted by Darren McDonald
Oct 22, 2019 at 11:45 AM

 

I am trying completely go digital with my workflow as a researcher in management studies in Japan. The main reason for doing so is that a stroke has left me with awful handwriting and a terrible short-term memory. (Up until the stroke, I made notes in a research journal and typed up my findings in Word). I tried unsuccessfully to find all I need in one application. But now I am starting to understand that a workflow involves drawing on the best of several different applications.

At the moment, I am trying to decide on an application to use when reading PDFs, making annotations and taking notes. The closest application that works for me is Highlights https://highlightsapp.net . I like it for two reasons. The first reason, you can see all your notes and annotations at once in the application, rather than just having lots of “memo icons” on the PDF that you have to click open to read the comment you made. Secondly, the ability to export your annotations and notes for use in another application. What holds me back is that there is no iPad app. Do you have any suggestions?

Another thing I am trying to do is find an application that helps me bring together the annotations and notes to find themes and decide where I use them in a journal article. Any suggestions on what application to use to do this?

Looking forward to your suggestions as I am in the middle of working on a chapter for a book. :)

Cheers! :)

Darren

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Oct 22, 2019 at 01:41 PM

 

Hi Darren,

Sounds like an interesting query! But it would be useful to know more about your working environment. It sounds as if you prefer to work on iPad (any particular type? Always interesting to know!). But do you also work on macOS? Or on some other platform (e.g. Windows, Linux etc.)?

Many thanks and best,
Bill

 


Posted by J J Weimer
Oct 22, 2019 at 01:42 PM

 

> Secondly, the ability to export your annotations and notes for use in another application. What holds me back is that there is no iPad app. Do you have any suggestions?

At one level, you will find apps such as PDFExpert and PDFPen. They expand the tool sets to the iPad with additional markup options. I believe that both have been given high regards on this forum.

PDFPen -> https://smilesoftware.com/pdfpen-family/
PDFExpert -> https://pdfexpert.com/ios

Perhaps GoodNotes and others can be added, although I consider them to be note-taking plus PDF markup rather than dedicated PDF markup.

Going further, you will find apps such as LiquidText and MarginNote. They include their own internal options to extract the annotations to a side sheet and organize them for review. The downside of these two is that the annotations they create are not always compliant with other PDF editors.

LiquidText -> https://www.liquidtext.net
MarginNote -> https://www.marginnote.com

> Another thing I am trying to do is find an application that helps me bring together the annotations and notes to find themes and decide where I use them in a journal article. Any suggestions on what application to use to do this?

You may find that MarginNote (or LiquidText), with their additional study sheet approach, will provide a framework that you can use directly without having to export the annotations to other apps. In this regard, I particularly appreciate the approach in MarginNote to be able to put tags on annotations.

Personally, I use PDFExpert to do markup that must be compliant with the rest of the world (e.g. when I have to markup documents that are to be sent to the Windows community). I also appreciate the ability in PDFExpert to be able to access multiple cloud services (Google Personal + Google Work + Dropbox Personal + Dropbox Work + ...). I use MarginNote to make annotations that I want to tag for some reason or another (e.g. when I grade documents, I can mark tags such as “incorrect”, “inadequate”, or “improper” to denote different levels of mistakes). I do not use the collect or study aspects of MarginNote even though these two additional aspects are touted as the main reason for MarginNote to be used (markup + collect + study). I do not appreciate the limitations and general instabilities that MarginNote has in syncing only with iCloud (and have given it a low review on the App Store for this reason).

 


Posted by Luhmann
Oct 22, 2019 at 02:44 PM

 

I use Paperpile to organize PDFs, PDF Expert to highlight and annotate. (Although Paperpile’s built in PDF reader - in beta -  is getting better.) I then export annotations to Dynalist for organizing and search.

 


Posted by Darren McDonald
Oct 22, 2019 at 02:44 PM

 

Hello Bill,

>It sounds as if you prefer to work on
>iPad (any particular type? Always interesting to know!). But do you also
>work on macOS? Or on some other platform (e.g. Windows, Linux etc.)?

I work mainly on macOS (iMac and MacBookAir) and also use an iPad (iPad Air with Apple Pencil support) for close, active reading. I could use a Windows-only application if the software is only Windows. I have Windows 10 running in Parallels. But I would prefer osMac-friendly applications.

Any suggestions would really help. :)

Cheers! :)

 


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