Things 8 and 9: In which my mother gets an ipad before me and I experiment with Evernote.

Yes, it’s true.  Mother LibraryEms has purchased herself a shiny new ipad with a lovely purple cover, complete with astronomy app so that Father LibraryEms can take it outside and identify stars with it.  Cue jealousy from both me and my sister – how can this have happened, that the parentals have become more technologically advanced than us?  I know in the grand scheme of life not having an ipad is really not a big problem, so I am mostly being tongue-in-cheek whilst complaining about it – but it’s so SHINY.  Aaaaah.  Perhaps if I enter enough competitions I may win one.

I’m talking about ipads for Thing 8 and 9 because I think that you could only really get into these Things if you owned a tablet or a smartphone big and fast enough to access them on.  I technically have a smartphone, but it is absolutely tiny, the on/off/silent button has fallen off so I have to press it with a pair of tweezers/earring hook, the internet only works about 50% of the time, and on those rare times I can access Facebook it refuses to display anyone’s name and just mysteriously calls everyone ‘Facebook User’.  Although this provides many happy hours of ‘guess whose status it is’ whilst sitting on the bus, it does mean that I wouldn’t attempt to introduce it to Google calendar or Evernote.

Still, I have obediently loaded up both the Things onto my aging laptop, and am hoping that the poor thing will cope with the extra pressure.

Google Calendar

I already have a Google account, and regularly use it for Gmail and Google Reader, so I found that I already had a Calendar – I just haven’t ever entered anything into it.  I have now entered in events for the next few weeks – social ones, such as a friend’s wedding and a theatre trip, rather than work related ones.  We use Outlook calendar at work, and I prefer the interface to Google, plus we have our Outlook open all the time so that the notifications pop up regularly and remind us of meetings etc.  I use the Outlook calendar for everything, and find it very useful.  You can also access it online via webmail, so there wouldn’t be any use having Google Calendar as well.  My supervisor can just add things to all our calendars, so we don’t forget team meetings and other important events.

However, as my traineeship is coming to an end, I shall soon be leaving the happy world of Outlook calendar and will have to find a replacement as I probably won’t be working next year as I do my MA full time.  Hopefully Google Calendar will then prove to be useful, as I shall have to schedule in all my classes.  I shall have to experiment a bit with the notification times – how long before an event is best to have an email/pop up reminding you that something is going to happen?

I don’t think I would ever need to ‘share’ my personal calendar with others, but I can see the advantage to sharing if you worked in an organisation where everyone was using Google as a professional calendar.  It would be useful if you were a supervisor and wanted your team to know when you were going to be available to talk to them etc.

I have to admit, that I also am going to buy a pretty new diary for next year with my 20% discount from the Bodleian Shop, so unless I win that ipad I shall probably stick with pen and paper for the time being.



So, I’ve downloaded Evernote and set up a Webclipper in Google Chrome, which seems to work quite well.  To test it out, I’ve ‘clipped’ an article from the Guardian webpage about how the bestseller ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is boosting readership in public libraries.

Screenprint of my first Evernote Web Clipping

I seem to have been inundated recently with ingenious tools to store webpages – from Delicious to! and Pocket, I now feel like there are too many choices, and am tempted to go back to my original tactic of copying and pasting links into a handy Word document or emailing myself a list of links.  I think I need to decide on one way of storing webpages and stick to it.  Evernote Web Clipper seems useful because it saves the webpage as a clipping, so that it will still be there even if the page itself is taken down or changed.  It also allows you to add tags and comments to the clipping, so you can annotate it with your own thoughts and sort it out to make it easily searchable later.  I can see that this will come in much more useful when I’m studying next year, so it’s good to practice now so I get the hang of it.

The syncing feature would sadly only be useful if I had a number of different devices to access it with, which I don’t, and I can see that if I had an ipad I would be able to use it to take notes in lectures and all kinds of other things.  All roads seem to be leading to me getting an ipad, don’t they?

In conclusion, I will probably put these two Things on hold until I start the MA, and then will crack them out again and try and use them to organise my chaotic research methods (when I was studying for my English MA I had hundreds of emails to myself saved as such illuminating things as ‘dissertation notes 45’ ).

And even if I can’t afford an ipad, I’m sure my phone is due for an upgrade at some point this year – I will definitely try and go for one with a bigger screen, a working on/off button and a more reliable internet connection!