I mentioned my newfound love for Google Docs the other day. I’m also rapidly becoming a fan of Google Notebook. It allows you to set up any number of notebooks, and with a browser extension makes it easy to add any highlighted bit of text from your browser to the notebook.
This isn’t a big deal, as it’s relatively easy to copy and paste text into an editor. It has three key advantages over that method:
1. It automatically includes the title and URL of the page from which the clip was taken.
2. It is accessible from anywhere and …
3. It’s possible to add comments on to any of the clips.
If you’re a Google Docs user, another benefit is that you can send entire notebooks to Google Docs. Thus, researching a personal reference page might go something like this:
1. Search for whatever it is you’re looking for. Your search could include web search engines, books, electronics, various other items, even library searches.
2. As you find things you’re interested in, just paste them into the google notebook (usually one dedicated to the topic). This is the search equivalent of brainstorming. You might add notes on clips indicating why you chose them.
3. When you’ve exhausted your search, go back to the notebook. Trim down the list to get rid of stuff that ultimately you don’t need. Add further comments if you have them. Drag and drop clips to reorder them. When done, export to Google Docs. From there you can edit all of your clips and comments, merge them into a cohesive whole, whatever. You can then export to something else, like PDF, post to your blog, or publish to the web.
I know it’s been around for a little while, but I didn’t really grasp how powerful it was when it first came it. It’s definitely worth a try. I’ve used it as described above at least three times in the last two days.