Thursday, 25 August 2011

Thing 9: Evernote

I hadn’t used Evernote before CPD23. I had heard of it, and vaguely knew that it was an organisational tool of some kind, but I had no idea what it could be used for. I’m really glad I’ve been introduced to it as I think it’s great! The more I play with it the more I see how it could be really useful for me both personally and professionally.

When I first downloaded it to my laptop and downloaded the smartphone app, I thought “excellent – I can create and update to-do lists on my computer and phone, this should help keep me organised.” I am indeed using Evernote for this purpose, and it’s really useful, but I’ve begun to realise how I could use it for much more.  The notes that you create are more dynamic than a word-processor document, with tags and the ability to easily add photographs (and search within photos – very cool!). My usual method of making sure that documents I need are available wherever I am is to email them to myself. Using Evernote is much better – particularly when accessing my documents on my phone – and makes things easier to organise and locate. 

In terms of my professional activity, I think one way in which I will use Evernote is to note bits of information at conferences and training events. As the CPD23 blog suggests, I could take photographs with my phone and turn them into a note, which I can then sync to my computer to refer to when I write up my notes and reflect after the event. Other ways might be simply to keep information organised and easily accessible for any writing that I am doing, or work in my CDG or LISNPN positions. I keep saying this, but I really like that there is a phone app which syncs with the downloaded version on my computer; I don’t tend to take my laptop with me to events, so I am always looking for ways in which I can make use of my phone instead.

I don’t think that I will use Evernote in my current job. Initially I thought I couldn’t anyway, as we are not allowed to download anything to our work computers, but it turns out there is a web version of Evernote (you can just sign in on the homepage), so I decided to try it out at work today. I needed to make some notes on how one of our databases has changed, in order to present it to my colleagues before the start of the academic year. Normally I would just create a Word document, but I decided to create an Evernote note instead. It looks much nicer than a boring old Word document, but I’m not sure if it really benefits from being in Evernote. I don’t need to use Evernote for access purposes at work – I can access my personal drive from any computer in the institution in which I work, and within the Library we have a shared drive and a Sharepoint site if I need to share anything with colleagues. I never work from home or anywhere outside of the university so I don’t need to be able to access my documents off-campus. Therefore, as lovely as it looks, I don’t think Evernote is suitable for use at work, at least not in my current role.

That said, I still think Evernote has loads of potential uses in my professional life, so I’m really glad I’ve had the chance to learn about it. I think it’s the first unfamiliar tool that CPD23 has introduced that I will continue to use. I look forward to hopefully discovering some more gems in the rest of the programme.

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