March 28, 2015 by lspencer12
I reviewed several digital tools which I hoped would help me with organizing my research. I am not technologically inclined so I struggle with using most programs which are designed to make things easier. I am still kind of old school, I like to look, feel things, and scribble stuff when I read documents. I just like paper, I feel although technology make life more convenient what happens when it fails or you find yourself somewhere without access to technology? What then?
The first digital tools which I attempted to use were ones which were listed in Dirt Dictionary website. I was most interested in tools which would aid me in organizing data so I put in the search parameters of windows, free and open source. I viewed the CALIBRE program, I though that this program might aid me in organizing my research. It is a program which helps in the organizing and managing eBooks. I played around with it for about a week. Unfortunately, at this present time, this is a program which is not useful for me.
As far as I can determine, there is nothing wrong with the program. The issue is with me. I prefer to read books as opposed to eBooks. I am a touchy feely person who enjoy turning pages, high-lighting passages, and leaving comments in the margins of books. Although, many people like the convenience of this technology. However, the manner in which my life unfolds today does not make eBooks the most convenient way of assessing information.
I then moved on to the next program which looked interesting which was Bibus. I was hopeful for this program because I had used EastBib in the past and through that this would be something similar. This turned out to be part of Wikipedia, I not sure why but I was not overly thrilled to be using Wiki type programs. So, this is site that I had to register for to gain access but I did not find an easy accessible way of registering so I moved on.
I really did not give this program a chance. For someone like me who is not particularly tech savvy, I like to about to create an account and go to using whatever program. I am all for KISS (keep it Simple Son). I did not feel that this program was as simple as it could have been. I tried working with it at least twice but eventually gave up and moved on.
Next I went for the low hanging fruit so to speak Zotero. Although, we attend a familiarization class, I still struggled with and continue to struggle with the program. I need some more in depth instruction in my opinion. The first obstacle I encountered was the fact that the program does not work in Chrome. After switching browsers, I started loading information into the library. I sure that there is an easier way of getting importing information but I have not figured that out. So I do things the long and slow way which for now is okay.
I do like Zotero, I actually feel that it lives up to my expectations in regards to organizing and managing information for my research. Once I get more tutorial and master this program I do believe it will prove very useful and will be a program which I continue to use.
I also download a new program which recently hit the market. This is an app called Meerkat, it is free which is very appealing. It allows users to shoot and stream video in real-time via Twitter. I think that this could be a value resource for some but not necessarily for the bulk of what I do. Even once in a while I do have projects which I conduct oral interviews. This would be good for recording that particular type of history. Although, it is not of value in my immediate research it could be of value to those that study very recent histories or are journalist.
The last program that I tried is Gimp, this is a program that I found out about from a colleague at work. After observing her use the program, I thought that it would be useful to me in regard to person research. I cannot imagine using that program for my academic research. The project which I am currently working on the program is useless because I do not have original copies of the photographs which I am using. Perhaps there is a way to use the program with a downloaded digital images which I have but I am not aware of how to do that at this time.
So inclusion, of the programs which I tried, I like three of them. Zotero, Meerkat, and Gimp of these three programs I only find one which is useful to me while I am conducting my current research. Though the going has been rough Zotero does help me organize my research. Once I populate all the required fields information is easy to find. Even the act of populating the fields is very simple.