Evernote is a free service that allows you to take and store notes in different formats – text, image (picture/scanned), or audio.
How It Works/What it does:
Evernote works in a variety of settings, including the web, through a program for your PC or Mac, or through applications for your mobile device (iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre, Windows Mobile).
Read more after the break!
This service works as a Freemium service model, in that you are provided with an upload limit of 40 MBs per month for free, or for $5/month, up to 500 MBs per month and the following features:
Notes can be tagged, geo-tagged, and edited at a later time if a person is unable to do so when they upload their note.
Also awesome about the service, is that pictures are automatically scanned for any text (a process called OCR = Optical Character Recognition) in which a person is able to actually search for text on those pictures! This feature is free, but to get the same treatment on PDFs, you have to upgrade your account to premium.
Many Ways To Upload:
You can upload to Evernote by:
Web interface: Much like your web-based Yahoo!, Gmail, or Hotmail* interfaces, this is easy to use to start a new note and upload attachments. [*if you have a hotmail, you should come to the year 2004 and upgrade to Gmail].
- Desktop software: The mac software is very well executed and I believe the same can be said for the PC version. On top of the program, Evernote has widgets to take notes from your internet browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and your desktop (for screen shots)
- Mobile software: If you have a smartphone, Evernote may have software specific for your platform to upload on the go.
- Email: you can get a personalized e-mail address that links to your Evernote account and that uploads e-mails and attachments to your account.
- Twitter: if you use twitter, you can link your twitter username to your Evernote and send things to your inbox via direct message. This is useful for links that you find on the website that you can cut, paste, and send to yourself.
Practical Use in Social Work:
I use Evernote in a variety of contexts, personally and professionally.
For school, I type my notes into the program. Other notes (e.g. pictures I take with my cell phone) are mailed in to Evernote so that I can later add them to the same note I was working on when I was taking the picture. I can also attach any audio I have recorded during the lecture to that note at a later time (assuming I have a premium account with enough space).
When completing research papers, I will often type a note in the following format:
I can later go back and check the box to indicate that I plugged in the information to my paper. I can also go back and grab the APA formatted text up at the top and plug it in to my reference list at the end of my paper if I were to actually use the source.
For work, I take notes during supervision based on interventions, suggestions, etc. that my supervisor offers me or others – often very good advice. I never use client identifying information because I take precaution as if one day my account security will be compromised.
And in my personal life, I have taken pictures with my cell phone camera of restaurant menus, allowed my phone application to geo-tag the note [which determines where exactly in the world I took the note]. and upload it to Evernote.
Some examples of created folders for Social Work:
- Default Folder: Where all my uploads are posted (to be sorted later)
- ScWk2XX: Where all notes relating to a particular class are sorted to
- Social Work Tools: Where I put all my notes related to psychotherapy, interventions, activities, and resources. Most of these are PDFs, but can also manifest as clippings from online periodicals, journals, etc.
- Social Work [X]: This is a specific folder where X = Interventions, Resources, or Conferences, etc. etc.
- Social Work Client Files: THIS FOLDER DOES NOT EXIST. Despite Evernote having secure servers, I am adamantly opposed to upload IDENTIFYING CLIENT INFORMATION TO A REMOTE SERVER.
For my personal use, I have created other folders:
- Receipts/Bill Pay: When I pay a bill online, I usually take a screen shot with confirmation number and sync it to the service so if I were to need it, I can search for it, download and find it.
- Travel: Where I upload confirmation numbers, hotel information, etc. I could also make travel specific folders (e.g. “Vegas 2010”) where I can have individual notes about prosective hotels, entertainment, budget, etc.
- Deleted Contacts: Sometimes when I lose touch with people (former colleagues, acquaintances from long ago), I delete them from my phone. Before I do, I take a screen-shot and e-mail a picture of the screenshot for that contact into Evernote so that I’ll have it forever.
- Good Reads: I often highlight and save stories that I read on my internet. News stories that are inspirational, funny, entertaining or informational are saved easily. I often save many short stories that Paulo Coelho publishes on his blog because I like to have those handy.
Evernote also has stories from their users for other practical uses of the software/service.
To “tag” a note is to add an identifying keyword to the note so that one can search for similar notes with the tag. Several tags can be added to a note and Evernote does not seem to have a limit.
Every note that you post can be tagged right away when creating the note or at a later time.
Tagging is important for your note, as notes can be grouped in this way.
Example: I get a handout from my supervisor titled “ADHD Interventions with Minority Populations in Rural Communities”.
- I can scan all the pages from this article into PDF and upload it to Evernote
- I can go online and attempt to find the PDF, then upload it to Evernote
- I can read the article and take notes into Evernote to summarize the contents of the article, or
- I can put the article PDF (steps 1 or 2) into Evernote and then annotate the note file with my own notes based on what I have read (step 3)
Upon perusal of the text, I can see several distinctions between this and all the other articles I’ve uploaded to Evernote this week:
- It was written by my favorite CBT practioner, Ernest Anastasio III
- The study focused on a Oaxacan Community in Greenfield, CA
- The article promoted art therapy, drama, interpretive dance, and something called the Weekapaug Groove, etc.
- The article focused on how aforementioned community uses herbal and holistic methods of addressing ADHD symptoms in their children
- etc. = [other distinction found in this article]
With all this information, I can edit the post with the following tags:
ADHD, Anastasio, CBT, Oaxacan, Greenfield, CA, art therapy, drama, dance, interpretive dance, intervention, holistic, weekapaug-groove [or “weekapaug groove”], etc., etc.
With the note tagged, if I later collect thousands of notes from across the CBT spectrum (for intervention), I can tell ever note to only focus on those notes tagged for one or a few subjects.
Here is an example of a tagged note. Can you guess its contents?
Editor Note: If anyone caught the Phish reference in this blog post, good for you 🙂
Thanks for giving such a detailed explanation about Evernote, as well as providing some real life examples of how you’ve used it with social work.
It definitely sounds like a useful note-taking application. I need to find out whether this would work on specific type of phone.