I’m the type of user who likes to use as few sites as possible, but maximize the use of each application. I’m a little OCD about clutter and this especially is applied to digital clutter. I’m comparing the merits of Evernote vs Dropbox. I’m not convinced that I need both products as they seem to overlap.
I read your article on creating a toolbox, and several other articles on SWTB, but I’m still not convinced that I need both platforms. However, you seem to be convinced that both are quite useful.
As a doctoral student, I have a massive amount of files that I rely on for my research needs. What *are* the merits of using both products for filing purposes?
– @LyndaB73, MSW & Doctoral Student
Thanks for reading Social Work Tech Blog!
Here’s the mindset in which I decide to use both services: Does my work need attention Right Now, Later (The Future) or Never Again (The Past).
Focusing on Right Now
I use Dropbox* as my de-facto file management for files that I do not want to archive and need right away. I primarily use Dropbox to store documents [in your case, literature] that I am working on right now as well as other documents that I need to get access to and sync across various platforms.
For you, needed documents may include literature that you are using and annotating on an iPad or PC application or word processing documents that are constantly being changed.
There are several applications on iPad and iPhone such as [all links direct to iTunes] Nebulous Notes, Quickoffice, DocsToGo, and etc. that allows you to reach your Dropbox to download, modify, and update these files to the cloud.
Documents for Later Use: Working for Tomorrow
Most of the note-taking I have done in Evernote is to serve me at a later point in time. Where Evernote comes in handy is in creating separate notebooks for notes you’ll later be referencing in the future. For example, if were to create one notebook for your literature review, you can put your notes for each article you read on separate notes and tag each note with an identifier you can pull up later. Tags are sort of like a one or few word phrase that tells you what is in the note you created.
Here are examples of tags I have used for my literature reviews:
Often, literature I am reviewing will get tagged as I find out the subject matter that is being addressed in the article.
I use check-boxes to indicate what information I have cited and also include the APA citation next to aforementioned information piece so that I can easily cite it when I transfer the note to my document. I then change the text into my own wording while still giving credit to my original source.
Never Again: The Past
I dump EVERYTHING that has ever had a use in its life – whether I think I will ever need it again – into Evernote. If I’m about to radically modify a file, I archive a version of it to my Evernote to make sure I can recover it later if I mess up my file.
With a note limit size of 25 MBs (premium users get a 50 MB limit), you can attach several versions of the same document on a single note (although you may want to put the date or time in the file name).
My Evernote folder for my Graduate School documents has every document I have scanned to PDF place in here, including graded papers, announcements, random notes, etc. Stuff I think I’ll one day need again goes here… this is the digital equivalent of hoarding, but I sleep well at night knowing that I have a copy of all the papers I ended up shredding.
Focusing on right now
Both, Evernote and Dropbox accounts are free! They work on a freemium model which means that for more features, you have to pay. For me, the features I get as a premium Evernote subscriber are worth it to me.
I hope that this has been useful to you and would love a comment or six from you about how you use these products! Please contact me if you have any questions you want answered on the blog!
*full-disclosure: clicking on this link uses my referral link for you to sign up for Dropbox and I get some more free space if you use this. If you use it, I appreciate it because that means I can store more interventions on the cloud and it helps me with my practice