What does your research log look like?

Recently an editor friend and I were discussing genealogy research and how we make notes along the way. She was involved in creating a research log notebook some years ago and we wondered about the best approach now that we can have iPads and other portable devices along with us in libraries.

I have been very slow to evaluate the notes I took in Salt Lake City last February, I think partly because they are a jumble of handwritten scribbles in the back of my RootsTech program book, plus a number of PDFs and document snapshots stored in Evernote from my Family History Library searches. I wish I had imposed more structure to the handwritten notes; that’s what makes going back to them seem like a big ugly job. It’s not too difficult to add organization to the bits in Evernote using tags, but even then, I will end up with an assortment of disparate notes that I will be tempted to print out (!) just to organize them.

Is there still a use for handwritten notes? Is there an ideal research log structure, for either handwritten or electronic note taking? How can we make research easier to keep track of? More on this in my next post.

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