Life @LCP: Notes on My Current (Digital Research) Situation

Last week, my system spent two hours backing up while I was in the archive–

–which gave me a bit of time to think through my research process.

Drafty notes below….

#11:53 a

System is backing up and exporting because of some kind of error…

So I’m going to think through next steps for my research database.


– I want a system where I can basically have smaller notes of my long texts. Secondary and Primary.
– I want a system where I can basically have smaller notes of my long ramblings* on Secondary AND Primary notes
– I want this system to be easily searchable but not too searchable. My Evernote iWrite notebook* isn’t easily searchable. So I need to establish a system of tags that I use on ramblings that retrieve material relevant to my research.
– I also want to keep my long form ramblings

The Brainstorm:

– My longform SS and PS have Evernote notebooks. My nValt is strictly for bite-sized primary notes.
– Why can’t I use nValt for long PS? Do I need to make a new system for the inedite (my shorthand for printed, published, or otherwise book-length PS – travel narratives, natural histories, etc.).
– I have not been tagging my secondary sources as responsibly as I should. I now have 600+ untagged or improperly tagged secondary sources.
– I can use tags to group secondary sources relevant to different topics

[Looks over the PS Evernote notebook…]
– Primary Sources is basically a @BrainDump* for primary sources I’m finding elsewhere. Haven’t organized well because I don’t trust Evernote. Still keeping “hard” copies (full-length copies) of these documents on the hard drive, external drive, and cloud. Notes might just need to go into nValt…

[Looks over nValt]

– nValt – is for my short notes on primary sources (and there are some residual secondary sources in that archive)
– I like it because plain text files are difficult to corrupt on their own (although if the entire system has a fail, plain text files will go as well)
– I keep the plain text files in a folder in my DropBox for added redundancy
– It uses tags by century, type of ps (*inedite, *pubprimary, *notarial, etc.), and geography and then uses keywords in the note for added context (FPC, WOC, DEMOGRAPHY)

[Looking at my Non-Text Sources folders]

– Possible use for DevonThink? Make a collection of non-text images of relevance and keep it indexed using DT? But I could actually do the same thing in Picasa…unless I make DT the place for project things…

Still brainstorming…..

* Although I don’t trust it with my primary source texts or notes, I use Evernote all the time for writing, journaling, taking notes, and capturing material from the internet. I can explain how and why later, but for now, to clarify: My iWrite notebook is my daily writing/research log.

* Ramblings = free writes and brain dumps

* @BrainDump Everntoe folder is just what it sounds like–a dump of things I am too busy to organize or don’t have a good place for

Featured Image: Pierre Eugéne Du Simitière, Musiciens d’un Calinda (1760, Jamaica) | Source: Library Company of Philadelphia


2 thoughts on “Life @LCP: Notes on My Current (Digital Research) Situation

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