Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bonus items for research and note-taking

In the previous post I listed a couple tools for conducting research and note-taking. The person in the BibleWorks forum who had provided the impetus for this discussion noted that he sometimes made voice annotations. It was a quick way to take notes, but he was trying to figure out how to organize them or to convert them into text. One solution: simply use Zotero with the Vertov plugin (see that previous post) and simply work with the audio files.

Jott is another option that you may not know, but it is one I find myself using more and more. First, it is a FREE service and uses a toll-free phone number, but you must be a USA or Canadian resident, and, depending on how you use Jott and your phone service contract, you may incur some phone charges. (With two teenage daughters, we have unlimited text messaging, so I'm good to go...)
You can use Jott in all sorts of ways, but the main wonder of it is that you talk into your phone, it converts your speech into text (though it also saves the audio), and then posts it to a wide variety of places you can choose. E.g., I hate to try to type out those text messages on my phone, but with Jott, I simply call, tell it to send a message to my daughter, and then (clearly) speak my message. She gets the text message about 5 minutes later. (Officer, I wasn't texting while driving. I was Jotting. ;-) ) You can also speak a message and have it post on your blog. Or Jott to yourself to set up a reminder or create to-do lists. You can also use Jott on your computer and have it send a text message reminder to your phone at a designated time. Okay, so what does this have to do with biblical research? There are at least two ways I am using Jott.

  • Let's say you are driving walking, and you get some great idea, and you have no paper. Simply Jott yourself a message and pick it up in your email later on.
  • You are in the library or a bookstore, and you come across some book you want to reference again later. You call Jott (quietly when in the library), and use its built-in connection to Amazon. Say (or spell) the author and the book title. When you check your email later, it will have the link to the Amazon page, and from there you can Zotero it in to your bibliography.
It really is a cool technology. It's in beta, but I have had no problems, and they are assuring users that it will always be free.

Super bonus extra: If you don't know about GOOG-411, you can thank me now. It's from Google, it works great, and it is FREE. (I like FREE.) You simply dial 1-800-GOOG-411 from any phone (USA or Canada only), indicate location (city/state), and state the business type or the name of a specific business. It will start returning best possible results to you, and when you get the one you want, it will automatically dial the number for you. (Note that this is all voice-activated interaction.) Okay, I'm not sure how you will use this for biblical research (though I did just check and called the seminary where I teach), but it sure is handy.

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