One of the big limitations in our learning is that we dont give too much thought to the process of learning and how to make the limited time we have, more effective and better organised so that we can better remember what we learn.
So we are starting a series on the things that I have found to be helpful to learn more effectively, starting with the best way to organising information, but not in a Marie Kondo way ( although an article from 20 years ago may bring No Joy and can be discarded :)).
Every article I read and many more I havent had the time to read, which look interesting and think that one day I may need, I download. That’s great, but how to organise them so that they can be easily searched and accessed when you need it?
ORGANISING AND SEARCHING JOURNAL ARTICLES: HOW TO SAVE TIME AND EFFORT
My initial method was to dump them on a drive and whenever I wanted to learn or review a particular topic I would search around in the drive wasting a lot of time and often not finding the most relevant article.
Mendeley or Zotero are the answers to being organised with journals so you dont waste time searching.
Both Zotero and Mendeley at their most basic, are pdf organisers , but have many more functions. You can store, organise, quickly search and mark up your articles. Articles can be organised into folders and subfolders (see image above) and the general search function is also very powerful. It allows me to carry around a large number of articles for quick reference without the need for an internet connection.
They work on Mac and PC are free download. (There is a paid version of Mendely which doesnt really seem to add much to be worth paying for.)
I currently use Mendeley only because I started using it a long time ago and have only recently discovered Zotero. Whilst Mendely has slightly more functions ( not sure if this makes any practical difference), Mendely is now owned by Elsevier and presumably they have access to information on the types of journals you use. Zotero is open source and non profit and they state that they dont data mine.
Here’s the link if you want to know more about Zotero
Here’s the link if you want to know more about Mendeley
(We dont use affiliate links and dont get paid in any way for links to apps or books that we post about.)