My work involves frequent research on the web, and I am doing more of that on the iPad than ever before. This is mainly due to two apps that make capturing information as easy as tapping on the screen. The two apps, Evernote and Skitch, work well together since both of them are now produced by the Evernote Corp.
I have previously detailed how I use Evernote to write long articles on the iPad, a method that still serves me well. Since Evernote is the home for my notebooks in the cloud, it is fitting to also use Evernote in the research phase of my writing projects.
It is worth mentioning that both Skitch and Evernote work as well on the Android platform. This is important as I try to only use tools that are cross-platform, so they are accessible no matter what devices I use. The methods I am describing in this article work pretty much the same on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, too.
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Evernote makes it easy for me to capture information on the fly as each account holder is assigned a unique email address linked to the Evernote account. This is used to email information directly to my notebook in Evernote from any iPad app that allows emailing information such as hyperlinks. Evernote aids this already simple process by adding this email address to the Contacts list under the logical name of Evernote Upload.
This works as follows: I read an article on the web in Safari, Reeder, Zite, or Flipboard, and decide I want to save the reference in Evernote. I simply hit the Share button in the app and select email as the method. When the mail windows opens up I enter Evernote Upload in the To field and hit send. A new note is created in Evernote with the hyperlink, description and source app noted for reference.
Once I am writing an article, which I do in a new Evernote note, I can open any reference link from its own note. This opens the article in the Evernote internal browser, where I can easily copy passages for quoting in my article. Everything is contained in Evernote so it's all conveniently at hand when needed, no other app required.
I capture and process images for articles, and Skitch is wonderful for that task. I can use the standard iPad function to capture a screen shot if needed, and open the image in Skitch for processing. I can crop the image, add annotations, circle items of interest and even write on the image with my finger. It is the easiest method I've discovered for handling images for my writing projects. Once the image is ready for publication, I save it in Skitch for uploading to the ZDNet content system at publication time. Skitch also saves it in the cloud as well as locally for instant access.
This research system works so well it is easier for me to do my research on the iPad than on the desktop. While Evernote and Skitch are available on the Mac, I find them easier and more intuitive to use on the iPad. I can gesture swipe between the two apps as needed to move back and forth between them. It is a process that flows naturally, and is really, really fast.