Mobile Monday – My mobile tools

As a technology professional, it’s almost ironic that when it comes to my genealogy research, I actually prefer the old-fashioned method of research…visits to courthouses, libraries and research centers digging through old volumes and documents searching for that illusive ancestor’s record that will blow down a brick wall.  With that being said, since most of my ancestors were from the Midwest and I now live in Florida, I do most of my research electronically for the time being.  To facilitate my electronic research, I’ve developed my own set of electronic resources and tools that I prefer to use.  Most of my tools are on my laptop computer, but over the past couple months, I have started to go truly mobile with my Kindle Fire and iPhone.

I have several pieces of software that I use on both mobile devices:  Ancestry, RootsMagic, ShoeBox, OneNote, Feedly, Google+, Blogger, and the list goes on.  I won’t try to cover all of these in one article, but I will highlight how I use tools differently between the two devices.

Evernote is probably the best example of an app that I use differently depending on the device that I’m on.  On my Kindle, I use Evernote much like I do on my laptop, making notes using the keyboard layout and typing them in; however, I’ve recently discovered Skitch which I see me using more and more to create notations and highlights on pictures and copies of documents to file into my research notebooks.  I also have Skitch for my iPhone, but to be honest, my fingers just don’t do as well trying to use it on the smaller screen of the phone. 

On the other hand, the voice note feature of Evernote is incredibly valuable to me on my iPhone because of all of my devices, it is the only one where I have a need for hands free note-taking.  There’s nothing worse than driving down the road and having a sudden thought that you can’t jot down and knowing that by the time you stop, the thought may be gone.  Enter Evernote on the iPhone!  I can get Evernote open, record a voice note and not have to worry about losing that thought.  I also tend to use the camera feature on Evernote a lot on my iPhone.  I absolutely love being able to take a picture of something and save it as a note for later reference!

My suggestion to those looking to go mobile with their research is to find the tools that you like to use, and then start figuring out how to fully adapt them to your mobility needs.  Realize that you will be using them differently in each individual situation and let your “work flow” with them be organic and adaptable.  In a later post, I’ll talk about one of the newest tools I’m working with and starting to love – ShoeBox.