As someone who completed their first degree prior to the internet (unthinkable, I know!), I have found it has taken some time to change my study style from pen and paper, textbooks and photocopied journal articles to being electronic and paperless. When I first studied back in the 1980’s, I always wrote everything by hand with books and articles strewn all around me. I would then type up my essays, which also served as a second draft. Armed with lots of liquid paper to correct those typos!
Today, I love electronic access to journal articles – possibly too much, as I tend to avoid articles that I can’t access online. What do you mean, I actually have to go the library?? Until recently however, I still printed all the articles I wanted to read as I found it easier to have a print copy in front of me than to try to read it online. I also didn’t really have a good way of storing these effectively – although I could have used Notebook which I talked about previously, I found the sheer number I need to read at the Doctoral level too much for that format. So I diligently went off and purchased a filing cabinet which I proceeded to fill with randomly filed journal articles that I found very hard to find again!
Towards the end of last year, I discovered the Papers app by Mekentosj, which has turned out to be money very well spent. All my journal articles are now saved electronically on all my devices – desktop, laptop, iphone and iPad. (When you’re doing a thesis, you can never have too many backups!!) I have cleared out the filing cabinet which is helping with another mission of mine to unclutter my home as much as possible. I definitely find screen quality makes a huge difference in my ability to read articles on the screen and I love the iPad for this. It is still early days for me in my quest to shift all my reading to electronic format but so far so good.
I’d love to hear of anyone else going paperless in their studies – is it working for you??