Use what is useful,
reject what is useless
and add what is specifically your own.
It’s been some time since I posed a question here. I got one regarding your work infrastructure.
Looking at my infrastructure, e.g.:
- using DEVONthink to quickly save websites as PDFs and putting them in a “WebCapture” database (and sorting them into categories there)
- using a DEVONthink database for all scientific literature I stumble upon and another one for the private literature (labeling the actually read literature in yellow)
- using GoodReader on my iPad to read the literature, highlighting the parts I need to know when I cite this information and exporting only the highlighted text and my notes
- using Circus Ponies Notebooks with a page for each source I have read and all highlighted information/notes in outliner cells tagged with the source name_year
- using Circus Ponies Notebooks with pages for (sub-)topics and the information from the literature I have read tagged with the source information
- using Papers2 for the literature I have actually read to have an additional copy of the literature and to be able to quickly cite it/export the source in APA style
Yup … looking at all that I think the term “digital squirrel” would describe me (almost) perfectly. If I see something that strikes my eye/brain/heart, I get a digital copy and store it in a way I can find it again and use it (okay, some things get lost, but that’s also the squirrel part). I save it and make backups, because I don’t trust that online material will stay online. I rush though huge amounts of information and take what I think is useful … and it does not weigh me down because it’s all digital. I can store copies in multiple places, including behind steel walls in a bank or on servers abroad.
And despite some setbacks and other “evolutionary” dead ends in the past (e.g., using a Wiki prior to the current solution) — and constant risks (e.g., data corruption) — it works really well for me (and for others who ask for information).
I am still going through my material and sorting and restructuring it — and this will be a continuous task: New information will either be simply added or the information I already have must be restructured to be able to deal with the new information.
But I think it works and I see how well it works when share information, answer questions, or create or write something new.
To come back to the question — this is a solution that works for me — so I am curious, how does your work infrastructure look like? And how would you see yourself if you would use a metaphor?