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Old 11-13-2009, 12:05 PM   #1
rvdparis
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Post for academic-types: what is your "flow?"

I have seen a lot of threads in the forum on this issue, but they all don't really talk about how people integrate the eReader into their work.

So if you

1. are an academic, academic-type, writer, or avid note-taker

2. agree that the Sony software that comes with your Reader is horrible for your note purposes (as well as just being bad software in general, mostly because it has crashed at least once and you've had to start from scratch)

3. need to take notes on academic or other texts for use later, on your computer

and 4. love Calibre but can't depend on it solely because it doesn't transfer your notes/annotations/highlights

then this thread is for you.

I am wondering if anyone has figured out a way AROUND the terrible Sony software (for me, at least, it's a nightmare each time I update OSX, or close it the wrong way, etc, it crashes and must be uninstalled, reinstalled, resynced, etc etc., at least 5 times since the beginning of October). I've seen posts that depend on Python scripts and java scripts to work around the sony software, but are there other ways?

And what is your work/reading/noting process?

My new untested way is to make highlights, write notes, all on my reader, then transfer them BY HAND (propping up my eReader on a bookstand), into my notes program on my Mac.

Please note here if you use the reader professionally (as in, you use it for your work/note-taking), or if you are afraid to, or if you tried it and it didn't work, or if you have integrated it successfully. Also, if there are postings on this subject elsewhere, I think we'd love to know that too.

Thanks, happy e-noting, Rich
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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i was wondering about this question too, although i dont seem to have the crashing problem that you have, i'm using winXP and version 3 of the EBL.

i'm an academic type and mostly i deal with pdf's.

i definitely dont want to lose any notes. and I would love to use it professionally tho I dont think the reader is "there yet".

For instance, after playing with the reader for a few days, I decided that:
--if I want to pull long quotes out of these texts, I really should be using a netbook or tablet.
--if I want to write down something like 20 pages of notes, i should really be using a netbook or tablet.

So I reduced my expectations of the reader a bit. After that i've been happy. Here's how I use it:

I basically just use it to 'mark' passages, paragraphs, phrases. Then I take a freehand note with just a few words describing my thoughts. I'll 'unpack' those words later back at the computer.

Thats really about it. I think doing much beyond that is not possible in a graceful way on the reader technology today. Maybe in a few years.

So I export it back into EBL, and on EBL I can jump from mark to mark. With the EBl window open, I open up Word and basically just use the EBl marks as a reminder about what i wanted to say. So I do the actual composition in Word, not in the EBL or the reader. The comments i took on the reader is only there to remind me of things, not as finished narrative.
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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I mean heck, in an ideal world, I'd like to be able to do at least the following:

--my highlighted text should be exported complete with bibliographical info; when I open the exported document in word, the bibliographical info should get integrated into Endnote.

Can you imagine that? Then my own note or comments would appear under it, and basically all i do is reformat a little bit and i'm done. You could write book reviews or paper reviews this way very very quickly.

This would also require a much better way to input comments (like a decent built in keyboard) and a bigger screen probably would help a lot. And lifting the drm restrictions on quotes (which they should anyway - its fair game to quote passages of a few hundred characters at a time).

(Another dream of mine is that sony will offer bilingual dictionaries so you can read, say, a french text on the reader, double tap a word and have it look up the english translation in the pop-up dictionary automatically).
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:52 AM   #4
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I am also considering this problem and is trying to write some scripts to fetch the notes from the reader.

The problem of exporting the notes is not so difficult. One has to dig a litter bit in the cached xml files, but I think it is doable. The freehand writing is just common svg file which should be easy to handle with something like inkscape.

The difficulty might be to include all the notes again to the original ebook file, address the position of the note.
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:08 AM   #5
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The screen keyboard is a bit difficult, but I think it is the fault of the display. I can tip the keys very fast, reaching somehow half the speed of the input with computer keyboards. However, the alphabets are just coming to the screen very slowly after I tipped lots of words, together with a bit flashing.

It seems that the delay between two 'screen draw event' is really large, a few hundreds ms. When I tip one alphabet, this alphabet is first darkened, and then whitened again, and then a suggestive word is refreshed and finally the alphabets is displayed in the input region. So totally 4 'screen draw event' makes the input quite 'unresponsive'. Perhaps SONY can simply ignore the darken and whiten of the alphabets, the screen keyboard would be easier to use.
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebooker View Post
So I export it back into EBL, and on EBL I can jump from mark to mark. With the EBl window open, I open up Word and basically just use the EBl marks as a reminder about what i wanted to say. So I do the actual composition in Word, not in the EBL or the reader. The comments i took on the reader is only there to remind me of things, not as finished narrative.
I think this is a great way to use the Sony as the technology stands now. You're analyzing the notes you took by rewriting them from the EBL screen into Word. That is probably the most important task that needs to be done after a reading session.

And you're right about needing the integration with a reference manager like Endnote (i use Sente, which is unique in that each quote/note you take is a separate field with page number+your comments; all other reference managers make you type all your notes in ONE note field per reference). I was thinking that I could somehow manipulate the RTF file that you export from EBL to put into my reference manager, but then I'm doing a lot of work for something that needs to be simple; i.e., putting the notes I took into some sort of analytic text I am composing.

And the idea of Hanselda to create a script is great...

Given all this, I wonder when someone is going to make an ebook reader for the academic market...
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvdparis View Post
Given all this, I wonder when someone is going to make an ebook reader for the academic market...
I think this is inevitable; ebook readers are a natural fit in education. The possibliities are endless. (For instance, with a simple french-english dictionary add-in, you can read french texts, double tap a word, and see the definition in english -- a great boon for those learning french or other languages).

I think it will happen but the technology is still so new.
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