By Jay Culligan
The Sussex Hive Scholars were proud to present a panel of three distinguished speakers, with recognized skill and knowledge with applications in and out of academia. These panelists discussed various phone, tablet, and computer based apps, which may bolster productivity and efficiency, or simplify the daily grind in doctoral research. I will discuss the general outline of each app presented, with the benefits and drawbacks of each app the presenters discussed. At the end of each section, you will find direct links to each app. If you’d rather listen to the live recording of our event, you can check it out here! Of course, if you have any questions, the Hive scholars are more than happy to work with you. Just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Zotero, and Mendeley
Our first presenter, Andres Guadamuz, a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law, focused his presentation on the cloud services apps and referencing programs.
Cloud devices allow students to store their work online. This makes work easily accessible and conveniently placed to quickly access files from any internet-connected device. Cloud devices do not possess the highest security, so they are not suitable for any sensitive material (check out the guidance on storing your research on the Library’s data management pages). This does not detract from the ability to share information quickly with individuals or groups of researchers or the ability to store gigabytes of information, free of charge. Andres suggested the use of Microsoft OneDrive and Drop Box; however many such programs exist.
Referencing is a staple task in the researcher’s life. Many researchers are familiar with the applications Andres suggested, including EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley, however Andres expounds on the accessibility and simplicity of each of these apps. Andres favors Mendeley due to its ability to automatically synchronize across multiple devices from one account. It also provides a free gigabyte of library storage to access articles, photos, or other relevant work at no charge.
Users favoring Zotero need not worry. Andres recommended other extensions to these citation programs, such as Papership, which combines resources from Zotero and Mendely into a convenient application. For an additional £2, this service will provide pdf-editing software, for those not wanting to pay for the Adobe programs. Other useful extensions include Scanner for Zotero, which allows you to take a picture of a book’s ISBN. Scanner for Zotero then finds the relevant citation information and stores it on Zotero.
Microsoft OneDrive: https://onedrive.live.com/
Hootsuite, Feedly, Evernote
Our second panelist, Catherine Pope, was awarded her PhD in English Literature in June 2014 and also works as a digital skills trainer (The Digital Researcher). She has published several ebooks on useful apps in Evernote, Zotero, and Scrivener. Her presentation focused on applications for managing social network sites, blog search, and archiving.
Social networking sites have spread across all disciplines and have become an easy way to gain valuable, immediate insight into current events in research. Sorting out relevant information from other feeds can be difficult, as a single account usually subscribes to wide ranging interests. Fortunately, Catherine informed us of a Twitter application called Hootsuite. This free or pay to upgrade program can divide twitter into specific feeds to cater to individual needs. Multiple specific feeds can be viewed simultaneously, across multiple Twitter accounts.
Blogs have become a novel way to peek into the minds of contemporary thinkers, writers, and discover trending topics and ideas in any field. Finding the right blog to follow can be difficult. One app, Feedly, will assist you with your search. This app will even export and share your newly discovered blogs with Facebook, Hootsuite, or other media sites.
Zotero and Mendeley can be useful programs to store directly relevant articles or journal entries, however they lack the depth and broad range of depositing all your information across a wide range of media. Evernote can help. This app serves as a repository for all your media needs, while also allowing you to mark, edit, and work on your doctoral media in an all-in-one program. Evernote can automatically read text from a picture, allow you to capture notes, webpages, books, documents, audio and video onto one central program. The service also provides storage for journal articles with the ability to annotate articles, displaying only the highlighted text to quickly access the most relevant information. Oddly enough, you can even store individual tweets and blog posts to Evernote. There is a free version and an option to pay to upgrade for even more functionality.
Our three panelists: Miroslav Batchkarov (left),
Catherine Pope (center), and Andres Guadamuz (right)
Our third presenter, Miroslav Batchkarov, a PhD researcher in Informatics discussed the advantages of the word processor Lyx. Creating publish-worthy, organized, and set papers can be tedious and problematic using Microsoft Word. Lyx offers the simple user-friend interface of word with rigid constraints on formatting for easier typesetting. This program is great for inputting equations and easily works on all operating systems, including Linux.
When you are finished constructing your document, Lyx can generate a pdf format of the document, without losing any of the formatting differences found in Word. This program works seamlessly with any citation program, using the BibTex exportation to easily insert the citations list onto your document. As an added bonus, Lyx can also do presentations.