What do you do with those conference notes?

Have you attended a conference, received syllabi, written notes, and then promptly shelved them all when you get home… never to be used again? I used to spend time reading each syllabus, making lists of new leads, and again, finding that notebook on the shelf many months or years later.  After some time, I had about a dozen notebooks from workshops, regional conferences, and national conferences.

If your goal is to make those notes digital, searchable, and usable, try Microsoft OneNote. If you have never used OneNote, it is an amazing program to help digitally organize any type of data that you may have. Originally is was designed for students to keep track of notes, photos, videos, pdfs, handouts, and all of those scraps of information that a student needs to organize. It is based on a “notebook filing” look with folders and subfolders that you determine yourself.

You can have a notebook for writing projects or a notebooks with unfiled/unattached documents. I have a notebook for genealogical conferences. My notebook has subheads for each workshop topic. Some of mine are nationalities– Ireland, Germany, Scotland. Some are technology topics or photography topics. And some subheads are particular speakers that I hear often.

The other fantastic tool in OneNote is the ability to send web sites directly to it. If you find a web site you like or one you want to come back to at a later date, just right click somewhere on the page. “Send to OneNote” comes up as an option. Occasionally if material has a copyright, it may not send to OneNote. But it’s a great tool to track those things that you want to come back to. This added feature works best in Internet Explorer. I have used this for many gedcoms and registries that I have found on RootsWeb.

If you are looking for a way to use those conference notes again someday, scan them into OneNote. It’s a great way to put those classroom hours into use!

64 thoughts on “What do you do with those conference notes?

  1. I too have suffered from a mess on the desk and have found MS OneNote a useful tool to gather information for my genealogy research. I make notes on my PC and then access them on my ipad when I am out and about researching.

    • I love the iPad version of OneNote and Ancestry. It’s so convenient to have the notes and files from OneNote in the same easy place as my online family tree. The fact that FTM syncs now makes it so easy to not have to carry so much on a genealogical trip!

    • It’s a great tool, and I use it for so much more than genealogy. I have a file of recipes, the manuscript of a book I am writing, and it stores all sorts of file types– audio, video, photos, and more. It’s such a waste to have so much great information in a notebook on the shelf… unused.

  2. OneNote is a fantastic resource and I use it all the time! It’s embarrassing how many notebooks I have. But I also wanted to let you know that there is a web based program called Evernote – http://evernote.com that works great for collecting information while surfing the web. It’s similar to OneNote in that you can have several notebooks, but I love how I can access Evernote through my smart phone app, which is perfect when I’m not near a WiFi access port.

    You can also clip articles, pictures and other information as you surf and it will automatically create a new note in your account, you just need to indicate what folder you want it in.

    It’s a great program that I use on a daily basis (right along with OneNote). Check it out, you may find it useful for you!

    • Sheryl, you make a great point about Evernote. It is a program that I have looked at and many of my friends use it. But I keep coming back to OneNote because of the way it ties into all of the other MS products. Both are really versatile and innovative. And to be able to clip things and add it to a folder is a great tool. Thanks!!

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