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!