I have been looking for a way to close the circle of my digital academic research. The idea is to do rigorous philosophical research without paper, taking full advantage of cloud computing, the syncing of notes, articles, bibliographic information, and the ultimate production of academic work in a completely digital environment.
I took a decisive step in this direction when I adopted Zotero as my main bibliographic tool. Still, Zotero is bibliography software, and it does not facilitate the reading, note taking and organization of articles and books digitally on mobile devices.
Now, however, with the iPad, I am tantalizingly close to a process that closes the research circle. The problem is that there is no Zotero or Endnote for the iPad…yet. Even so, such bibliographic programs would need to add the functionality of PDF file and ebook reading and organization.
If they did, the research circle I envision might look like this:
Online library research would be directly downloaded as PDF files or ebooks into my bibliography database. It would sync with an app on the iPad and iPhone where I would easily read the text, annotate it, take notes, etc., all of which would stay with the digital article/book and it’s bibliographic information. When I begin to synthesize my research, I would be able to search all my notes, which should be organizable via tagging. As I write, I should be able to pull the bibliographic information into my word processor, refer easily to my notes, pull up articles and books, and continue the circle of research and writing.