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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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Researching & Documenting

My general system (as of now) is generated around the most basic programs provided by my Mac and by Microsoft Office. My projects are all organized within my finder under documents. I have folders for each class, each project within that class, and a separate folder for source material in which I store PDF files of articles, segments of books, important images, downloaded web articles, and other pertinent information from the web. Seeing as my projects have yet to exceed 20-30 pages, using Word and storing everything on my hard drive has so far served me well. I use Time Machine to back up my documents. As of now, I only do this about once a month; I have traditionally only used my external hardrive for photos, music, and graphic art projects, but at the end of last semester I also backed up all of my scholarly work.

As far as documenting research goes, I currently employ a very loose system relying mostly upon Microsoft Word (to copy-paste things I read on the internet or to transcribe information I read in printed texts). These documents of notes from readings are organized under the project to which they belong, typically being labeled something (sometimes too arbitrary) like “notes.” I also use Stickies in order to write down the titles of books, authors, concepts, call numbers, interesting websites etc., which I also save under the relevant project's folder. Whenever I encounter a relevant text I typically try to save the bibliographic information in a working bibliography for the given project. Sometimes this working bibliography is handwritten (I keep a notebook of ideas and notes for projects in a moleskin) and sometimes it is a digital file saved in the project's folder on my computer, depending on whether the source is print or digital.

After completing the reading for this week and exploring the various tools Turkel recommends, I would like to begin using other more efficient systems for research and storing digital information, specifically Evernote. I also downloaded Zotero to help me keep bibliographic information more organized. Something I realized, however, is that I like using programs that make sense to me in non-digital environments, although I don't necessarily know if I think digital environments should always try to emulate other forms of media, there is something satisfying to me about posting a digital sticky note to my desktop as a reminder. The problem of course, is that this information so easily becomes disorganized and lost if it is not transferred to another form of storage (as, of course, is also the case with analogue stickies).

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 439 words
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