Using an E-Reader to Manage Your PhD Readingmkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research · Tags: phd, readings, references
I recently went on vacation. The thought of leaving my library behind was creating stress. I knew that I needed to take a break, but the compulsion to make sure I had some reading just in case the mood would strike was compelling. So, I decided to purchase an e-reader and load my entire electronic library. It took me one, full day to complete this task.
I wanted an e-reader that would allow me to
- read journal articles and e-books from libraries, purchased, etc.
- read easily outside (it was for a tropical vacation)
- highlight segments
- write notes easily
- export and print highlights and notes
- download different kinds of readings from the Internet ranging from the purely academic to newspapers, magazines, and trashy novels
Enlisting the help of my e-reader-owning friends and my husband, I searched the Internet for the “perfect” e-reader. Then, I went to local shops and tried them out. I was seduced by the very small, 5-inch Sony Reader. But, I found that the screen was just a touch too small for the kind of interaction that I wanted to have with the device. It felt like I was moving towards the tiny real estate of a smart phone. I tried the Kobo, the Alurateck Libre, and some others. One last effort took me to a nearby Sony Store. They only had one kind of reader in stock, but, it seemed to match my needs. This model (PRS-T1) had just arrived in the store two weeks prior to my arrival. And, it had wifi which was not on my list, but could be a nice addition.
Now, I have found that I do, indeed, like the e-Reader. And, here are my reasons:
- I can carry my entire electronic library in my purse
- I can read it incredibly well in bright sunlight.
- I love the carry-case with the flexible light
- I can highlight text with the stylus
- I can make hand-written notes or peck-a-letter notes
- I can export all my highlights and notes AND print them
- I can create “searchable” PDF documents or sections of books on university photocopiers and upload them to the e-Reader. These PDFs are somewhat like OCR documents allowing highlighting and searching.
- I can purchase e-books as well as some newspapers and magazines through the desktop interface very easily.
- I can quickly and easily download a variety of open access books directly on the device using the wifi (quick and easy).
- I can surf the web using the device. The browser, although limited is surprisingly good.
- I can read in Spanish and French. With the click of a button, I can locate definitions for unfamiliar words. This is lovely.
- No root-kits that I know of are loaded onto your computer.
Things that I would like to see improved:
- The notes are hugely important to me. I highlight entire paragraphs at times. But, when I export the notes, they are truncated. So, I have to manually fix them all through a copy-paste method. Admittedly, it is still faster that typing out the highlighted sections, but I would like Sony to update their software so that notes are exported in their entirety.
- I was disappointed that the Sony e-readers no longer support MS Word. I had to convert all my word documents into PDF. That’s why it took me an entire day to transfer all my journal articles and notes.
- Some journal articles already in PDF format do not render nicely especially when the font size is increased.
- The “Reader for PC” interface on my desktop is clunky and slow as it connects to the reader and demands my sign-on to the online Sony systems. I would like the interface to be streamlined.
I really am starting to like reading this way. And, I cannot emphasize how much I love being able to carry around my PhD-study library. I will add more pros and cons as I think of them.