This short article will share my tech toolkit and give a high-level overview of how I manage academic reading materials, notes and references.
I also use Microsoft Word for writing assignments — this is not by choice; the university requires it.
Zotero is a free tool that helps you collect, organise, annotate, highlight and cite research papers. There is also a Zotero app, which suits my workflow well as I tend to read, highlight and annotate papers on my iPad using my Apple Pencil.
Here’s a screenshot of my Zotero library to give you a sense of the layout:
Here’s a zoomed-in screenshot of my simple folder structure and tagging system:
If you only need a tool for generating bibliographies, I recommend ZoteroBib.
I use Obsidian for taking notes. Below you will see two screenshots of my Obsidian sidebar showing my folder structure.
This screenshot shows my master’s ‘project’ sub-folder, which contains an outline for my dissertation along with any other notes that are not linked to one specific research paper:
These screenshots show the location of notes I have made on research papers (they are in a Zotero-specific ‘Capture’ sub-folder that splits into different types of literature e.g. conceptual, topic etc.):