We had an Ethnography and Social Theory colloquium today on the topic of organizational software for the field. Several graduate students and one of the senior faculty presented. Here are my very rough notes.
Allison Alexy's (Mac-based) suggestions for organizing your life / fieldnotes:
- 43Folders -- organizational ideology
- OmniOutliner Pro -- list making
- Sente -- bibliographic database
- RapidWeaver -- website development
- SuperDuper! -- backup software
- LaunchBar -- application launcher
- ScanSnap scanner -- going paperless
- PDFShrink -- PDF editing
- PDFlab -- PDF editing
- Allison has an excellent list of fieldnote-taking software on her blog
Professor William Kelly's (Windows) suggestions:
- Biblioscape -- bibliographic database
- Window's Explorer Plus -- file management
- WhizFolders -- note taking and fieldnote database
- Dragon Naturally Speaking -- speech recognition / transcription software, great for taking reading-notes, transcribing dictated fieldnotes, etc.
Gavin Whitelaw's field tips and solutions:
- tupperware in the field -- for organizing/carrying gadgets (esp. post-9/11)
- Mini-mini-tripod -- esp. for taping shows off streaming sites
- Using your digital camera as a portable scanner / portable photocopier, taking photos of texts etc.
- Quick-release for digital camera on tripod
- Two small digital cameras -- one to work, and one as a backup; with large LCD preview/review screen (to show informants photos or to review on the train, etc.)
- Portable USB or Firewire back-up drive -- to backup fieldnotes in the field, every night (alternately, use your iPod)
- iPhoto / Portfolio / Lightroom, or other photo management software -- be sure to tag all your photos, but try to keep the number of keywords to a minimum, less than 30 if possible
- Using digital camera as another form of fieldnotes -- take photos of everything and everything
- TypePad -- personal and public blogging, personal/private blog as an easy way to clip articles, tag information, etc.
- Take screenshots / print to PDF of any website you've seen and want to keep (since websites change constantly)
- Cpen 20 - pen scanner, to scan documents on the fly
- Solar power / AC-inverters for places without power
- Copywrite note taking software
- WordPress, Joomla, or MediaWiki -- content management systems -- blogging software that can be reused as fieldnote management
- Zotero -- firefox extension that almost works like a bibliographic reference
My own suggestions:
- Canon LIDE scanner -- small, lightweight scanner, easily bookbaggable
- Sharp Zaurus -- small microportable computer, can easily get recharged
Feel free to post other suggestions as well!