Monday, June 24, 2013

Scholarly Communications @ Duke - Your guide to copyright and publication issues

This is a great resource for the grad student, new academic, or seasoned scholar alike. There are many times when we come across puzzling situations regarding copyright law and permissions to post information, especially in the new digital age. This resource at Duke offers a good place to start seeking guidance when a copyright question comes up. They offer a "Scholarly Communications Toolkit" which has a flow-chart for decision-making when it comes to teaching materials. They also have templates for letters of permission for things such as: releasing a student's work, letter requesting copyright permission, and guest speaker release form.

Screenshot of the home page.

For those seasoned faculty members, you may think that you don't need such a resource. However, this website has a page dedicated solely to faculty authors.

The page is technically a blog, so you can subscribe to future posts.

Happy publishing!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Evernote - There's an app to keep your brain together - "Remember everything!"

Let me tell you a story of a first-year doctoral student who, when researching for papers and presentations, would go to the library for 1 book and come back with 12. You know how it is, when a title grabs your attention, and you're craving new knowledge, you want as many sources as possible! So, this book collecting started to get overwhelming. Plus, that student didn't have enough time to read all the books that she grabbed. She wanted to keep track of the books that caught her attention so that she could go back to them later. But, her arms were full whenever she went to the library, or perhaps all she had with her was her smartphone, so it was hard to create a reliable list of these books of interest. Enter: the app called Evernote! She began using Evernote to keep track of the books that caught her eye but wasn't yet ready to pick up. She could take a picture of the book and the table of contents so she could remember what interested her, then save the picture in a note in her Evernote notebook called "Books to Read". She could even tag the note with its relevant topic. The organization of this new method was wonderful! It was life-changing, because a new doctoral student has a lot of things to keep track of, and new sources of information is important but sometimes unwieldy. This method of organization was great because no matter if she had her hands full or if she just had her phone with her, she could still keep track of what was important.

A photo I captured of a book I found interesting but was not yet ready to check-out from the library.

My on-going list of sources to look into in the future.
Once I started using Evernote for this type of organization, I started seeing other uses for it. I could take notes in class and attach relevant documents as I typed. I could easily access those notes later no matter if I had my own computer with me, or if I was just using my phone, or at a hotel conference using a public computer.


The best way to keep track of all your random notes to yourself, notes from meetings/classes, to-do lists, and more, is to use Evernote. It is a web-based platform that allows you to create notes, organize them into notebooks and stacks of notebooks, and share them with other people. Not only can you save notes that you write, but you can also attach documents, images, and links, too.

Evernote also has a desktop program that runs just like its web-based platform does, except you can use it when you are offline, and it will sync back to your online account when you're back on the internet.

Desktop version.
Evernote also has an app for smartphones (Android and iPhone) and tablets (Android and iPad). You can do everything in that app that you can in the web-based platform and the desktop software.

Screen-shots from the mobile version.

All-in-all, whether you are a student or a professor or a clinician, this app can be a life-saver for your organizational woes. It is free to use, but you can also pay for the premium version which gives you full access to all your notes when you are offline.

Evernote has tons of other cool add-ons, such as a foodie app:
Screen-shots from the mobile version of Evernote Food.

It also has a web-browser add-on that I use a lot, called Web clipper. It "clips" information from websites and stores that information in an easy to read format in your notebook. I use it whenever I want to remember a website, but not just the URL - I also want to remember why I wanted to remember that website, so I include content as well. It's also helpful to clip user guides or tutorials so you can have them on-hand later without having to navigate back to the same page over and over again.
Screen-shot of the webclipper add-on.

So, the final word on this Evernote thing is that its free, its easy to use, and it has so many useful applications that you can't go wrong to at least try it out.

Monday, June 10, 2013

StudyDroid - Flashcards on your Android phone

Its about time I published a post about a smartphone app. I just so happen to be studying for comprehensive exams for my program. I have never been one to use flash cards, but I'm going to try it out for this exam. Anyway, I didn't want to bother with keeping up with a set of index cards, so I decided to try out an app for my Android phone. I looked at a few apps, namely StudyDroid, FREE Flashcards Helper, and AnkiDroid Flashcards.

I first tried AnkiDroid, but it would freeze on my phone. I liked its features, especially the way that it is responsive to what cards you need to study more or less. You can rate each card as you answer them, and decide whether you know that card, need to see it more, or less. It also has a desktop interface, so entering new cards seems relatively painless. The problem with the app, as I said above, is that it kept freezing on my phone (Android version 2.3.7), so I moved on.

I tried this app but it kept freezing on my phone.
I looked at the FREE Flashcards Helper, but it didn't have the same cool features, and the design seemed a bit too simple for what I wanted.

Then I tried StudyDroid. It works great on my phone, has a simple to use interface, but still has the kinds of features I was looking for.

StudyDroid - Screen shots
It has a browser based account, so you can create cards from your computer and sync them with your phone. Also, you can upload a CSV file (aka, an Excel file) to create your flashcards. This app also has the feature to mark whether or not you know a card. It doesn't have as many options as AnkiDroid, but still gives you the option to mark "known" so it puts that card at the back of the pile. You can also shuffle your cards, or turn them all over. I downloaded the free version, but might buy the paid version because it offers a quiz feature.

This is the app I decided to keep.
So, if you are studying for comprehensive exams, or just need an easy to use flashcards app, I suggest this one! If you are an iPhone user, sorry I can't offer any advice!