If you’re like me, much of the time spent away from your laptop is spent checking your phone for news, email and new xkcd comics. If you’re spending that much time on your phone, you might as well do something useful.
Check out the following free apps to help you search the literature, cite your sources, and organize your work.
Ebsco Databases – Ebsco provides access to a large number of databases via one app (ERIC, Georef, American History and Life, MLA International Bibliography, Business Source Complete, Academic Search Complete and lots of others). Because access to these databases is paid for by the library (with your tuition dollars), you need to log in to Academic Search Complete via the library website first. At the bottom of the screen you’ll click on a link that will send an email with an activation code. After downloading the app, open your email on your phone and click on the link. You will then have 9 months of access. I’ve found this process to be pretty simple and easy – no need to log in every time. The app will connect you to full text articles within the Ebsco databases, and even Geneseo’s “Get it” service for articles found elsewhere.
SciVerse Scopus Alerts – A search app for the interdisciplinary database Scopus. This app can do keyword searching, citation tracking, and alerts for the science and social science literature. Scopus is an outstanding database, but the app has some issues. The biggest problem is getting it to work. You need to remember your Scopus username and password (not your Geneseo username), and even then there can be trouble. While the tech support is responsive, it just isn’t as easy to get started as the Ebsco app above.
Evernote – I recently started using this piece of software on my computer for note taking during meetings and lectures. I am in love with its simplicity and universal usefulness. Take class notes on your computer, then download the iPhone app to access them anywhere. Record voice notes on your phone and automatically sync them to your laptop. Take pictures with your phone and insert them into the notes you’ve already started, or start a new note. The iPhone app syncs with the desktop application so that you never have to guess where a certain piece of information is. Share notes with others via shared notebooks or simple weblinks. I love this app.
Merriam Webster Dictionary – There are lots of dictionary apps out there. This one is free, and has a nifty voice search function.
Mendeley – This app works with Mendeley Desktop and the Mendeley website. It allows you to store and organize your PDF journal articles and book chapters. It’s like iTunes for journal articles: Mendeley will organize your folders for you and you can create folders (playlists) of articles. You can share those folders with others to help you collaborate on group projects. The desktop version integrates with Microsoft word to help you cite your sources. This mobile app allows you to access the journal PDFs you have synced to the web, as well as the ability to search your personal library.
Since I don’t have an Android phone, I can’t comment on the availability or usability of these apps on that platform. Perhaps in another post.
What apps do you use to get your work done?