Read Faster: How Amazon Kindle Makes Research More Efficient

kindleRecently, I posted how Evernote has modified the way I work as a historian. The Kindle Touch also has changed the way I work for the better. Amazon Kindle helps me read faster and more efficiently with its my clippings feature. For reading, I find my Kindle better than my iPad because it is lightweight, easy to hold, and easier on my eyes. I am also a big fan of Kindle's "My Clippings" feature, which Amazon does not include in the Kindle app.

As with the Kindle app, the Kindle device allows you to make notes and highlight text.

To highlight text on the Kindle Touch you briefly hold your finger on the word that starts the passage you want to highlight and then trace your finger to the final word of the excerpt.

When you lift your finger off the device the software asks you whether you want to highlight the text or add a note.

If you press the "add note" button the Kindle gives you a blank note bubble where you can write down your thoughts on the passage.

Unlike the Kindle app, the Kindle device adds all of your highlighted text and notes to a file called "My Clippings," which you can access via the home screen or from your PC or Mac. The fact that you can download and modify this file on your computer represents the best part about the Kindle because it is can be a HUGE time saver.

I use a pencil to bracket passages and make margin notes when I read a book.

After I am done reading, I spend a lot of time transcribing these important passages and notes into Zotero or Evernote.

The "My Clippings" feature saves me a lot of time. When I finish reading a book on my Kindle, I load the "My Clippings" file onto my computer and then cut and paste my note and passages into Zotero or Evernote.

Although I love my Kindle, it does not always make my work easier.

Not all of the books I want/need to read have page numbers associated with them.

This presents a problem in that I have to look up the passages I highlighted in the actual book in order to properly cite them. Sometimes this process cancels out the time I saved by downloading the "My Clippings" file. As I have yet to find a way around this problem, I sometimes have to decide whether or not it might be better to purchase the hard copy of the book over its eBook version. My decision usually comes down to the weight and size of the book and the price difference between the two formats.

With that said, the Kindle has increased my productivity.

I read more with Kindle. Whenever I go out I slip my Kindle into my purse, briefcase, or backpack so that I have it when I sit in waiting rooms, travel, or find myself with a free moment. If the eBook has page numbers I also save a lot of time using the "My Clippings" feature to keep track of and transfer my notes into my research files.