Professional Reading: Annotation Work Flow

When I read professional development books, I prefer them in an electronic format. I like to highlight, add notes, and then use that content in blog posts or as a reference in future situations. With paper books, if I’m going to utilize the highlights and notes, I have to type them to create digital text that I can index. I typically store these notes in Evernote. I tag these Evernote notes in my Diigo library by using the Share button in Evernote and choosing “Copy Share URL.” When I’m looking for resources and references, my Diigo library is my first stop. This is because I read a lot of blog posts and am continuously tagging them in my Diigo library as well. I like having one, searchable, digital, go-to-place for my resources that is online, and accessible wherever I am.

On a side note, while I could, I don’t use Evernote for my complete library of resources because I can do things in Diigo that I can’t do in Evernote like easily share a particular group of resources, follow people, collaborate with a group of people to curate and share resources, etc.

I’ve been using Evernote’s Webclipper on my Amazon Kindle page to transfer my annotations from my Kindle books. However, I think I’ve found something to automate the process even more. Snippefy is a iOS free app that syncs with your Kindle Amazon account to extract all your highlights and notes from your Kindle books, and allows you to easily export them as text or as a PDF. Once you’ve installed the iPhone app and logged in with your Amazon account, you can select books to sync. The free version of the app allows you to sync up to 5 books. Within in the app, you can pay $2.99 to sync an unlimited number of books.

books

Once you’ve synced a book, the highlights and notes are displayed when you select the book. You can use the search field to quickly locate specific information. There are three content options for sharing/exporting notes and highlights from a book:

  • All your annotations
  • One particular annotation
  • Just the annotations you have starred

notes

Sharing channels include:

  • Email: Generates a PDF that is sent as an email attachment. The PDF looks a lot like the image above with each annotation in it’s own little box, which results in a lot of pages.
  • Text: Puts the highlights and notes in the body of an email message for you to send. This is the format I prefer, without the boxes around each annotation.
  • Linkedin and Facebook: Log in to these accounts to authorize the app to access them and it will create posts of your highlights and notes.
  • Dropbox: There is a $1.99 charge to enable this channel.
  • Evernote: There is a $1.99 charge to enable this channel. As a work around, I used the Text channel option and addressed the email to my Evernote email address. This way I get an note with text (not a PDF) of my annotations in my Evernote account.

Some books do have a “Clipping Limit” set by the publisher. This means that only the percentage of highlights and notes set by the publisher will be available for syncing. This may mean that all your highlights and notes do not appear. At this point, I’ve had only one book with a clipping limit, but my highlights and notes did not exceed the limit. Amazon also has a storage limit per customer for annotations. So I typically export the notes right after I’ve finished the book.

I do wish it was an iPad app instead of just an iPhone app, as I do my reading on my iPad. But it’s really not an issue to use the iPhone app on my iPad. With this particular Amazon account, I do not have a credit card associated with it, which makes me feel comfortable allowing this app access to this Amazon account.

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