Question

What's the best app to highlight and annotate documents?

Inspired by @Thirstylizard's question about if anyone uses MarginNote or LiquidText—or similar tools—for research?

When you're researching a topic or reading longform PDFs, which app do you use to connect ideas and take notes?

Mentioned
#Documents #Notes #Polar #Instapaper
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maguay's avatar
2 years ago

The tools I currently use for highlighting are pretty basic:

  • Instapaper for highlighting web articles
  • Kindle for highlighting eBooks purchased from Amazon
  • PDF Expert for highlighting PDFs on iPad
  • A notes or writing app to save favorite quotes from print books

It ends up being a bit of a scattered mess, though as long as I remember the medium where I read something, it's reasonably easy to find a highlight again.

4 points
optemization's avatar
2 years ago

For PDFs and books, I think Polar is pretty good.

3 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @optemization )
2 years ago

Interesting! Do you do your reading inside the Polar app?

1 point
optemization's avatar
@optemization (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

when i was in school, i did a lot of it there yeah. unrelated but (god i'm so happy i dropped out.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @optemization )
2 years ago

What were you majoring in?

1 point
s0ph0s's avatar
almost 2 years ago

I went back and forth with MarginNote and LiquidText for a while. Kept seeing references to Readcube Papers, so I tried it a couple times. At first it seemed too plan and one-dimensional. After a little tinkering I saw that it has what I wanted -- one central place to put documents, annotations, highlights, research references, etc. and SYNC them all between devices. I really love LiquidText's features but until they have a true sync (in progress) and metadata it doesn't really meet my needs. I now have so much stuff in Papers it's amazing, and it's all easily searched.

3 points
Thirstylizard's avatar
2 years ago

Currently, I am looking for the most appropriate tool to do my research , in this case, starting to read the Bible from a beginner’s perspective. I have read the Bible before but was daunted by the complexity and correlated content. I believe I’ll have a lot of questions and notes that I need to refer to different parts of the Bible. I have looked into MarginNote 3 (paid for the full license) and started using Obsidian (paid for Catalyst to support the development. Still not sure which is better tool.

To use MarginNote for this purpose I shall based on the pdf or online version of the Bible.

Very interested in knowing anyone’s experience in this area (or similar use case) and any other apps or platform that I should also consider

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Thirstylizard )
2 years ago

Interesting challenge, though one that may be easier to solve with classic texts than newer books. The biggest problem I have with highlights is that I read Kindle eBooks, highlight in-app, then need to get the highlights out of Kindle and into another app if you want to organize all highlights/annotations together. But then the problem is that the highlights are delinked from the original text, thus you'd have to open Kindle and find the highlight to fully connect the dots.

Would love to see Kindle be a more open platform, and/or for Amazon to build more research tools into it. Alas, neither seem forthcoming.

I've tried putting quotes from paper books in Roam to link together, and that's worked generally well so far—with the same caveat as with Kindle, you need to open the book to find the context later.

With older texts, though, or indie books sold as PDFs, MarginNote and LiquidText both are far more useful since you can highlight the text directly where you manage bookmarks. Or, if you have the plain text (again, something any Project Gutenberg-type book would have), you could import the whole text into a notes/wiki/research app like Roam directly.

1 point
Thirstylizard's avatar
@Thirstylizard (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Agreed, at the moment, Kindle ecology is mainly designed for ebook reading. The strength of Roam Research, Obsidian, MarginNote and LiquidText etc is the ability to link files and annotations that have logical connections, then let us search and may be view the relationship graphically. Interested to know from @optemization about Polar, will look into that

1 point
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