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Advanced Academic Word Processing

An introduction to Scrivener, a word processor and project management tool.


on 1 November 2012

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Transcript of Advanced Academic Word Processing

An Introduction to Scrivener Don't do this! Features Do this instead! Be Reflexive ADVANCED ACADEMIC WORD PROCESSING: An Introduction to Douglas W. Canfield FR/GR 519: Bibliography and Methods of Research September 27 2012 Your Project in One Place Your Software in One Place I am a very non-linear thinker when it comes to the research process, and with that comes a lot of random thoughts and random reading which quickly generates a lot of disparate ideas that I then somehow have to introduce into the academic writing process, which is understandably very linear and methodical. As with many of researchers, I wrote papers and articles with a traditional word processor. I had separate folders on my computer desktop full of research articles, timelines, sections of my manuscript, snippets of mini-epiphanies I had about my manuscript, outlines, arguments I had cut out of my manuscript, etc. It was chaotic. I had to have several open files when I worked so I could quickly access my notes but spent most of my valuable research and writing time searching for the right file and then looking for the right place in a particular file to work on. I would frequently lose things and spend weeks trying to recover them, sometimes in vain. If I decided to move an idea from one place to another in my manuscript, I had to perform an extensive search to find the spot into I wanted to place it, and if I later changed my mind, it was a nightmare to put it all back again. As I began my preparations for dissertation development and the literature review, the realization that word processors are terrible for writing up these types of projects was the source of much angst. I first tried out Scrivener when I was looking for software that could facilitate some of the things I needed to do with my literature review and research workflow. I was addicted within days. Scrivener allows me to organize my manuscript, research, notes and media files easily and organically. I have a virtual “binder” where I can see my chapters (which I can subdivide to any granularity I need), my research, my notes, and even my “corkboard” (a visual way of viewing and arranging the documents in my binder). And I can arrange these any way I please as my project progresses. My favorite feature of Scrivener is being able to import research files, websites and other media so everything is together in one place. While this sounds rather pedestrian, the ability to link these all together using Scrivener Links makes it easy for me to create a network of cross-references within my project that will ultimately not export from my project when it becomes time to print or compile the project. It helps me to navigate my information quickly (no more lost notes!). Scrivener also does a good job of pulling other software solutions into its architecture. The Bibliography/Citations menu command can point toward my favorite bibliographic manager (I use Mendeley), but be warned that the integration is not as tight as with traditional word processors. Scrivener is still light on bibliographic manager plugins, so you normally have to use your bibliographic manager to paste a citation placeholder into Scrivener, and only after compiling to RTF can you then use your bibliographic manager to scan these placeholders into final print form. This workaround may not even work with your favorite bibliographic manager, so if this type of integration is important to you, you may want to check this out during the free trial period. I also use Scrivener’s built-in synchronization wizard for Simplenote, which allows me to work on documents using my mobile devices (Scrivener is working on an iOS version, which will make this functionality obsolete for me). I use Dropbox to house my files and work on them across my laptops and desktops. Finally, as I need to be tied to a schedule that I can share with my committee, I use Aeon Timeline which allows me to synchronize timeline data directly with my Scrivener project, and to share that project timeline with my committee in several formats. http://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/Snapshots2YouTube.mov http://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/InspectCommFootYouTube.mov http://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/IntroductiontoCompileLarge.mov http://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/ScrivenerDictationAppYouTube.mov http://www.literatureandlatte.com/videos/SimplenoteSyncYouTube.mov
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