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Bellatrix's avatar

Does anyone use a tablet to annotate readings/books?

Asked by Bellatrix (21146 points ) October 5th, 2012

I apologise for the length of the question here but I want to make sure I give you a clear understanding of my problem and the advice I seek.

I read a lot of academic texts – pdfs and increasingly e-books. I have a Kindle and since buying it have bought many more e-books to assist my research. I never intended to use my Kindle that way but I can get e-books quicker than I can obtain hard copy books and they are usually cheaper. This has led to another problem for me.

I like to make notes (and usually use Word) as I read and copy direct quotes into my Word notes plus including my own thoughts/questions/reminders to look at other texts. I can highlight on a Kindle but I can’t print off those notes and this is a very limited way for me to engage with the materials.

My question therefore is, is anyone using a tablet in a research/academic context and if so, which tablet do you use, do you use a particular app such as ‘Annotate’ and how effective is the app you use. I want to be able to make lots of notes (typed, even I can’t read my own writing these days), and collect key quotes and to be able to print them off to work with as I write.

Any advice would be gratefully received. I am putting this in general but would appreciate full, on topic answers about how other scholars use tablets and annotating software.

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4 Answers

jerv's avatar

I find ezPDF Reader to be THE best PDF app for either iOS or Android. I use it on my Droid X as well as on my rooted Nook Color. And the professional reviews seem to agree with me; if you want a full-featured PDF app with annotation functions for your tablet/smartphone, ezPDF Reader is all you need to know. In fact, I find it easier than anything I have on my PC!

Bellatrix's avatar

Thank you @jerv. I know you aren’t an Apple fan. I am not committed to any brand. Is there a tablet you feel is best for this sort of application? I was thinking of a Samsung tab and the discussion in the other thread about 10” or 7” was interesting.

I will look into exPDF Reader. I have held off getting a tablet because I have a laptop and netbook and a Kindle but I think a tablet would be very useful for reading magazines and recipes in the kitchen but mostly for working on digital texts. If could save me a lot of time if I can annotate them well and then print.

jerv's avatar

Any tablet of decent quality will do, whether it be iPad, Samsung, or Acer. No tablet is better suited for PDF reading/annotation, though I personally prefer a 7” model, which precludes Apple. Of course, some people prefer larger keyboards than a 7” model offers, but I am so accustomed to the one on my 4.3” phone that I find the 7” keyboard perfectly fine.

As for printing, I rarely print any longer, at least not in hardcopy; I “print” to PDFs. If I needed my tablet in the kitchen, it’s small enough to fit in a freezer bag to protect it from splashing, spilling ingredients.

sushilovinfun's avatar

@Bellatrix I know this is likely much delayed, but I wanted to recommend making sure to look closely at the speed of your tablet, as that can sometimes affect the speed of applications. My first tablet was pretty slow and I found reading academic texts quite frustrating as a consequence.

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