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My Emerging Knowledge Toolchain

Due to research demands of my self-imposed sabbatical, I wound up stacking up a whole bunch of browser tabs across multiple computers, windows, browsers, etc. It was a bit appalling.

The breadth of the types was outstanding as well. Long form web articles. GitHub repos of interest. Academic papers from arXiv. Academic papers from other places. PDFs from all across the web. Email newsletters stuck in multiple GMail accounts. And plenty of plain old web pages for one project of note or another.

Not to mention the bits and bobs trapped in my RSS feed reader stars and my podcast app.

I finally got some time this week to sit down and begin dealing with this knowledge sprawl. There had been some prior investigation on tools worth picking up and growing into. Here’s where I am at the moment:

  • Omnivore, for stashing long web articles to read later
  • Zotero, for academic reference and paper management
  • Zotfile, to shift papers from Zotero into a Dropbox folder
  • Pinboard, for parking links of interest
  • Goodnotes, an app recommended by a colleague for annotating PDFs
  • Apple’s “Books” app for reading technical books

So far so good. All of these apps bridge macOS and iOS which is great since I’m deeply wedded to the Apple ecosystem and I especially want to put my iPad to good use. They also seem to have reasonably decent browser apps as well. Omnivore and Zotero have solid cross browser plugin extensions that make it easy to shovel content in directly from a web page being viewed. For Pinboard, I just do it the old fashioned way, with a JavaScript bookmarklet. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that saving bookmarks on Pinboard has advanced a bit. Might be time to try yet another browser extension.

Early doors, but mopping up those open tabs is going to plan. Next I have to make all that capture productive. Leaning towards pulling obsidian into the mix since it has nice integration with Omnivore. Then I’m contemplating some linkblog experimentation via various APIs in combination with Pelican’s static site generation capabilities. Fun times.

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