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I posted my blog post “Organizing Genealogy Documents With The Help of Zotero” in “The Organized Genealogist” private Facebook Group. One of the group’s members Carolyn commented on the post. She was intrigued by Zotero but was hesitant to learn another piece of software. She like many genealogists uses Evernote for organizing her research. Many other genealogists use OneNote.
I had never tried Evernote but had used OneNote on a four-month research trip to Europe in 2007. It worked fairly well but I remembered that it felt clucky. After the trip, I never incorporated it into my workflow. I still have those old OneNote notebooks and was looking at ways to extract the information that was still relevant and find a convenient way to store them.
This past weekend I decided to take another look at Evernote and OneNote. Afterall a lot can change in 12 years.
While Zotero is free there is a limit to how much online storage you can use before you need to purchase more. The free online storage is 300 MB. Once you use up the free storage you can still add items to Zotero. But if you want access to anything after that in a remote location or you want those excess items in the library synced to a second device you will need to purchase more storage. The unlimited plan is currently priced at $120 per year. With 1000 items in my library I have used 19.5 MB or 6.5%. I do have less than 5 snapshots of webpages included in my library. Prior to adding those snapshots, my usage was only 4.2%. If I start adding a lot of snapshots my free storage will be used up quickly.
One hundred and twenty dollars a year for unlimited storage is not a lot of money but when you have subscriptions to all the major genealogy sites, a couple of newspaper sites, DNAGedcom, and Office 365 it starts to add up.
Both Evernote and OneNote, allow you to create a link to a page/or paragraph. Would this work?
I did play around with Evernote but eventually settled on using OneNote for Windows 10 and OneNote 2016. They are all free but there are some limitations for the free accounts. Evernote’s free account allows you to use 60 MB per month with no total limit. If you don’t have a subscription to Office 365 the free version of OneNote is a total limit of 5 GB.
I have a personal subscription to Office 365 that includes 1 TB of online storage. That’s a lot of storage that I wasn’t using for anything. OneNote for Windows 10 is entirely cloud-based. OneNote 2016 is cloud-based and you can store notebooks locally on your hard drive. One caveat. OneNote 2016 will stop receiving standard support, (no updates or new features) from Microsoft in October 2020. It will receive extended support (security patches) until 2025.
Web Clipping instead of Snapshots
Both Evernote and OneNote have web clipping capabilities. Evernote’s web clipping seems to be a bit better than OneNotes. But for me, there wasn’t enough of a difference to choose Evernote over OneNote. Especially because OneNote is integrated into Office.
There is no doubt that saving snapshots in Zotero eats up storage space. Even if you subscribed to unlimited storage when you save a snapshot and you click on the link it takes you to a browser page that is an exact duplicate of the original page. While this may be useful sometimes most of the time I just want the article or part of the webpage content.
I could use Snagit or the windows snipping tool to capture what I wanted but they create images that need to be named and stored in a folder on the computer. The web clipping tools work differently inside of Evernote and OneNote. In OneNote, a web clip contains the text. That text can be copied into a note in Zotero for searching inside of Zotero. If I am using the web clipping tool in OneNote and clip a newspaper article OneNote applies OCR to the clip to turn the article into text. This saves me time from having to transcribe that newspaper article to paste into my genealogy software or Zotero.
I wanted to enter my blog posts into Zotero. Especially the ones that contain case studies and proof arguments. I didn’t want to use a snapshot. But I wanted to have a copy of what the post looked like on the web.
The first thing I did was to create a Notebook in OneNote “Genealogy Virtual Clippings” I added several sections. Virtual Obituaries, My Blog Posts, Virtual Articles, and Blog Posts.
I Opened up Zotero and OneNote at the same time. Zotero was opened up to the collection I wanted the blog posts to be saved in. OneNote was opened to the section I wanted the clip to appear in.
First I used the Zotero connector to add my blog post to Zotero using Save to Zotero > Save to Zotero (webpage without snapshot). Filled in any blanks in the form that I would need for a citation.
Then I used the OneNote web clipper add on for Google chrome. Selected Article and then Clip.
Here is what my blog posts look like in OneNote.
Once the web clip is in OneNote right-click on the page and select Copy link to Paragraph
Head back over to Zotero. Right-click on the entry and select Add Attachment > Attach Link to ULI.
Paste link in the link box and add a title if desired.
When you click on this link it will open in a browser window and not in the software on your computer.
I really like how this looks both in OneNote on my computer and in the browser and I am using storage in the cloud I am already paying for and was not using.
Getting E-Mail into Zotero My Solution
There is not an easy way to add the content of an e-mail into Zotero. There is an item type for e-mail but there is not a way to link the email to the entry without creating some kind of document (word or a PDF) or to copy and paste the email into a note in Zotero.
I do use Outlook for my e-mail. I store genealogy e-mails in personal folders in Outlook. One feature in Outlook is that you can send an email and/or a conversation to OneNote.
First I created a Notebook in OneNote for Genealogy Correspondence. When you click on the OneNote icon in Outlook a pop-up window opens. In this window, you can choose where you want the e-mail to go.
Make your selections and the email is sent to OneNote. Below is the email in OneNote for Windows 10.
A side note. The icon for OneNote in Outlook is the icon for OneNote 2016. I don’t know if this is because I have both versions on my computer or not. I needed to install OneNote 2016 to open my old notebooks from 2008 and to convert them for use in OneNote for Windows 10. Plus I like the idea of having all my Notebooks on a local drive which is not yet possible in OneNote for Windows 10. You can have both versions open at the same time.
If I want this email in Zotero all I need to do is add the item type E-mail.
Once the e-mail is in OneNote all I need to do is right-click on the page and select Copy Link to Paragraph
Once I have the link I can link it in Zotero by right-clicking on the entry and selecting Add Attachment > Attach to URI
When you click Attach to URI you will get the following popup.
Paste the link into the Link box and add a title if you choose to.
When you click on your link in Zotero, the link will open in a browser and not in the software on your computer. Both Evernote and OneNote function the same when you add a link in Zotero.
I hadn’t used OneNote in 12 years and a lot has changed. For one it doesn’t seem to be as clucky as I remembered. It certainly appears to be a solution to the online storage issue and it does provide solutions to a couple of other items I had not figured out how to handle. There is probably a lot more OneNote can do and I may discover some of them along the way. For now, whenever I am researching on the web both Zotero and OneNote will be open on my computer.
Legacy Family Tree Webinars has several webinars on using both Evernote and OneNote for the genealogist. There are also Youtube videos. I did watch the webinars at Legacy but did not view the Youtube videos.