Note-taking is an important part of a technical communication process. A typical project can move from the account manager to the project manager, and then onto the technical communicator. Sharing information gathered at client meetings with project team members is often done through internal meetings and phone calls, handover documents written in Word, and other related files uploaded to a SharePoint folder. This type of approach works, but it can be slow and time-consuming.
There are some new(ish) note-taking approaches for students that might also work for technical communicators. We’ve described them below.
The Rocketbook Wave and the upcoming Everlast Notebook are reusable paper notebooks where you transfer your notes into the Cloud using your smartphone. Both notebooks work by you using Pilot FriXion pens. In the case of the Rocketbook Wave, you can erase your notes using your microwave oven (or hairdryer) and reuse the notebook. With the Everlast, erasing is done using a damp cloth.
While notebook costs and storage issues are important to students, they are unlikely to be of much concern to technical communicators. You could use the same note-taking system, but with different “hardware”.
The “Bullet Journal” method of note-taking
The Rocketbook notebooks contain dotted paper pages, similar to the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted notebooks, and they are often used in conjunction with the Bullet Journal method of note-taking:
We’ve yet to test the Bullet Journal method, but it might mean that it’s possible for others to read handwritten notes and reduce the need to transcribe them into written notes.
Transferring your notes into the Cloud
There are three popular Cloud storage systems for note-taking: Evernote, Microsoft OneNote and Google Keep. You can use your smartphone to scan your notes and upload them as images to the Cloud. The dotted paper notebooks, such as the Leuchtturm 1917, should improve the scanning image quality.
You can organise your notes into electronic notebooks within these applications, and also add tags to add metadata (See I’ve Been Using Evernote All Wrong. Here’s Why It’s Actually Amazing).
Into those online notebooks, you can also clip web pages and insert files, such as Word documents. It’s never easy to get everyone to use a new application, so OneNote has the advantage of being part of the Office 365 suite and easily integrated with SharePoint. Unfortunately, custom tags can’t be created currently in OneNote for Mac, and this may be an issue for some users.
Which methods do you use?
Please about share your ideas and suggestions below.