Reading for writing

Cal Newport outlines the basics of how he reads when working on a project. According to Newport,

The key to my system is the pencil mark in the page corner. This allows me later to quickly leaf through a book and immediately identify the small but crucial subset of pages that contain passages that relate to whatever project I happen to be working on.

For the balance of Newport’s process, see his original post. For broader suggestions about effective and efficient reading, see for example Rick Ostrov’s Power Reading and James Sire’s How to Read Slowly.

A history and future of Google Books

Google Books logoScott Rosenberg has an interesting essay that traces the rise, development and possible future of Google Books and, to a lesser extent, similar efforts like Internet Archive and HathiTrust. Rosenberg’s narrative is largely one of decreasing momentum. He comments,

There are plenty of other explanations for the dampening of Google’s ardor [for Google Books]: The bad taste left from the lawsuits. The rise of shiny and exciting new ventures with more immediate payoffs. And also: the dawning realization that Scanning All The Books, however useful, might not change the world in any fundamental way.

But, interesting possibilities definitely remain on the horizon. While it remains to be seen what of those materialize, Google Books still provides a useful tool in its own niche area.

For the balance of Rosenberg’s discussion, see his original essay.

Linking Zotero to Logos

The Logos Talk blog has addressed integration with Zotero a couple times (1, 2). Another helpful way to connect the two platforms is by using Zotero’s “attach link to URI” feature.

The option can be found via the attachment menu or by right-clicking a particular item in Zotero. The option allows users to specify a name (if desired) and link (i.e., URL) to a given location.

This feature in Zotero can become even more useful when paired with Logos’s ability to export a URL that will open a given resource, even in the desktop version of the software. So, for instance, will open Blass-Debrunner-Funk. Or, will open the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew.

Adding these links in Zotero also has the helpful benefit of indicating which resources in Zotero you have in Logos. I’ve occasionally gone hunting in the library or submitted an inter-library loan request, only to find that—buried amid everything else in a previous Logos base package upgrade or library expansion—I already had the resource there.