I’ve discovered my research organization finally! It feels so good. After all the years of trying to maiantain file cabinets and accordian files, I’ve finally admitted they just aren’t my style. Binders are good for most things, keeping medical papers together is one of them. We have a binder for each member of the family that holds important school and medical information.

After gathering so many cards for each doctor for my youngest daughter and I, we had a hard time keeping them together. So I got a regular 1″ binder and put in a package of plastic business card sheet protectors. We have several blank business cards. Between the cards we’d collected and blank ones we’d filled out for friends and family, we had our own address book, organized the way that fit us best. If someone’s information changes, we only need to change one card, without effecting any of the others. (I write too big for typial address books.)

So, for research on my book, the best thing to do is binders for the many things that aren’t on the computer. But if I printed everything I’ve ever found, I’d break the bank with paper and ink costs. Not to mention enough binders to hold it all. So I had to figure out a different system for online research. But how to do it while maintaining the information I need without trying to copy and file the entire internet on my computer and re-read it to find a quote or two here and there where I need it?

So, I now have a system that works for me and I thought I’d share for anyone else who might find it works for them. It’s simple and obvious, but for anyone who struggled with it in school, they’ll try to avoid it.

Endnotes. Simple endnotes embedded at the end of the document. So, in MS Word, I get to the end of a word or sentence that needs research, then go to Insert, Reference, Endnote, OK. Where your cursor is, there is a superscripted number. At the end of the document is the corresponding number and you type in your quote.

So, for a full novel, there are lots of quotes and notes to make throughout the book. When you need to insert an endnote between two that are already there, all endnotes are automatically re-numbered for you.

Do this throughout the novel, everytime you stop and research something really quickly for a scene, and you’ll be able to finish with your research already documented and in one place, one file.

I don’t know about you, but my memory tends to work a bit differently. I’ll remember the color of the book I was reading, or the left or right side of the pages, or something totally unhelpful when I want to find something again. Then I’ll grab the blue book with the right size font and search all the left facing pages. That doesn’t help years after you’ve returned all the books..

Ask a librarian for a blue book on a certain subject and see where it gets you. :) I did this in a bookstore once and it was sooo funny to see the facial expressions I got.

Endnotes work for me. You have absolutely no idea how wonderful it is to say I’ve found a solution to something that’s been bothering me. :)

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