There were a few comments that got caught in the move, but brought up valid points that I wanted to address.

Brum wrote:

I tried the tablet and it did not work for me. I think it is more important to get all your data and (immediate) thoughts into one database. I use the Evernote software to do this. I scan all readings into PDF and pile all the snippets and ideas into EN, tag them and retag them with hierarchical tags until the structure of the paper emerges. EN can do handwriting as well, but I rarely use it now. The ability to take a note from PDF or add new idea with confidence that I find it later is the important thing (no more thousands of doc files or OneNote sheets); handwriting isn’t.

I’d be interested in hearing more about how you are using tags.  I created ones for key subject areas of the literature review as well as methodology, but I would be amazed if the tags stay as they are now.  My biggest current Onenote worry is that its tagging capabilities won’t be up to the task.

The tablet showed up today, so once I install it I will be able to experiment with how much handwriting works.  But that leads me to another thought…   Jeremy wrote:

This has been one of the areas I’ve struggled with and haven’t come to a good conclusion. A question: Does Onenote allow a link/embedding to a PDF file of the article? A strength of Zotero is the ability to drop a PDF into it which copies the PDF into the Zotero library allowing an easy backup.

In general I think I’m futzing too much with my system and just need to press forward.

Onenote does allow you to link to a PDF document, although I still do that into Zotero.  The goal of Onenote is really to create a consolidated place for my notes that can be searched and organized in a way that I can find them again.

However it was this last sentance that really resonated with me.  It’s so very easy to keep playing with the system and avoid actually using it.  I’ve been known to do that with GTD implementations, and I am quite obviously doing it with the tablet.

Finding that balance between futzing and improving a system is critical;  In the end, it’s about putting something in place that you will use and building the habits to make it useful.  For me, that means setting a hard deadline.  After this week I’m going to use what I have for a month and then revisit it.  I might change at that point, or I might not.  But to move forward, there has to be an end to the planning and a start to the work.  That will be Saturday.