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Magazines > Information Today > March 2016

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Information Today
Vol. 33 No. 2 — March 2016
Note Hound: Turning Highlights Into Actionable Sources
By Brandi Scardilli

When researchers want to cite Kindle ebooks and PDF documents in their projects, they can turn to the Note Hound ( highlight manager to keep track of these sources. Available as a web application for PCs and Macs, Note Hound helps researchers “fetch” their highlights and bring them into a single collection. They can tag the highlights with citations (from the Zotero reference manager); search by author, title, or content to find the highlights they need; build a project from those highlights; and output that project as a Reveal.js browser-based presentation, webpage, or Word document.

Creator Graeme Summers developed Note Hound so he could quote and reference his sources more easily while working on a book. “I would gather my source citation information (for Kindle books and PDF articles) using Zotero and output them in the required citation style to Note Hound. It was then simple to search, select and order my highlights to construct an argument or to develop a train of thought,” he says. Note Hound removed “the arduous task of re-typing quotes from hard copy or cutting and pasting paragraphs and forgetting where I had copied them from.” Because most documents can be turned into PDFs, Summers says, “a wide scope of sources can provide imported highlights.”

Summers recommends that Note Hound users access Zotero’s standalone version for PCs and Macs to add references to Note Hound. (Those who do not yet have Zotero can view a tutorial that is linked from Note Hound’s webpage.) Summers says Zotero is stable and reliable, with functionality that is particularly relevant to Note Hound: The Zotfile plug-in extracts highlighted text from PDF files, and Zotero facilitates the creation of Citation/Bibliography lists from a group of selected items in a variety of citation styles.

“Note Hound has the unique capability to work at ‘highlight’ level—allowing the easy selection and organisation of quotations from different sources either for quick reference or collating well referenced documents,” says Summers.

“Research managers like Zotero are fantastic ‘article’ level software solutions. … Note Hound therefore extends the power of Zotero to allow the fast search and selection of PDF and Kindle highlights,” he says.

Note Hound’s project page displays researchers’ selected highlights as “quotations” with the in-text citations from Zotero. Then they can reorder the quotations and add notes, headings, lists, images, and other annotations using the integrated editor, says Summers.

Summers plans to expand the how-to documentation on Note Hound’s website “to help users quickly grasp the full range of Note Hound features,” he says. “At this time my aim is to hone this service for Zotero users who want the benefits that Note Hound provides. The future shape of the service will be guided by their feedback.”

Brandi Scardilli is the editor of NewsBreaks and managing editor of Information Today.
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