A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a morning at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The museum/center is a must-see. It is a powerful place and an important reminder that freedom and equality must never be taken for granted. It quickly became clear that there was far too much information for me to take in, let alone remember. Moreover, I knew that I would want to refer back to it at a later date for both personal and pedagogic reasons.
I could have taken out a pen and paper but that would have been so… 20th Century. Instead, I pulled out my iPhone and snapped picture after picture of both the images I saw and the text describing those images. In all I took 80 pictures. (Ahh, the beauty of digital photography.)
When I got home I imported the pictures into iPhoto and labeled them as “Freedom Center Pictures”. That way I knew I could refer back to them with ease.
80 pictures is a whole lot of pictures, though.
I realized that if I wanted to refer back to one specific description it could take a while to find the right picture. For instance, what if I remembered that one of the pictures was accompanied by text describing Thomas Jefferson’s involvement in this dark period in our nation’s history? Sure I could look through each of the 80 pictures until I found the one I was looking for, but that would be slow and would have required me to read all the text I photographed.
It turns out there is a much easier way to both store and access text images photographed with the iPhone. It is not only fast and convenient, but it reveals that, when combined with the right software, the iPhone is an excellent research tool.
I can, and often do, email the pictures I take on my iPhone right to my Evernote account. So rather than save the 80 pictures I took in iPhoto, I saved them in Evernote. I created a notbook titled, “Freedom Center” and synced my desktop version of Evernote with the web version. Now the pictures were not only archived but they were also backed up on the web.
Evernote isn ‘t, however, merely a repository for notes and images that passively holds them in an organized manner. The true power of Evernote is that text within notes stored in Evernote AND TEXT WITHIN IMAGES STORED IN EVERNOTE is fully searchable. That means that once images are sent to Evernote the text within them can be found quickly and easily.
For example, when I input the name “Jefferson” into the search field, Evernote immediately returned this–
Similarly, when I input the word “Declaration”, Evernote returned this–
It is a fast, easy way to not only store images but to make them easily accessibly, as well. Not only can’t I imagine ever going to a museum without my iPhone again, but I can think of numerous other applications for this same approach.
And that is just the beginning. In part 2 of this post we’ll look at taking this approach to an entirely new level.