Society Evernote

We are all aware of Evernote‘s fabulous note-taking capabilities, but what about its collaborative features? One very useful way those collaborative tools can be put to good use is the management of society publishing projects. It’s tough enough to keep all the contributors updated and maintain deadlines when everyone’s nearby, but it’s even more difficult when contributors are spread around the world. Evernote can make life a whole lot easier for editors and contributors of a society or family publication. Let’s take a look.

By taking advantage of Evernote’s shared notebooks feature, a society editor can create a central location for posting publication schedules, submission guidelines and even templates. Authors can submit their articles, along with any associated image or graphic files – by posting them within that issue’s notebook.


In this example, the Moultrie Creek Online Historical Society Journal is a notebook stack (a collection of notebooks) containing a notebook for each active quarterly issue. At the moment, the Spring issue has been defined as a shared notebook which currently contains Formatting Guidelines, Issue Notes for this issue and one submitted article. Although any Evernote user can create shared notebooks where invitees have read-only rights, only premium users ($45/year) can share notebooks where the invited users have the ability to add, edit and delete notes. Those contributors can be Evernote standard users – only the shared notebook’s host needs a premium account.


Sharing a notebook is easy. Here, I’m using the desktop app for the Mac. Right-click on the notebook to be shared, then click the Share Notebook option from the popup menu.


Evernote allows you to share the notebook with anyone or to restrict access only to select individuals. This is the option we want to use. In this pane, click on Invite individuals to access this notebook.


Enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite, choose the Modify this notebook option so they will be able to create, edit and delete notes and check the box requiring them to log into Evernote. When each author has her own Evernote account, this shared notebook will appear as a folder in her Evernote app. You can also enter a message which will be sent with the invitation as soon as you click the Invite button.


Your notebook’s shared settings will now show who has access to the notebook and provide the ability to invite others, send a message to all your invitees, remove people or stop sharing this notebook all together.


Now, your Evernote app – and those of each of your invitees – shows a notebook icon which displays the shared status of that notebook.


When your authors visit the publication’s notebook, they can review the notes you’ve left for them as well as add their own notes. For example, in the note titled Spring Issue Notes, authors can add article ideas for review. The editor can accept of reject articles or assign authors to specific sections or topics. This note also insures that everyone knows the deadline for submissions. A note containing the formatting guidelines for article submissions would be another very useful addition to the notebook. You could even make template files available if you wish. And, since any user can create formatted notes that include images, you could even require that author’s submit their articles as notes.

Should something happen that requires immediate action from all contributors, use the shared notebook’s settings pane to email a notification to everyone involved in this issue’s publication.

Once an issue is published you can stop sharing this notebook and get the notebook for the next issue ready for action. Notes – like the submission guidelines – that will remain the same from one issue to the next can be copied to the next issue’s notebook.

Other ways you can use Evernote to support your publication efforts include:

  • The editorial staff may want to maintain a notebook with contact information for current and potential contributors. Should your “editorial staff” include more than just yourself, it could be shared with the entire staff. This would also be a good place to brainstorm ideas for future publications and discuss other issues related to the publication.
  • If your authors also serve as peer reviewers of each others’ submissions, set up guidelines on how those edits should be performed and who will have the final decision on which changes will be made.
  • You can keep an archive of old issues in a separate notebook stack – moving issue notebooks from the active to archive stack as needed. And, when you pass off your editorial duties to another, you can export your notebooks and forward them to the new editor who can then import them into her Evernote.

With the growing number of people in the genealogy community using Evernote to support their research efforts, you’ll find it easy to implement it in support of your society’s publishing efforts. See if it doesn’t improve the workflow for all involved.

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