Did you know that the amazing Documents app [iOS – free] has a built-in browser? Not only that, but it’s the perfect browser to use when you are wandering through the Internet Archive looking for books, documents and other publications. Why? Because using the Documents browser, you can quickly and easily find, download, organize and read all kinds of historical publications. Here’s how.From the…
Did you know that the amazing Documents app [iOS – free] has a built-in browser? Not only that, but it’s the perfect browser to use when you are wandering through the Internet Archive looking for books, documents and other publications. Why? Because using the Documents browser, you can quickly and easily find, download, organize and read all kinds of historical publications. Here’s how.
From the main screen, look at the tools in the left sidebar and you will see the Browser icon. Tap it to open the browser.
Notice the toolbar at the top of the browser. Tap the three bar icon on the toolbar’s left to display the Documents sidebar at any time. The arrow icons will move you forward and backward as you browse the web. On the right are the bookmark, download and share icons. I’ve typed in the address of the Internet Archive and here’s what the home screen looks like in the Documents browser
Did you notice the SIGN IN item on the site’s toolbar. Internet Archive has a number of useful tools but you will need a free user account in order to use them. Click on the SIGN IN icon to get started. Provide an email address and password to create your account. Once this is done, any documents, books or other items you “favorite” will be added to your My Library page. Tap your user icon in the toolbar and choose My Library to view your personal collection.
Take advantage of the bookmarks feature to easily return to the collections you frequently use. Here you see I’ve bookmarked the American Libraries collection inside the archive and I also have bookmarks to take me to the Genealogy Gophers and my Moultrie Creek Gazette blog. To set a bookmark, go to the screen you want to bookmark, tap the bookmark icon on the browser toolbar then tap the Add to Bookmarks button at the bottom of the panel. When the bookmark panel is displayed, you can use the Edit command at the top right of the panel to reorganize your bookmarks list, delete bookmarks and edit bookmark titles.
In the American Libraries, I used the search box on the left of the screen to look for things related to the area I’m researching – St. Augustine, Florida. I’ve got 106 hits. Not bad! The first four items are visible in this screen. Notice that the item on the far right is a fairly recent – and copyrighted – publication. Because of that I can’t download a copy, but I can “borrow” it to read. A user account is required to borrow things and at times it may mean you can only read it in your browser.
Here is the book I selected to view. In the black space to the right of the book you see two icons. The four arrows icon will enlarge the book so it fits your screen. Use the magnifying glass icon to start a search inside the book. Below the book viewer is the metadata and download area. The three box icons you see on the right just above DOWNLOAD OPTIONS make it possible to favorite, share or flag this document. Remember, when you favorite an item, it is saved to your My Library area.
As you scroll down into the metadata area, you will see the download options available. Since the Documents app can read ePub, text and PDF files, you can choose the one you prefer. Here I have tapped the PDF option. Once I did that the tiny download icon appeared next to it. Tap that icon to begin the download. The Documents app takes over from here.
The strange red thing you see here is the cover to this book. The next step is to tap the download icon in the browser’s toolbar. When the Downloads panel appears, tap the Save Page button at the bottom of the panel.
The Save File panel appears showing the file name of the item and the default download folder. Internet Archive has its own naming conventions, but they seldom make sense to me so I usually rename the file. Just tap the name field then remove and replace the text you want. To move your download to a different folder, tap the arrow icon to the right of the folder line and select the folder you want.
Since there is a limited amount of space on my mobile devices, I keep most of my documents, books and journals in cloud storage. As you see here, I have connected Documents to my iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. The publications you see in this example are stored in the eLibrary folder in my iCloud account. All I have to do now is tap the item I want to read.
One other little goodie. The Documents reader component can also search the text. Tap the magnifying glass icon at the top of the reading screen and it will turn into a text box so you can enter the appropriate search terms. Tap Done and a panel containing the results list appears. The number to the right of the page number shows how many times your search term is found on that page. Tap any text item and you are taken right to it.
Documents’ find/capture/organize/read capability works with more than just Internet Archive. Genealogy Gophers is another great site for finding historical books and publications. I’ve downloaded several of Ancestry’s state research guides using Documents along with speaker notes posted on my genealogy society’s website.
This is just one of many useful and time-saving things you can do with Documents. It is a must-have app for researchers both on the road and at home.
Did you know you can browse the Internet Archive from you iPad? Not only that, but with Readdle’s amazing Documents app [free – iOS] you can browse, discover, download, read and manage the publications you find. Here’s how. Open the Documents app and tap the Browser item in the side panel. Enter the URL for the site you wish to visit, then tap Return. In this example, I browsed to the American…
My first experience with serious research was in high school. Here I learned that research management was best done with the help of index cards. Each fact I discovered would be documented on its own card which would also include the source citation for that fact. As my research progressed, those cards could be arranged and re-arranged on the dining room table to show me both what I had…
My first experience with serious research was in high school. Here I learned that research management was best done with the help of index cards. Each fact I discovered would be documented on its own card which would also include the source citation for that fact. As my research progressed, those cards could be arranged and re-arranged on the dining room table to show me both what I had discovered and what questions still needed to be answered. Later, when I was ready to begin writing my paper, those cards could once again be arranged to help me build the outline and later the narrative.
This system has served me well in business and in my family research. It also migrated fairly smoothly as my analog world moved more and more into the digital world. But, in the last few years, a growing number of developers have been thinking outside of the analog box and began building apps that fully take advantage of the opportunities the digital world can offer. My first experience with this was iPhoto.
At that time iPhoto was the photo-management app that came with my first Mac computer. It was my first real experience with digital’s virtual world. In iPhoto, one photo file could be in any number of places at the same time. Once a photo file was imported into iPhoto, it could be included in any number of albums without having to make copies of the actual file. Yes, this was magic – just more in the sleight-of-hand category. In actuality, iPhoto was adding metadata to the photo file so the app’s internal search function could keep track of everything. At the time, the term “metadata” was not part of my vocabulary, but it didn’t take me long to realize that iPhoto’s keywords feature was my new best friend.
My next digital milestone was also an iPhoto feature – “smart” albums. While I had to physically drag photos into a regular iPhoto album, the smart album was populated using a search of the metadata included in the photo files. Now, all I had to do was create smart albums for each of my families, their localities and any other topic I wanted. I added the appropriate keywords to the photos as I added them to iPhoto and now one family photo magically appears in my Barrett album, my Olson album and my Moultrie Creek album.
It didn’t take long before I was seeing keywords – also called “tags” – showing up everywhere. Blogs have them, Flickr has them, Evernote has them, my Day One journal has them. Keywords and other metadata can be embedded in word-processing documents, spreadsheets and many other user-created files. And now Mac systems includes tags in their file management app, Finder. Wooohooo!
These tools have made organizing and managing my stuff a whole lot easier, but it’s taken longer to break some of my old analog habits. When I first started working with Evernote, for example, I was building notebooks for each of my surnames. At one point I felt like I had more notebooks than notes. Just wading through the list of notebooks to find the one where I wanted to save a note was taking forever. It wasn’t until I adapted my iPhoto experience to Evernote that I really saw its advantages. Now I have one notebook – Family Research – and a simple tag schema along with Evernote’s amazing search capabilities take care of the rest. iPhoto’s smart albums are called saved searches in Evernote but they put everything I ask for on my desktop in the blink of an eye.
Currently I’m working through my photo archive on Flickr – reducing the number of albums in my collection and adding more tags to make organization and discovery much easier. With something like 17,000+ photos, this will take a while. Fortunately, both the online tools and the mobile apps are quite helpful.
How about digital documents? I used Yep! [Mac – $24] to organize my household records. It manages documents in much the same way iPhoto did for photos. I’m keeping my household paperwork and my research files in separate “libraries” and let the app keep things organized so I can easily find them when I need them.
And, there are more organizational projects waiting to be tackled . . .
Although many of the organization and management systems I learned in my analog days have become more cumbersome than useful, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed. One note should only contain one fact – and its source. That’s true now for a digital note as it has been for an index card note.