Document-Management Tools - Tech Learning

Document-Management Tools

from Technology & Learning Quick tips for saving time, space, and patience. I use a number of digital technologies to make myself more productive. While many of my academic colleagues would benefit from using some of the same tools, faculty are often unaware they exist. The following are a few of the
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

from Technology & Learning

Quick tips for saving time, space, and patience.

I use a number of digital technologies to make myself more productive. While many of my academic colleagues would benefit from using some of the same tools, faculty are often unaware they exist. The following are a few of the productivity tools that are particularly helpful with my academic writing.

Adobe Acrobat (Full Version)

Professors often have the free Acrobat Reader software installed on their computers so they can read PDF documents. Fewer have the full version of Acrobat, and most don't understand everything they can do with it. For example, I use the full version constantly to save timesensitive material from the Web onto my hard drive. If I find a temporal Web site such as an online newspaper article that will disappear after a few days, I click on Print, change my printer to Adobe PDF, and it's mine.

Acrobat also helps on the document-production side. The full version of Acrobat allows faculty to create a password-secure document that can be read but can't be altered. Researchers can publicly share their writing while simultaneously preserving the document's formatting and their intellectual property. Some universities are even using Acrobat's ability to embed multimedia to create digital dissertations that include audio and video, not just text and images.

Sheet-Fed Scanner and OCR Software

Who doesn't wish they had less paperwork? A sheet-fed scanner and some good software can make that dream come true. I'm partial to the Fujitsu ScanSnap line or the scanners from Visioneer, but any duplex scanner (one that scans both sides of the paper) will do. I'm pleased with my recent purchase of Nuance's OmniPage document-conversion software. A quick scan turns my memos, articles, reports, monthly bills, and other papers into searchable PDF or Microsoft Word documents. I then throw the papers into the trash or shredder, knowing that I can retrieve them again digitally in just a few seconds—and the amount of paper I have lying around is drastically reduced.

Desktop Search Engine

We academics tend to be document pack rats. We never know when we'll again need that article from 20 years ago or that important report from last year. Archiving or converting documents into digital versions allows their contents to be searchable. I no longer have to remember what I named a file or in what folder I put it. I simply open up Google Desktop, type in a short phrase, and a link to my document pops up. There are a number of desktop search engines that are both powerful and free.

Screen-and Video-Capture Software

Sometimes what I want to capture onto my hard drive isn't text. I use screen-capture software to grab graphics, tables, and diagrams off my computer screen. TechSmith's SnagIt software is widely acclaimed for this purpose. At other times I may want to capture a video. There are a variety of Web sites that allow you to download video from sites like YouTube and Google Video. TechSmith's Camtasia Studio is a good solution for this task also.

In a future column I'll cover additional tools that help me stay organized and efficient. Until then, remember it is important to comply with all copyright restrictions and terms of usage when using the tools I described. While you may be able to capture and archive content for personal use, further dissemination may be prohibited by the creator of the work.

Scott McLeod is director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) at Iowa State University. Reach him at mcleod@iastate.edu or www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org.

Featured

Related

If you've seen one document camera...

Listen to the podcast Question: What criteria should we be looking at when comparing document cameras? The IT Guy says: For a technology that hardly existed a few years ago, document cameras have really gone through an amazing upgrade path very quickly. Here are a few things to consider as you compare

Product Guide: Document cameras

from Technology & Learning Document cameras are becoming a staple for schools. Here's a rundown on the latest and what to consider before purchasing. Document cameras have come a long way from the big, hot overhead projectors of the 1960s. Today document cameras (also called visualizers or document imagers)

Writing in the Cloud - online documents

Listen to the podcast Question: What is the advantage of using a service such as Google Docs? I already have a word processor on my computer, so why would I choose to use an online word processor? The IT Guy says: The increasing power and ubiquity of the Internet makes it possible to provide online

How To: Incorporate Multimedia into Documents

Want to jazz up your presentations and documents? Try using multimedia-a mixture of text, audio, video, graphics, and images. Most major computer-based tools support their use. For example, you can put video into a Word document, audio into Inspiration, and more. Why use multimedia in a document? Research studies

Mobile Managers

Student Information Ace Software ADM 2000 Principalm Platform: Palm 4.0 or later (memory card slot required) Designed as a mobile interface for ADM 2000 Student Information System software, ADM 2000 Principalm provides secure access to data via Palm handheld devices. Administrators can access student demographic

Classroom Management Tool for iPad Announced

JAMF Software has announced new classroom management capabilities with Casper Focus which allows teachers to ensure that all students are using their iOS devices in the ways the technology was intended.

Knowledge Networks

from Technology & Learning Showcasing quality, academic work that remains isolated on the Web. The blogosphere and the Internet are both examples of complex, self-organizing networks. So too is the world of academic publishing. Some faculty members are prolific article and book writers. Their publications