I’ve been a Kindle reader since September 2010. I love it. The point of reading an analog book (paper book) has been completely overshadowed by the utility I’ve found in being able to digitally highlight phrases, sentences, words and quotes on the Kindle–and then search those things later–on my computer.
The fact that I can go back to any book in my digital library and skim through my saved notes and highlights has revolutionized the way I consume and research material.
Of course rifling through your notes and marks in analog books is entirely possible…but difficult…namely for 2 reasons:
- Post-it notes fall out.
- Pen highlights aren’t inherently indexible (searchable).
What if there was a way I could search through all of the notes and highlights I’ve created in my entire library all at once? Would that not bring new usefulness to my entire collection? Yes. Yes it would.
But that’s where the problem arises isn’t it?
How do I collect the aggregate of underlines, highlights and notes from all of my disparate eBooks and place them into one single, searchable repository? That way I have one place to search for the amalgam of my amassed research.
Let’s say, for example, that I want to keep track of every instance that the date September 26th is noted in every book that I’ve read. As it stands now, with things being un-unified as they are, I can underline those instances in each of my Kindle books. But then I would have to go back to each book I read, and pull up either my notes, highlights or do a search and create an index by hand from what I find. What a bummer.
With the new system, all I have to do is log on to some website, or open up some app, or even tab into a portion of the Kindle app, and there I find every one of my notes and marks faithfully stored in their entirety, regardless of what book or material they were referenced from.
This isn’t making a searchable index of the complete text of every eBook I own. It’s merely making a searchable and unified index of all my notes and underlines I’ve curated along the way in the different books I’ve read.
It’s purely a research tool to remove the silos separating my books from each other.
How about this: How about I log onto a site that’s similar to Pinboard.in or Delicious? This is my very own repository of Kindle bookmarks, notes and highlights. Here I can search all of my bookmarks, regardless of if they were created in The Complete Works of H. P. Lovecraft, Bulfinch’s Mythology or a manual on how to colonize the moon. From here I can sort notes and highlights by book, date, author, or add a tag…for further sorting later. The point is that there is one place I can go to research all my notes rather than having to dig back through each individual book one at a time.
Perhaps the objection here will be that this will make copying easier. I don’t know how much easier it could possibly be? The Kindle application here on my Mac makes it pretty easy to copy and paste entire sections of my eBooks into documents. So I, on that score, I don’t see where this is a problem.
It’s a simple application. Connects automatically with my Kindle devices/accounts. Unifies all of my notes and highlights across all of my books. Only makes eBooks that much more indispensable.
Our notes and bookmarks are already on the cloud. Isn’t it time they were allowed to visit each other?
April 16, 2012