In addition to planning information seeking, you should consider planning information management, such as storing the information you find and arranging and naming files.
Information management includes, for example:
- how you name files and different versions of your work
- how many backup copies you have and where have you saved them
- where you work on and store your written work done as a collaborative effort
- how you collect references on books and articles and where you store them (reference management)
To avoid unnecessary work and mistakes, plan your information retrieval carefully and always write down your plan and the search process with its different stages, especially if you are doing a very extensive search. It is easy to return to well-documented plans and events later.
For managing your notes, you can use, e.g. OneNote and OneDrive which are included in Microsoft365 ProPlus package.
When you are writing an academic text that contains many bibliographic sources, you can use a reference management program to manage your citations. Popular reference management tools include Zotero, Mendeley and Endnote.
Raymond had come so far in his studies that he was finishing and revising his thesis. He also asked his friend Nelly for help with proofreading. The two friends found the text to be fit for submission and did not notice any more mistakes. Raymond was about to submit his thesis when he realised it lacked all source references.
He had forgotten to note down the sources while working on the thesis. Raymond returned to the University library and began to desperately look for his sources in various databases and books. He typed away at his computer in such a frenzy that the computer crashed. It would not start, and Raymond did not have a backup of his thesis.
Raymond missed the thesis deadline because he spent the following week searching for and recording the sources he had used. He paid a large sum to a computer company to fix his computer and recover the files. “I wish I had been smart and kept a record of the source references from the beginning and made backups of my work,” Raymond thought to himself with a sigh when he finally delivered his thesis. Nelly was pleased that she no longer had to listen to Raymond’s fretting.
Learn more in the chapter on backing up files in the Student’s Digital Skills.