Once your find and evaluate information, eventually we begin to possess enough that we need to organize it in a meaningful way. This allows us to quickly retrieve information as we need it. According to Curtis Newbold, “The Visual Communication Guy”, there are five ways to organize information: location, alphabetical, time, category, or hierarchy (LATCH) (http://thevisualcommunicationguy.com/2013/07/20/the-five-and-only-five-ways-to-orgaize-information/). With the amount of content available online today, it can be quite a challenge to collect and organize information so that we can easily find it later.
When organizing information found online, it is often a good choice to utilize technological tools to help you. Many of these tools utilize organizational terms that make it easier to retrieve digital information at a later time. These organizational terms are “tags” and “hashtags”. In overly simplistic terms, tags are key words connected to bits of online information (e.g., web pages, articles, etc.) that allow you to recall all information tagged with that specific tag at a later time. Hashtags are similar, originating as tags, but with the pound or hash (#) symbol added to the front. Hashtags are used to categorize information primarily found in social media, but has spread to other types of online information. Tags and hashtags are methods by which to categorize information into groups and has created a Folksonomy where users categorize information.
Hashtags have become so prevalent, specialized search engines and analysis tools have become available like https://www.hashtags.org/.
My Personal Journey to Organization
Following are several different types of online tools that provide a vehicle for organizing online information. However, it is ultimately up to you to employ these tools in a way that allows you to store, retrieve, apply, and share information. Decide how you are organize the information using the LATCH system, then arrange sources according to the system you develop. I use OneNote and organize a single notebook into seven sections: Work, Projects, Meetings, Professional, Personal, Archive, and another older Archive that originated in EverNote.
The first three sections: Work, Projects, and Meetings are all used during the course of an average work day. Work stores my lists, temporary notes, and documentation while Projects and Meetings store meeting agendas, minutes, and information. The difference between the two sections is that Projects are arranged by overarching ongoing projects that have eventually have a conclusion (even if they might continue with maintenance) while Meetings is for regularly scheduled meetings that occur during the normal course of business.
Professional organizes my professional service beyond the scope of my duties at work including organizational service/membership and presentation notes and outlines. The Personal section organizes information about church, storm spotting (a hobby), vacations, information about my vehicles and house, etc. Finally the last two sections, Archive is old sections that I don’t need anymore by am afraid to delete and the older EverNote Archive are all my notes that I migrated to OneNote from EverNote in
Online Resource Saving/Organizing/Sharing
Pocket (https://getpocket.com) allows users to save and tag webpages to be viewed later. Users can search saved pages by tags and access saved pages from virtually any internet-connected device. The note-taking tools mentioned below are also capable of saving and sharing articles but Pocket does it in a way that nothing else does.
Another tool designed to store online information is Zotero (https://www.zotero.org/). This free tool is designed to help you collect and organize online resources and will even help you build a citations page.
Finally, one other tool available is Diigo (https://www.diigo.com/). Diigo started out as a social bookmarking site which would allow you to create lists of online resources and share them with other people (and it still does this!). One really cool feature of Diigo is the ability to add sticky notes to webpages that only appear for you or for someone with which you have shared the resource.
There are a variety of visual organizing tools available on the market. These tools allow you to rapidly introduce ideas and organize them into cluster-maps and other visual representations. Here are two free online mind-mapping tools: https://bubbl.us/ and https://www.mindmup.com/.