tip tuesday–creating your own personalised library

tiptuesdayThis tip idea comes from Simple, Green Frugal Co-op, where Aurora writes about personalising your library by creating your own ‘books’ with information relevant to your needs.

I’ve been doing this for a long time without thinking much about it: collecting, sorting and storing information (in various formats) that is relevant to me. At the end of the day it’s cheaper than buying loads and loads of books and I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for information (call it my passion if you will).

I keep written notebooks with topical information (one notebook per topic). This information may be written notes from borrowed books, or off the net or be from personal experience.

I keep folders of information that I have photocopied or torn out of magazines.

I keep folders on the computer of stuff that I have downloaded, scanned from books, copied and pasted etc.

And I keep and extensive amount of bookmarked stuff from the net.

I love borrowing books from the library. Quite often there is some great information in them, but not on every page and not enough to warrant the book taking up precious shelf space (not to mention the parting with money bit). A few pages photocopied or scanned for personal use is well within copyright laws.

The important thing to collecting information is organising it so you can find it easily when you need it.

When it comes to the computer, use well titled folders, relevant tags on your bookmarks, and a good back up system for creating your own ‘electronic library’.

For physical notes, use dividers or sleeves in binders and separate notebooks per topic (with contents pages) to keep your information sorted and convenient to use. Exercise books cost only a few cents, and dividers can often be purchased cheaply at second hand stores.

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  1. Ophelia says

    In the past I’ve organised information on my computer in the way you describe, and it’s worked ok.

    An option for organising on the computer, especially if you have more than one device, is the free program Evernote. For quite a while I didn’t think it was relevant to me or my needs, but now that I’ve given it a go I don’t want to be without it!

    Ideal for organising recipes, projects, thoughts, notes, anything – you create a separate notebook for each topic. Backup is part of the system, happens automatically so you don’t have to give that side of things a second thought. Websites related to topics can be saved as-is alongside your notes, everything in one place.

    On the other hand, there still is something earthy and satisfying about physically writing something down. Cutting and pasting an article onto a piece of paper. I’m not ready to give up that side of things! And hope I never will. The thing is to use the method that works the best, not be tied to one or the other out of a false loyalty.

  2. says

    Hi Ophelia,

    I’ve used Evernote and it’s a great free note taking / organising programme. I still gravitate towards Microsoft’s OneNote. Not free of course, but I like the way it works.

    You’re so right about doing what works for you. I think at the end of the day we can read all the ideas in the world, but stuff only ‘works’ when we’ve changed it, worked it to suit our own circumstances and made it out own.