Research note-taking workflow on iPad

I have used DTPO for years and finally found a workflow to help get my review of materials (cases, books, and law reviews) into something that I can actually use to write, once I’m at my desk. Lately, though, I’ve been spending a lot of time in situations where using an iPad is my only option for a few days and was hoping to use DTTG, but I can’t figure out how to make it work with my one-note-per-idea workflow. (I learned to research using notecards and haven’t found a system that’s worked better for me.)

On the desktop, using a modified annotation template, I make one RTF per quote, and my notes go below the quote and pinpoint citation. When I’m ready to begin writing, I use DT’s various search functions to pull relevant RTFs for each section of my outline, and drag those notes into Scrivner to work on the first draft.

I would really like to move the note-taking part of my workflow to my ipad, but I can’t figure out how. DTTG sync works like a charm, and capture has worked well from what I’ve tried, but that’s not what I need on my iPad with no internet access. Annotating PDFs works very well, and highlights sync, but I can’t see a way to get those annotations into text files that are searchable with DT later. The closest I’ve come is to have DTTG open with my reference file in one pane and the notes app open on the other pane, copying and pasting the quote with the DT link into a note and then importing my notes into DT, but I see little value in this given the extra steps necessary.

Is there another app or workflow that will help? I get scripting iOS isn’t going to happen, but there has to be some iOS solution for taking notes on research collected in DT that I can then import or index into DT to continue using its search functions. Thanks for any suggestions - I’m at a loss.

Given that you can only have maximum two apps active at the same time on iOS transferring information from one document to the other is cumbersome. Could you, maybe, describe the worst pain points with a bit more detail, please?

LiquidText is a good option. From DTTG, Open In … LiquidText. When you’re finished annotating there, “Export” the PDF to DTTG, where the annotated document will replace the original in your database (so you only have to deal with the latest version). Back in LiquidText, “Export” the “Notes Outline” and use Copy to Clipboard. Then, in DTTG you press “+” to create document, past the clipboard, and save as RTF. It’s a couple of steps but you don’t need to use Split View to try to work with the documents side by side.

You might want to check out this post on automating extractions of annotations from Liquidtext. [url]Sending annotation to DTTG]

korm and kseggleton - thanks, I’ll check out Liquidtext in more detail.

The two biggest irks I have are each related to not having my template of quote, source, and then notes automatically created. The first is having to copy and paste the quote and then the page link and then format everything correctly every time. The second is that the first annotation on the OS automatically links to the source document and vis versa, but not on the iOS. I usually use the first annotation to index the rest of my annotations-notes, so that link auto-populating the URL field is very helpful.

It’s also a lot of clicks to get anything done including just creating and saving a new RTF, which makes me feel like it’s slowing me down more than just annotating the PDF and doing the rest on the desktop later.

OK, so you are using the Annotation template on the Mac. Yes, that is not available on iOS due to the limitations in automation. Annotations with links to their original document should work on iOS too, however. Item links work across the Mac/iOS barrier.


This sounds exactly what I’m looking for as a work flow. I’ve been struggling using bookends annotations system, but they are hard to extract. (I’m a sente refugee - I used to do all annotation in Sente and use a script to extract as individual notes to DEVONthink - I haven’t found a simple way of doing that with bookends)

I was expecting to annotated in DEVONthink and use a simple notepad in split screen on the iPad to jot things down as I go. This looks like a potentially better option.
Kore, do you also save a liquidtext version in DEVONthink in case you want to review the annotations, or do you only put the notes and the pdf in?



There is a way to export the Bookends notecards via Applescript. You can check out this script on the Bookends forum You could export to a folder indexed by DevonThink or to finder folder with a folder action that sends the contents to DevonThink