How to Handle Glut of Research Info Online

” I seem to get sidetracked easily and overwhelmed with all of the family. Is there any other tool or resource that you utilitze to keep focused and organized?”

This is a question from a friend from my years as a public school teacher. I thought I would share my answer.

You have run into the problem all genealogy researchers run into sooner or later. In fact, it never entirely goes away. There is too much info which is obviously relevant, might be relevant, or which you want to explore further whenever you research. It becomes a problem of keeping focus on your original goal. Here are some things I do:
1. Have a specific stated research goal such as a person, events, or family. (Family might be too broad. It depends.) Just browsing can be valuable but it leads to that scatter shot problem you referred to.
2. Take many, many notes. Don’t trust your memory. When online, I take them on the computer.
3. For note-taking, I keep note-taking software open. I usually use a simple, free program called Quotepad. There are some which really automate the process, but I don’t use them. The other thing I do if I don’t use note-taking software is to keep my word processor open. Then I copy and paste info and its url and other citation data into the word processing document. Later I go in and separate the data further into surname or individual person files.
4. I also have started using a free tool called Instapaper which makes it possible to go back and see an entire web page.
At that, I still have the problem you describe. I just try to stay focused.
Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions.

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