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Annotating Textbooks


  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Do your write inside your textbooks? (This also includes underlining, highlighting, etc.)

    • Yes.
      20
    • No.
      13


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Many of my (undergraduate) professors have told me that I will need to annotate my textbooks in graduate school in order to keep all of the information "straight," but I've never been able to bring myself to write inside a book -- due to legitimate OCD (viz. running out of ink in the pen and having to use a different color is a real concern). Anyone else similar in this regard?

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Many of my (undergraduate) professors have told me that I will need to annotate my textbooks in graduate school in order to keep all of the information "straight," but I've never been able to bring myself to write inside a book -- due to legitimate OCD (viz. running out of ink in the pen and having to use a different color is a real concern). Anyone else similar in this regard?

 

Buy specific pens in only one color for your annotations. Then choose one brand of highlighter and buy a multi-color pack to differentiate your notes further with, if you need to. I keep black pens and a multi-color sharpie highlighter pack. 

 

My junior year english teacher (in high school) advocated marking up our articles and any books we owned so I guess I just consider it part of the process now. It's certainly helpful to remember things you thought while you were reading, anyways. 

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Yeah, I can't bring myself to write in my books. I use small post-its to mark things in books that I want to remember or to take notes. Recently, though, as much as I can I try and work with pdfs (editable if I'm lucky, scanned otherwise) and highlight things in my file. It makes it easier to search, it shows up in my bibtex, and it's a hell of a lot easier to take with you when move to a new place.

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I don't annotate my textbooks because I don't like having notes in two separate places. Most of the time I will remember what I was looking at when thinking or writing something, but not always. I don't want to have to guess whether to look in my book or my notebook for something.

 

I use the citation for the book or article I'm reading at the header for my notes. As I take notes, I write the page I was looking at in the margin. Every time I turn the page, I write the new page in the margin at that point in my notes. If I start underlining, I tend to get underline-happy and mark up way too much so it's not helpful. Or I find that the stuff I highlight as I'm reading turns out not to be what stuck with me that I want to quote later when I'm writing, so I usually don't bother. If I later find a statement important to reference as I'm writing, I might highlight it then.

 

Definitely color code your notes though. I use a different color for direct quotes, paraphrase, and my own reactions. In addition to preventing accidental plagiarism, this also makes my notes a lot easier to skim later.

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Granted my textbooks are mostly filled with equations, but I've never wanted to annotate any books or notes because my learning always progresses in such a way that what I want to highlight/learn more about/remember today isn't what I need to highlight/learn more about/remember a month from now. I stick to color-coded post-its or separate notes/study guides corresponding to the text. 

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I don't really use textbooks in my classes, the majority of them require us to read articles so highlighting, notes, etc. is not really an issue. However, for the classes I do have to use a textbook for, I generally buy a used version of the book or I purchase an international edition whenever possible (which is often much cheaper and paperback version of the same book. If you are renting textbooks or you plan on selling them, then you obviously can't write in them, so I found a system that works for me.

 

I generally (like you!) hate writing in textbooks and instead I use post-it flags. They are transparent "tabs" that you can write on and use to cover sections of material with. Because they are removable and won't damage the page, you can take them off when you are finished (or when you don't need to review that section anymore) without damaging the book. The tabs can be purchased in a bunch of colors, so I can color code things. It's kind of like using a highlighter (but I am also OCD and hate when the line is not absolutely perfect) but without the hassle and it's not permanent. I like the 1" ones because there is enough room to write an entire key word, but there are skinnier or wider ones depending on your preference.

 

Another option would be erasable highlighters or pens (but in my experience the marks are never really completely removed, which also may bother you).

 

Here are the flags I use: http://www.amazon.com/Post-It-680-EG-ALT-Post-it-Flags/dp/B007Q345SC/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1401551619&sr=8-8&keywords=post+it+flags

 

Hope this helps!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I typically take separate notes, at least as far as textbooks are concerned (most of mine will be reference books). Articles and research material will likely get highlighter or handwritten notes.

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  • 1 month later...

First of all, very few of my graduate classes even had a textbook.  We had a textbook for a stats class, but I rarely used it - I actually borrowed it from the library so I didn't have to buy it because I knew I wouldn't use it again (the book was impenetrable and there are a lot better texts on that particular stats subject).  I had a textbook for epi, and I did annotate inside of that.  But most of my classes used articles and books/book chapters as readings.  Those I definitely annotated.

 

But do you absolutely have to annotate within the books?  No.  You can use post-it notes attached to book pages (which I've done inside of books that weren't textbooks that I wanted to annotate), or you can buy notebooks and write your notes in the notebooks with a note about what page it corresponds to ("p. 2 - wonder about Smith's conception of basketweaving here.")

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