Is Your Computer Research Ready?

Now that we’re in the midst of the 3rd nine weeks, the PRIME crunch time for in-depth research papers at MLWGS, invest a few minutes in re-evaluating your home computer to assess its research readiness. Here are five strategies* that may improve your research efficiency when time is short and expectations are high:
  • Speed up your database searching with a password manager; they can log into databases for you and, unlike saving passwords to your browser, make your passwords available from any computer connected to the Internet. Paid products include Roboform; free ones include LastPass.
  • Enhance the organizing power and portability of your note-taking with an app designed for note-taking like the note cards feature of Noodle Tools (requires personal/school account) or free apps like Diigo or Zoho Notebook. If you have Microsoft OneNote, see the next bullet point to ensure you maximize its functionality.
  • Outfit your browser. Install extensions/apps for your browser to make your note-taking faster and more complete. Examples include extensions for Diigo, OneNote, and Zoho Notebook, and the Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer extensions for dictionary look-up and translation.
  • Save a back-up copy in the cloud. Nothing raises anxiety like losing all your work right before a deadline, so in addition to saving your work on your home computer, a flash/thumb drive, and/or your folder on the school server, save a copy in the cloud (online). Currently Windows Live Skydrive offers 25GB for free, 5x more than similar services. However, if 5GB will suffice for your storage needs, you may prefer the interface of a competing service like SugarSync or
  • If you’re eligible for a VCU eID, get one! Many research projects at MLWGS require analyzing primary sources. If you’re in a VCU dual enrollment class, you’re eligible for a VCU eID this semester. In VCU’s expansive databases, you’ll find historical newspapers, primary scientific research, and much more!
*Note: Maintain safe Internet practices and protect your privacy when using these products. MLWGS has no control over these providers or the availability of their products/services.

For more tips on improving your computer’s research readiness, stop by the MW Library to consult your resourceress! Wendy DeGroat, Librarian can be reached at 354-6800 x1101 or visit the website at