I GET MORE from the books I read or the subscriptions I fund when I can explore segments of them in different formats. So when I glance back at highlighted passages through the use of apps, I often recall important points I forgot on my first pass through the material. Nothing helps me through this revision process better than my Instapaper and Readwise.
I've been using Instapaper for five years and watched it move from Marco Arment to Pinterest to Instant Paper. Along the way, I've heard a chorus of objections to its subscription model. Some have noticed the app doesn't save web links. Others object to its lack of a dictionary and a few other features expected of a mature app. But for me, Instapaper helps me get my plumbing in place with my note taking.
My experience with Instapaper has been consistently pleasant. It saves entire web pages from subscription sites and pushes them out to a shared public web address where I can view them with students. This is critical for me because I get to actually use what I've paid to read. In a perfectly tuned academic semester, I can produce a written synopsis of course materials that amalgamates primary sources with student essays. When I synthesize these disparate pieces of content, I'm using several few clever channels. My process starts when reading high quality original content found in my newsfeeds, newsletters, or paid subscriptions.
I wish I could highlight passages directly inside Instapaper so they would appear on Readwise. However, I can get my highlights into Readwise by using Microsoft Word as a work-around.
I have the full mobile version of Word on my Samsung Note 9 and that means I can easily "select all" and then copy and paste thousands of words into my documents archive with simple taps on my screen.
I can send those Word documents to my Kindle where I add highlights and notes. However, I need to import my clippings.txt file from my Kindle to Readwise if I want to capture these highlights for review. The good news is Readwise will soon integrate Roam Research. And it's very simple pulling Kindle clippings into the Note 9.
I can also pull content into Readwise through the Hypothes.is Chrome extension. Hypothes.is gives each user an API token that talks to Readwise. It works well with the Chrome browser on my Dell laptop. I'm looking at getting a Samsung Tab so I can create a Readwise entry directly from my mobile screen.
For as long as I've kept Moleskine journals, I've been trying to refine a system that improves my memory while leveraging the hundreds of euro I spend every year for reading material. My current workflow involves spending both time and money to remember better.
Let me know if you've a similar process or if you have shared your annotated clippings in a public repository. You can see my public Readwise clippings at https://readwise.io/@topgold.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology.]