TIP of the day: transfering note taking techniques to Logos

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 6 2016 12:15 AM

Description of note taking techniques taken from Jeremey DuVall's "How to Better Remember and Make Use of What You Read"


To reference excerpts from the physical texts she reads, she creates a separate index in the back of the book. The index uses page numbers to mark location and abbreviations to denote the type of passage (quote, idea, etc).

During a recent read of "The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way", I used the index technique to mark passages (pictured above). Here’s my abbreviation key:

  • Q - Quote
  • I - Idea (topics I want to read more on)
  • P - Main Point
  • R - Research (studies I found particularly interesting)

In Logos this translated into a highlighting palette and a search on highlights:



I’ve always been impressed with how Ryan incorporates quotes and stories into his writing. In "The Obstacle is the Way", each chapter or main point is reinforced with at least one to two examples from history. To help him remember and recall the vast amount of material he reads, Ryan keeps a commonplace book, a collection of notecards each featuring a particular quote or passage. A similar system is also used by great minds like author Robert Greene.

While Ryan is reading, he diligently takes notes directly in the margins of the physical text and highlights quotes or passages that he wants to capture later. On these particular pages, he folds up the bottom corner. A few weeks after he finishes the book, he revisits the pages and transfers the notes onto index cards. Each notecard contains a single quote or idea. The ideas are then organized by category, not by book. This way, when he's writing, he can pull up all of the information on a certain category to reference within an article or book chapter.

I haven't followed Holiday’s method precisely by creating my own commonplace book. However, I have done something similar in the past. While reading, I'll still fold over a corner to identify a page for later while marking up the actual text. Then, a week after I'm finished reading, I’ll type the notes into Evernote (more on that later) and tag each note for easy reference in the future.

Logos has its version of this - Clippings - which won't have the effect of copying helping to sear the information into your brain. And I personally would like to have a mark in the text indicating that a clipping has been taken.

Clipping creates the index card or commonplace book.

The Clipping has direct provisions for tagging with topics:

Visual Notes are not supported by Logos.


While I'm reading on my Kindle, I use the highlight function to markup the text. I rely on three different colors to help separate out the types of highlights (similar to the abbreviations in the index method above).

  • Pink - Ideas and words I want to explore further
  • Yellow - Memorable passages I want to remember for later
  • Orange - Books I want to add to my reading list

Kindle users can find all of their book highlights and notes using kindle.amazon.com. This is great if you just want to see what passages you highlighted. However, if you're trying to compile all of your notes in one place that’s easily searchable, you're going to want to move them elsewhere.

Copying and pasting directly from kindle.amazon.com can work, but you'll be spending quite a bit of time editing and reformatting the quotations. Thankfully, there's a handy little browser bookmarklet called Bookcision that can help. Bookcision works by grabbing the notes and highlights from a specific book and then translating them to plain text.

Here Logos clearly supports the highlighting. The Quotes view of the Notes is intended to serve the reading requirement.


Does Bradley's suggestion fix your problem, or did you still want something else?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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