• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Annotation and Notetaking Tools

DiRT (Digital Research Tools) has a new home! Please visit Bamboo DiRT to explore this excellent collection of research tools.


There are available downloads, applications, and plug-ins that allow you to take notes, share them with other researchers, attach them to digital resources, and more.



  • A.nnotate.com: an "online annotation, collaboration, and indexing system for documents and images, supporting PDF and MS Office formats...lets you easily give, collect and store detailed notes on documents and web pages" (Free, web-based)
  • Annotator's Workbench: "a software tool that enables depositors to create a collection from a set of existing video files, segment that collection at several levels, create annotations for those segments, assign controlled vocabulary terms to segments, and control access to parts of the collection." Created by the EVIA Project. (free?, cross-platform)
  • Annozilla (Annotea on Mozilla): a project designed to let you "view and create annotations associated with a web page" (Free, Firefox/Mozilla extension)
  • Awesome Highlighter: a plug-in that "lets you highlight text on web pages and then gives you a small link to the highlighted page." (Free, requires Firefox)
  • Callisto: a tool that supports "linguistic annotation of textual sources for any Unicode-supported language" (Free; cross-platform, Java-based)
  • co-ment: "Web-based text annotation...write or upload your own texts, submit them for comments and process the comments" (Free, with fee-based Pro service available; open-source, web-based)
  • CommentPress: an extension to the WordPress blogging platform developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book that enables rich commenting at the paragraph level, available through edublogs  (Free, open source)
  • ConnectedText: "a powerful but simple information management system, based on wiki principles. Indeed, it is a personal wiki system...free-form note-taking and note-management application...freetext database...thinking tool or workpad for your ideas and thoughts...more than just rudimentary outliner...clipboard collection tool"  (Commercial, Windows)
  • Cornell Method PDF-generator: a simple tool to "create custom notetaking sheets" (Free, web-based) [Review]
  • digress.itWordPress plug-in that enables paragraph-level comenting.  Host project on digress.it or download it for use with your own WordPress installation.  (Free)
  • Dispute Finder: Firefox extension that allows "activists" to annotate disputed claims on web pages and "readers" to see those annotations and discover other points of view. (Free, Firefox add-on)
  • eLaborate: "a tool for the preparation of digital text-editions... online collaborative scholarly transcription/annotation and publishing environment, produced and maintained by the Huygens Institute." (Free, cross-platform)
  • ELAN: "a professional tool for the creation of complex annotations on video and audio resources." (Open source, cross-platform)
  • EverNote: an application that allows you to capture information of any kind anywhere and synchronize it across all of your devices: "Take snapshots, read to-do lists, record audio whenever and wherever you like." (Free, with premium service available; cross-platform)
  • FieldWorks Data Notebook: "The FieldWorks Data Notebook was developed primarily as a data management tool for language and cultural fieldwork. It can be used for other data collection tasks, as well." (Free, Windows)
  • Fleck: browser extension that allows you to collect bookmarks and annotate web pages (Free, web-based)
  • Google Notebook: Take notes.  Clip text and images from Google Books and other sources.  Share your notebooks.  [NB: Google announced that it is no longer actively developing Google Notebook but will continue to maintain service.] (Free, web-based)
  • iBreadCrumbs.com: "a recording toolbar for your web browser...iBreadCrumbs.com records all the web pages you visit while you research. Save, review, and share your research with friends or colleagues." (Free, web-based)
  • Journler: "a daily notebook and entry based information manager.  Scholars, teachers, students, professors, scientists, thinkers, the business minded and writers of every persuasion use it on a daily basis to connect the written word with the media most important to them." (Shareware, Mac)
  • Jarnal: an "application for notetaking, sketching, keeping a journal, making a presentation, annotating a document - including pdf - or collaborating using a stylus, mouse or keyboard."  (Free; open source, cross-platform)

  • Keynote: "Tabbed notebook with RichText editor, multi-level notes and strong encryption" (Free; open source, Windows)

  • Media Matrix: "an online application that allows users to isolate, segment, and annotate digital media" (Free, browser-based)
  • MyStickies: "allows you to place little yellow squares of digital paper anywhere and everywhere you feel like in the whole wide web" (Free, web-based)
  • NoodleTools: tools for research and reports: notes are integrated with citation software with prompts for quote, paraphrase and original thinking, provides personal help to user at no additional charge (Free and Subscription, web-based)
  • Notational Velocity: "stores and retrieves notes." Supports incremental search and keyboard input. (Open source, Mac)
  • Notebook: [Review] application which offers a notebook-like interface for organizing digital information such as notes and web pages; users can annotate, search, track tasks (Commercial, Mac)
  • OneNote: Microsoft's digital research notebook, "where you can write down notes, thoughts, ideas, scribbles, reminders, and all kinds of other information...offers a free-form canvas where you can type, write, or draw notes in the form of text, graphics, and images wherever and however you want them" (Commercial, Windows)
  • Pliny: "a tool that works with annotations or notes that you gather as you are reading"; manage and organize notes; take notes on both digital and print resources (Free; open-source, cross-platform)
  • Project Pad: "a project to build a web-based system for media annotation and collaboration for teaching and learning and scholarly applications. The system offers an easy to use "direct manipulation" user interface." (Free; "available both as a set of Sakai tools and as a stand-alone web application")
  • Reframe It: "a web browser plug in that creates a space for comments in the right hand margin beside any web page. In this space, you can read and write comments" (Free, web-based)
  • Scribe: an intuitive note-taking system originally designed for historians: "Think of it as the next step in the evolution of traditional 3x5 note cards. Scribe allows you to manage your research notes, quotes, thoughts, contacts, published and archival sources, digital images, outlines, timelines, and glossary entries." (Free, cross-platform)
  • Shared Copy: can annotate or highlight any web page, share notes; integrates with Twitter & Backpack; create RSS based "read later" reading list (Free, web-based)
  • Skim: "a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file" (Free, Mac)
  • Springpad: a flexible and highly polished notetaking site with an integrated to-do list and calendar, its quick bookmarklet and sharing features make it an excellent Google Notebook alternative--Springpad also supplies dozens of templates that help you structure your various notebooks to your specific task or purpose (Free, web-based)
  • ThinkPort Annotator: "The Annotator can help you look closely at any piece of text created by authors in your classroom or around the world. You can use virtual markers to highlight important passages, questions, thoughts, or other ideas, and add comments that explain what the lines mean to you." (Free, web-based)
  • Tinderbox: visually-oriented and programmable notetaking system, with a strong hypertextual orientation (Commercial, Mac)
  • Vertov: a "media annotating plugin for Zotero...allows you to cut video and audio files into clips, annotate the clips, and integrate your annotations with other research sources and notes stored in Zotero" (Free, Firefox extension)
  • VideoANT: annotation tool for video: "an online environment synchronizing web-based video with timeline-based text annotations" (Free, web-based)

  • VoiceThread: "a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam)" (Free, with subscription available, web-based)

  • VoodooPad: "a place to write down your notes and thoughts. Plant ideas, images, lists and anything else you need to keep track of and VoodooPad will grow with you, without getting in the way. You can even drag and drop folders, images, applications, or URLs into VoodooPad — they're linked up just like on the web." (Free, with Pro version available; Mac)

  • wikidPad: "a Wiki-like notebook for storing your thoughts, ideas, todo lists, contacts, or anything else you can think of to write down." (Open source, Windows)

  • Xournal: "an application for notetaking, sketching, keeping a journal using a stylus." (Free, Linux)

  • YahooNotepad: "a site where you can write a short or long note to yourself about anything you like, save it, and access it later from anywhere on the Internet. You no longer need to use email to send yourself a reminder or note to self, you can use Yahoo! Notepad and access your notes by logging on to Yahoo!." (Free, web-based)
  • Yawas - Web Annotations for Firefox: "a firefox extension to highlight web pages.... Your highlights are stored in Google Bookmarks." (Free, browser-based)
  • Zotero [Review]: an excellent Firefox-based research tool that lets you manage bibliographies, take notes, download resources, analyze your research, and more (Open source, cross-platform)




See Also:


Comments (1)

Joseph Provenzano said

at 10:05 am on Oct 30, 2009

CircusPonies Notebook belongs on this list - is an excellent Mac-based notebook app. I have used in for 4 years and it is really one of the best products out there.


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