Friday, November 23, 2012

Take Note at Radcliffe Institute

Take Note was an exhibition and conference presented by the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard Thursday November 1 and Friday November 2.  The focus of this little gem of a conference was on the history and future of note taking. 

Thursday was an opportunity to view Harvard collections with relevance to the topic of note taking.  I slipped into the presentation at the Radcliffe Institute on the range of historic materials in their collection that illuminate the issue of note taking.  From cookbooks to diaries, it was a great opportunity to see how people make more out of a book by adding to it in their own different ways, or, in essence, create their own books from notes and ideas of their own making.

Friday was a full day of panels on note taking.  I was fascinated by the historical presentations that provided insight into table books, early stenography systems, and the beginnings of informational storage systems.  (My handwritten notes below were from the presentation of Tiffy Stern, Professor of English, University College, Oxford University.)

I was also interested in the note taking systems that are evolving for social reading.  I am absolutely going to find a tool like this to use for reading discussions in future classes I teach. 

The wrap-up from a librarian/linguist (Geoffrey Numberg) mixed the historical and the new in review.  In particular, he spoke of the way the modern dictionary evolved from beginnings as a set of notes. 

My own note taking made the news:  New York Times on Note Taking

Here is an example of the notes that I was making on the Ipad.

I had to switch to hand notes when my Ipad battery ran low.

 I almost have to take notes when I listen, or I cannot stay focused on the speaker.  I have to admit I may not go back to the notes, except for a few specific items.  I don't know if I could hear if I were not taking notes. 

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