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Research Support: Productivity & Citation Tools

Productivity & Citation Tools

productivity, n. /ˌprɑdəkˈtɪvᵻdi/

1. The state or quality of being productive.

Sometimes being productive, whether you're taking notes for class or getting organized, can be difficult. Distractions are everywhere! This page features a collection of tips, tricks, and links to tools that will help you organize, prioritize, motivate, and create to the best of your abilities.

Have a suggestion for a resource? E-mail us and we'll add it to the guide.

Taking Notes: Introduction

Note taking: sounds simple, right?

Taking high quality notes can be surprisingly complex and often times difficult. We've compiled a list of suggestions of note taking mobile applications and software, many of them free for use, and helpful resources for taking the best notes possible to help you be as skilled and efficient of a note-taker as possible.

Taking Notes: Mobile Apps & Software


Evernote is a cross-platform (mobile and web-based) organizing powerhouse, allowing users to take notes, save them, tag them with a location, create and organize notebooks, and share them across devices and platforms. Prices range from a free-for-use basic model all the way up to a $49/year premium model, but the free version is highly functional.

Simplenote is a clean and concise cloud-based note taking platform that allows users to share notes, work collaboratively, and easily organize their thoughts in an easy-to-use interface. It is available for OS X, iOS, Android, and Kindle as a downloadable app, as well as a web-based interface for browsers.

Noteshelf is a free iOS handwriting app that turns your Apple device into a notebook, allowing users to hand-write notes using a stylus rather than type and is fully syncable to the cloud using services like Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

Microsoft OneNote grew from Microsoft's stand-alone note taking software to be available as an app for iOS, Android, or Windows phone users along side its presence as a part of the Microsoft Office Suite. UNC Asheville students, faculty, and staff have access to Office 365 for free by visiting the Office 365 portal and logging in with your current UNC Asheville credentials.

The Google Drive suite of applications, available in a web-based platform, Windows and Mac applications, and a mobile app for iOS and Android, gives you free cloud-based storage for a variety of file types and, thanks to Docs, Sheets, and Slides, the ability to create documents on the go. You have full access to Google Drive through your UNC Asheville e-mail address.

Taking Notes: The Cornell Method

Walter Pauk's 1997 book How to Study in College first introduced the Cornell note-taking method and nearly twenty years later, students the world over still swear by this particular note-taking style. Check out this video on the method and give it a try yourselves!

Many thanks to our colleagues at Emory University's Robert W. Woodruff Library for the original link.

Time Management: Introduction

Time management: make time for it.

Time management skills are an absolute must! It might feel like there are never enough hours in the day to study, work, and (of course) relax. Using your time wisely can absolutely cut down on stress and help you produce high-quality work. Here's a collection of applications and some handy tricks to help you manage your time to the best of your abilities.

Time Management: Mobile Apps & Software is a highly functional, easy-to-use free task aggregator that syncs seamlessly across its myriad of platforms including iOS, Android, OS X, Google Chrome, and a stand-alone web application. A favorite feature is the Moment, which is a short review of everything you have on your place for that particular day

Trello is like the Pinterest of the time management world; this free service allows users to build "boards" based around specific tasks either for personal use or for working in a team. It is available for Windows 8, iOS, Android, and Kindle as a downloadable app, as well as a web-based interface for browsers.

Wunderlist offers users across multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, OS X, Windows 7/8, and a stand-alone web interface, the ability to create multifaceted to-do lists and manage them with just a few clicks. Wunderlist joined the Microsoft family of products in June of 2015, so improvements and expansions are coming down the pipeline.

HabitRPG brings gamification and gratification to time management via a mobile app (available for both Android and iOS) or its mobile interface. It is, in the company’s own words, an application that “treats life like a game”. Like in an RPG (Role Playing Game), you earn experience points (XP) and gold to purchase items/prizes for completing tasks, but you also lose health/hit points (HP) for leaving items incomplete.

Google Calendar, available via your UNC Asheville e-mail account, is a fantastic way to keep track of tasks, schedules, and events. The iOS and Android apps sync easily with the web-based platform so you can access your upcoming events from almost anywhere. You can even subscribe to the library's events and hours calendars to keep up to date on what is going on at Ramsey Library!

Time Management: The Work-Life Balance

We've covered how to keep organized and productive, but having a balance between your work (or school) and the rest of your life is at times difficult to do. Nigel Marsh delivered the following TEDtalk at TEDxSydney in 2010 and laid out his vision for how to balance your life between all of the forces within it.

Citation Managers

RefWorks ProQeuest Zotero
RefWorks ProQuest (formerly Flow)
(free for UNC Asheville students, faculty, and staff)
(free for use)
(free basic access)