12 December 2011

Tech Tuesday: Research Manager in RootsMagic

Last week, I previewed the RootsMagic 5 Research Manager during a webinar (you can view the recorded webinar here). In the last week, I tried this new tool for myself and compared it to Microsoft OneNote, which is what I have been using to log my research. Here are my thoughts as to the advantages and disadvantages of using the Research Manager:

  • The free-form fields provide a lot of flexibility and, although I do not know for sure how many characters each box allows, I was not able to max it out with any of my lengthy notes. I like to combine my correspondence log in my research log and the free-form fields make that possible.
  • It is easy to transfer To Do items to a Research Log - the To Do items prefill and open in an edit screen.
  • The Research Manager Report is nicely formatted and sortable according to several criteria, including the two I use the most-date and reference number.
  • You cannot view previous entries while typing in a new entry - being slightly obsessive-compulsive, I like to make sure that I am consistent in my data entry in free-form fields.
  • The report column sizes are fixed, which bothers me somewhat because I think that if the date and reference number columns were narrower, the result column could be widened slightly - this is flexibility I have with OneNote.
  • Perhaps the most important of the disadvantages is that there is no way to export information from the Research Manager to an individual record. For example, once you enter the source in the Research Manager, you have to retype or cut and paste to get that information into the Citation Manager. Although this is frustrating, I have to do the same thing when using OneNote.
I have decided that, since the Research Manager allows me most of the flexibility I get from OneNote, but with the advantage of being in my existing database with links to individuals, families, and to do lists, I am going to switch. The disadvantages of using the Research Manager outweigh the inconvenience of having my research in a separate program, especially because I can use RootsMagic To-Go on any computer.

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