Knowledge Management Tools for Academic Legal Researchers


We’re going to look at 7 different tools that will help you develop a more efficient research work flow. It is not expected that you’ll use all the tools, but most students find that they’d have a hard time living without two or three of them once they see how the tools make their research lives easier.

  • The tools we’ll look at are:
    • Desktop Search,
    • Zotero for citation management,
    • Evernote for saving general notes, capturing web pages and pictures for future reference,
    • JotNot Pro to take the place of a photocopier,
    • Google Drive for collaborative document editing,
    • Google+ Hangouts for online meetings and document co-editing, and lastly
    • backup options so that your digital life is safe.

Before you move on, please make sure that you have a Gmail account, and have signed up for Google+, as you’ll need access to a Google account for the exercises in this module (and in the next class). If you don’t have an account, you can sign up here:

A. Desktop Search [youtube=]


  1. Using your desktop search tool, see if you can find a paper you wrote last year.
  2. Also using your desktop search find all the emails you’ve received from a friend. How many were there? (if you don’t see any emails in your desktop search you’ll need to add your webmail account to your desktop email program).

B. Zotero – The Social Citation Manager [youtube=]


  1. Install Zotero stand alone edition –
  2. Install the Zotero browser plugin for your favourite web browser.
  3. Open up a paper you are working on and lookup a couple of references in your web browser.
  4. Save those references to Zotero.
  5. Insert a new footnote & import reference from zotero. Do this for at least one other reference.
  6. Create a bibliography using the zotero plugin for word.

C. Evernote – Capture anything, access it anywhere. [youtube=]


  1. Install Evernote on your laptop & smart phone (if you have one).
  2. Capture a couple of web pages about a topic that interests you, and tag them with “alrw test”
  3. Take a picture of a white board or piece of paper that describes the topic of interest to you. Share the note that includes the picture, and post the shared URL to the moodle board for this lesson (the OCR can take up to an hour for free Evernote account, so don’t be worried if you can’t successfully do a full text search on your picture right away).

D. JotNot Pro – A photocopier / Scanner in your pocket [youtube=]


  1.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, install the free or paid version of JotNot on your device.
  2. “Scan” a two page document.
  3. Email a PDF of the document to yourself.

E. Google Drive – Collaborative Document Editing  [youtube=]


  1. If you haven’t already, create a Gmail account for your self (at and then log on.  Press the “DRIVE” icon on the top menu.  or
  2. Paste a couple of paragraphs from a paper you’ve written into the document.
  3. Insert two footnotes & drag & drop references from Zotero.
  4. Share the document with a classmate or friend.
  5. Edit the document at the same time as them.

F. Google+ Hangouts: Group Video Conferencing & Collaboration [youtube=]


  1. Log-on to Google+ at the same time one of your friends is online, and experience a Google+ hangout for yourself.
  2.  Open a Google Doc during your hangout and collaboratively edit a document together.
  3.  Share your screen with your partner.

G. Backing Up Your Data [youtube=]


  1. Do you have a 3-2-1 backup solution in place? Do you at least have a cloud backup of your important files? If you don’t, now would be a good time to install Google Drive, DropBox or OneDrive.
  2. Explain to a friend or family member why it’s important to backup important files.

Leave a Reply