Wulf's Webden

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Reading and Highlighting

This afternoon I’m enjoying feeling on top of things at work (doubtless illusory!) so have put a little time into reading an information security related book I picked up a while back: last summer in fact, although I haven’t made much progress yet! I found the blog post on that but what I was actually looking for was the guide I’m sure I wrote myself on the system I had developed for using different coloured highlighters in Mendeley, my bibliographic reference manager of choice. I can’t find it; I wonder if instead I contributed it to the forum of the Open University module I was studying at the time?

I’ve now finished my allocated reading time and have marked up the overall structure of the book (yellow – that was Mendeley’s original highlighter colour and I do recall that I was using that for structural notes). I also skimmed back through earlier reading to remind myself of the patterns I had developed and, before I turn back to other tasks, I want to make a clear note on my own blog. So, within the colours currently available on the Mendeley desktop client, I use:

Colour Meaning
Yellow Structure – such as section headings and dates I studied the material
Green Further reading to follow up
Blue Factual snippets, like key dates
Purple Quotes to remember
Pink Developing my own thoughts based on the material
Red Errors – either possible or glaringly obvious
Orange Questions the document presents
Grey Presently unused

I can’t pretend that I have been entirely consistent and some of these, like yellow and purple, have been used a lot more than others. Also, the colours are fairly random. Yellow became structure because that is a fundamental thing to mark up and that was the only highlight colour available when I started using Mendeley. Red seems an obvious colour to use for errors, from my cultural mindset, but most of the others were picked as the next available colour that I couldn’t remember using before. I probably could retrofit meanings, which might help as a mnemonic device, although even better would be the ability to come up with a scheme first, pick my own colours and retrofit them to all previous documents.

Still, at least having the schema written down for future reference is a good starting point.

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