Five Hundred Miles

 3. Storage

Information in electronic forms is much easier to store and organize for later review than printed material. As much as possible we want our students to know how to take notes electronically, cutting and pasting when appropriate, paraphrasing when desirable. We also want them to be able to search their findings months later with some efficiency and power.


Where do we put all the fish?

On ice?

The information will be more valuable later if it sits within the computer rather than being buried in a pile of hundreds of pages of printed material.

Show your students how to take notes with a database program or a mind mapping program like Inspiration™.

Try one now with AppleWorks or some other database program. Set up the database with sections or fields within which you will be entering your findings.

A standard format may look something like this, but you may tailor it to fit your subject.

 Source (Author,Title,Date,URL)





Subject Words

It pays to teach your students how to develop a relatively brief list of subject words drawn from their cluster diagram. In order to show them the power of a well constructed database, you should give them a chance to explore the searching capabilities of one you have constructed. Show them how subject words support the sorting and sifting which will later help them make meaning of their findings.

If we were comparing three cities, for example, we might use crime, weather, shopping and employment along with each city's name as subject words.


Demonstrate for your students that keywords offer a greater level of detail and work at the sub category level below subject words.

If we were researching crime (from above) in three cities, for example, we might use statistics, murder, trends, violent, prevention and property as keywords.


The abstract is where students save pertinent information. We must teach them to paraphrase and condense, avoiding the cutting and pasting of huge (often unread) blocks of text.

Please do not proceed to the next module until asked to do so.

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Credits: The drawings, photographs and graphics are by Jamie McKenzie.

© 2006, Jamie McKenzie, all rights reserved.
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