#E4W Using Evernote for a Quote, Excerpt or Citation Collection

2.3. Collecting Quotes or Excerpts from Books and Other Paper Sources

Many writers particularly like to collect inspirational quotes on the writing life – from famous authors and writing craft books or magazines. Whether digital or paper-based, I too like to keep quotes and excerpts from my reading material within either a relevant research folder for a project, or in my reading log (also kept in Evernote).

Collecting all of these is a cinch when using an overall notes app like Evernote, because of the many methods for getting notes into the cloud-base.

Jamie Todd Rubin, a Science Fiction author, is the Paperless Lifestyle Ambassador for Evernote. Read his many Paperless articles to get an inkling of how to get things from paper into digital format (and Evernote).

Here’s John Cade explaining How and Why to Build a Quote Collection with Evernote (and he means a collection from books you are reading).

2.3.1. Use Evernote to Photograph the Book Page

moleskine-capture_heroEvernote’s mobile camera options (document, post-it, moleskine notebook, or simply take a snap) create an image note from a physical document. The document cameras are designed with edge detection and image enhancement functions – great for capturing text out of a journal or book.

2.3.2. Scan the Book or Article Pages

Most newer digital scanners or printers with scan functions can automatically save your scanned files as PDFs. You can simply upload these as a note to Evernote, and Evernote will use OCR technology to make the quote text searchable.

Note: there is a special Fijutsu ScanSnap EN scanner with direct to Evernote functionality. This edition is available to Evernote US customers through the Evernote US market. Reviews on this scanner are somewhat mixed.

2.3.3. Use a Citation Collection App like eHighLighter

eHighLightereHighLighter is an iPhone app and cloud-based web service that uses the iPhone’s mobile camera to photograph excerpts from a book or article. It comes with OCR technology included, and provides functions for tagging and taking citation data:-

Scan the barcode of the book, and eHighLighter will go off to reference sites to find the book, book cover image and relevant author and citation data etc.

Your notes can form a citation list inside eHighLighter in MLA, Chicago, or APA styled bibliographies. These can then be exported via email, Dropbox or into Evernote.

eHighLighter mine
This is an image of my original quotes taken while testing out eHighLighter last year. I took two quotes from John Douglas’ ‘Mindhunter’ book. I can click on the “View Original Image” to see the full page upload.

eHighLighter : Website |Appstore

Other Citation/Reference Apps

clipbook iconClipbook has similar photographic clipping functions and also shares to Evernote. But it’s only available for the iPhone.

referenceMe iconReferenceME is the latest, and also highlighted as an Evernote pick recently. It has similar functions to eHighLighter app with scanning of barcodes, and formatting of citations into your choice of style, such as Harvard or APA. Again, iPhone only.

2.4. Collecting Quotes or Excerpts from Digital Books and Magazines or Mobile Devices

Not all quote or excerpt sources are paper-based anymore. If EverClip or the Evernote Web Clipper bookmarklets haven’t got you covered, there are still other options –

2.4.1. Copy/Paste or Screenshot

  • Open the ebook (or PDF) into a mobile ereader app – I use Kindle App or iBooks predominantly.*
  • Highlight the excerpt you want to quote from, and it will normally become a quote.
  • You can either take these via your retail account page online (see 2.4.2. below), or copy/paste from the ebook page (iBooks lets you copy and paste, Kindle App does not) or open the quotes area up in your ereader app, and take a screenshot of the screen.
  • Once you have clipboard copy or image in your device photo album, then open your mobile Evernote app, and create a new note (in your Quotes notebook) – and paste the quote, or insert the image, then add the quote author and source data.
  • With Skitch installed (or Skitch functions inside Evernote) you can clean up the image inside the note too – crop it or blur out any areas you don’t want, add annotations if you like.

* It’s unfortunate that Sony has decided to leave the ebook market, at least in America and Canada. In 2012 they had e-readers which were fully integrated with Evernote.

2.4.2 Getting Kindle Highlights into Evernote (The Kindle App Method)

Evernotekindle-app_thumb.pngAlthough many mobile device reading apps (like iBooks) allow you to copy from an ebook or article page and then simply paste elsewhere (like, oh, into Evernote), Amazon deemed otherwise. Amazon has quite effectively locked down the kindle clips – you have to be logged into Amazon to browse your own page of highlights, the page is hidden well, and there is no RSS feed available.

But most sensible people would like to backup their book reading highlights, and using Evernote is a great way to do so.

Although my Windows desktop Kindle App does allow me the normal copy and paste functions, my Kindle App for iPad does not allow copy. I could use the whispernet sync and wait for my highlights to appear inside the ebook if downloaded to Windows, then copy and paste each individual highlight or quote, or I could take these highlights off my Amazon Kindle page online.

kindle notes online - coolcat teacher

Here’s Michael Hyatt, in a post of many moons ago, telling us How to Get Your Kindle Highlights into Evernote. I must admit that until discovering Hyatt’s post, I hadn’t even realised all my highlights went up onto a website page, as Amazon hides the page so well.

Vicki Davis also explains this more precisely, with screenshots and a video tutorial using the Evernote Web Clipper in How to save your Kindle Notes into Evernote. (One of her images is used above).

For the real technical minded amongst us, Jamie Todd Rubin has just shared prototype code and his process for automating the Kindle Highlights to Evernote flow.

2.4.3. Getting Kindle Highlights into Evernote (the Kindle Device Method, with Clippings Converter)

clippings converter webappFor those with an actual Kindle rather than the Kindle App, your book highlights and comments are kept in a plain text file on the Kindle device. You could locate that file…or use Clippings Converter, a simple webapp tool that allows you to arrange and store those highlights by accessing that text file.

Clippings Converter is a free signup web service, which allows you to store and organise Kindle clippings online. These can then be published to Evernote or exported to Word, Excel and PDF.

Website: Clippings Converter.

3. Share Your Quotes

Don’t forget to share your quotes back – Goodreads lets you share quotes from books on the Goodreads community site. You can also source more book quotes from there by  webclipping from the Goodreads website, or subscribe to their email newslist.

Also Evernote lets me share my notebook of quotes individually and publicly or to specific people, should I want. Shared notes (quotes) can be emailed out as a link, or via Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin. As a premium Evernote user I can also share the whole notebook for collaboration.


Evernote for Writers Square200#Evernote4Writers: This post formed part of an ongoing series to blog a book, “Evernote for Writers”. The posts from this series, offering a guide to using Evernote as a writer, can be found under the tags: E4W, #Evernote4Writers,or #E4W. An index will be provided from the top menu.

#26Tech: This post was a supplement to today’s #26Tech post entitled Quote Collections in Quotebook. You will find the other posts under tag: #26Tech or an index post will be provided on May 1st.

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