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February 23, 2011

Two Thumbs Up for Springpad! (A Review & Tutorial)

I've been using a nifty little free productivity program (app) called Springpad. It's similar to Evernote which I also use and really like. But I'm kind of getting Springpad and having fun with it! Springpad is designed to help you organize your daily life in an effective and visually pleasing manner. Best of all, it's free.

Springpad has plenty of templates for organizing the most common work-related tasks such as shopping, recipe planning, grocery lists and so on, but users  can easily create their own custom lists of tasks. You can also write notes and save them in folders which you name. I started a folder called "Lorine's Blogs" and in it I keep a list of blog post titles and ideas - topics I might want to write about. I also write some of my blog posts and save them on Springpad rather than compose them directly in Blogger (which is the blog format I use). This also allows hubs to proof-read my posts before I publish them.

Hubs also writes a genealogy blog (Ancestors At Rest) but he likes me to proof-read his posts before he publishes them. It wasn't working well for him to save them as drafts in Blogger, because I couldn't make changes if I wanted or needed to. So now he uses a folder in my Springpad where he writes and saves his blog posts and I go in and add suggestions or correct typos.

How does this work for genealogy?  I'm sure there are many ways I haven't thought of but here are a few I'm working on:

1. You can easily create a research to-do list in the Check List area. Then when you are at a Library or Family History Centre or even a local museum you can easily open Springpad and look to see what's on your list of items. Did I mention you can get the Springpad app for your mobile phone or iPad? That allows you to access your work from any of your devices.

2. In the Task List area you can create a "Task" for each ancestor you are currently researching. Enter some basic facts (birth, marriage, death) as well as location and time periods for that ancestor, and add a point form list of their spouse and children and you have a mini-genealogy group sheet at your fingertips.  I like to list all the census records that my ancestor was alive for - and beside each year I tick off if I have found them (and where). That allows me to very quickly determine if I need to have a search in a specific census year or years.

This is what you see after you create your free account and log in to Springpad. Various templates are available to personalize your Springpad area and so this green one is one I chose.  The "All My Stuff" folder and "Friends" folder are already there. To add a new folder you click on the large +

Inside "All My Stuff" you see Flagged Stuff (items you have flagged) and Alerts (items for which you've set a reminder). Then you see Types and under that are your choices of Notes, Tasks and Check List. Simply click on one and start writing or open a previously saved item.

The last section is Tags. This is where you will see tags (keywords) that you have added to your notes which help you find and organize what you've added. One of my Tags is "Sharing Memories" This is a tag I will add to any Sharing Memories posts I write and save in Springpad. By clicking on that tag, all my posts tagged with that phrase will display for me. I've tagged several of my notes with the words "Interviews" and "RootsTech" Clicking on either of those keywords brings up all notes or tasks for that tag.

Under each file you have created, there are tiny icons which display in bold with a pop-up one line of text to explain what each is for. One is to add tags (keywords), one toggles privacy (you can make your posts public or keep private),  one toggles the Flag status and one allows you to add the note or task to a notebook.

There's much more you can do with Springpad but let me leave you with this brief overview. As I play around with it over the next few weeks I should be able to write more about this productivity tool.

It'd be great if readers could jump in with their own ideas or uses for Springpad for genealogy.

Non-Disclaimer: I really like Springpad and receive nothing from the company for telling you about it. In fact they've never heard of me and don't even know I'm writing this review/tutorial!


Anonymous said...

I would love to know, when you have used the application more, how it is different, the same, better, or worse than Evernote.

Rosemary said...

So would I. While I've used Evernote for a long while and find it really useful, I'm always open to new software apps.

Rosemary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Edith Minnemeyer said...

After reading your review I immediately checked it out and decided to download it. I've been using Evernote for a lot of my genealogy notes, but this looks a little bit more useful. I must admit that my iPhone and iPad have certainly made my genealogy research so much easier. I use MacFamily Tree and can carry my entire database around with me. Fantastic.

Audrey Collins said...

Thanks for pointing this out. It certainly looks interesting and my initial impressions are that it is fairly intuitive to use. I love new toys, especially free ones!

Genealogy Blogger said...

I am finding more and more genealogical uses for Springpad the more I play with it. I plan on writing another blog post about other features ASAP. I really like the suggestion about comparing it to Evernote and hope to write about that too.

I'd love to hear from readers who use either Evernote or Springpad with their impressions or lists of pros and cons! You can write me at olivetreegenealogy(AT)gmail(DOT)com

a3Genealogy, Kathleen Brandt said...

I love reasons to procrastinate. My schedule for the weekend included reviewing Evernote. But since I don't use Evernote or Springpad, I think I will want to launch one AFTER I read comparisons. Thanks for introducing Springpad to us!

Anonymous said...

Coming from Jenn's mention of our post on Climbing My Family Tree... I am an APP WHORE! I swear they have saved me so much time, though I am always looking at my phone :D I had used 2Do for a while, but it wasn't for me... then I have been using Paperless... but this... Springpad... just downloaded it based on your blog! Can't wait to check it out & try it! Thanks!

Cheri Hopkins aka You Go Girl #2 & Sweetwater Sherry said...

THANKS FOR THE GREAT TUTORIAL. You should be doing this for the website. It was great help to get me started as I have been looking at Springpad, just wasn't sure about taking it on until I read your blog post. Thanks again!

Rebecca said...

Thank you for introducing me to Springpad and Evernote. They both sound like something I can use.

Just found your blog today and it has clued me in on a couple of things I will want to look into soon.

I am a farmer's wife who has several hobbies, one of these is genealogy. I bought an ipad recently in part so I could take my genealogy with me.