historical research in archives

I am working in archives which involves taking extensive notes on documents and sometimes transcribing them.  I want to adapt some software, possibly endnote, to help me manage this information in easily searchable form that allows me to retrieve based on, for example, all document from a certain site, or collection; that mention a certain topic; or are from a certain author.  Ideally I’d like to combine this with something that allows me to create citations as I write manuscript.  It would be great if I could adapt my EndnoteX5 to do this.  Is this reasonable, or should I just bite the bullet and use a different software system.

Just some things to consider and try before looking to another software program:

  1. EndNote has assorted “Reference Type” templates for storing references (e.g., Journal Article, Book, Edited Book, etc.). Would something like the a pre-existing template such as “Ancient Text” or other be suitable?  If not, it might be worthwhile to consider building a custom reference type from the three “Unused” templates. Then you can create fields to fit the citation and bibliographic requirements for your discipline.

  2. You could save your notes in the EndNote “Research Notes” field and also as an attached file (e.g., MS Word, pdf); which can be searched via EndNote’s “Search” Feature. “Search” can retrieve “hits” based on text within the reference type to locate “information…from a certain site, or collection, that mention a certain topic, from a certain author.”  To facilitate narrowing the search focus to a “a certain site, or collection…certain topic” you could: 1) make a list of search terms and enter the specific term for a given reference in EndNote’s “Keywords” field; 2) customize and add new fields to the reference type to enable entering information in a “Site” and “Collection” field that’s specific to the given reference.

  3. When saving your notes in the EndNote “Research Notes” field and as a attached file it might be helpful to include page numbers so you’ll be able to reference them in the in-text citation or bibliography (if needed).

  4. Once you have selected or developed the reference type to store the information, the next is to develop or modify the citatation template to generate in-text citations that conform to the style guide for your discipline.

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