For a literature review in our office, about two dozen people are charged with reading hundreds of research studies and summarizing them. This actually comes after an even larger group has the task of searching for research studies and coding them to see if they are appropriate for our review. Most of these studies are in PDF format and not all of us have the full version of Acrobat. The amount of paper that would mean if all of us physically printed out each study – even if we shared hard copies – is mind-boggling. Before I started my task yesterday, I searched for the best way to make notes and highlights on a PDF.
What I found was a resource called http://a.nnotate.com. It’s free (up to a certain limit) and has some features that I really like. You can color-code your various highlights as well as tag and make notes for each highlight. When you’re finished, all of your highlighted text shows up on one screen along with the tags and notes you used. Clicking on the text takes you to that place in the document. While it took a couple of hours to search for the resource, then get comfortable using it, it’s well worth not using hundreds of reams of paper.
Are there other similar resources out there that you are using to annotate PDFs? If so, please share.