My Academic Reading Workflow

My Academic Reading Workflow

Sep 8, 2020



  • notes are saved in a separate .skim file, cannot be extracted in Zotero
  • resolution not as sharp as acrobat
  • only one highlight color
  • no type machine function
  • small and fast, good for note taking

Adobe Acrobat

  • highlights color coding:

    • light green: key word
      • !
    • light yellow: key statement
      • !
    • light pink: method, operationalisation, key results
      • !


  • fast and simple, have all the necessary annotation functions, and can be extracted to Zotero
  • rich hotkey support


  • create child note while reading
  • create notes for: quotation, summary, comment
  • add or modify tags according to Article tags


  • Use MindNode to create a map for the classic literatures/authors

Emacs + Zotero

Workflow in Emacs

  • in Zotero, open the attachment for annotation (set default pdf viewer to emacs)
  • start org-noter, save a new note file, or an existing note file will shown
  • M-i insert note at precise location (create a new heading in corresponding org notes file)
  • document view → notes view: the note heading will automatically expand when scrolling through document buffer. navigate
  • notes view → document view: M-p, M-., M-n sync previous/current/next note, meaning the document buffer will scroll to the location associated with the previous/current/next note
  • org-noter-create-skeleton imports the PDF outline or annotations as notes


comments powered by Disqus

Creative Commons License
This work by Eejain Huang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Powered by Hugo + ox-hugo