19. Find It. Keep It. Get Happy

Most of us know the frustration of hunting through folders and piles of papers for an elusive but urgently needed document. Following a recent course on research information management, Oxford researchers told us that on average about 20% of their writing-up time is actually spent looking for notes, files, or data that they know they already have somewhere.

In a bid to help academics reclaim precious research time, the team that brought the successful "Organising Humanities Material" and "Tools for the Humanities" courses earlier this year now offer guidance for researchers online, in a new section of the Research Skills Toolkit.

If you browse the toolkit by research activities, the "Managing Information" link brings you to the new section. Here you can find suggestions about organising your sources and notes, and learn about software tools and services to help you keep on top of your research information. There are tips on managing references, linking notes with data, backing up and versioning your files, and drafting data management plans.

Information management may not strike everyone as the most thrilling of topics, but the potential rewards are great. After attending the "Organising Humanities Material" course, one researcher told us: "I’m getting more and more organised and happy now! It changed not only my ways of working, but also my mood and my attitude."

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