From Women Writers, Women’s Books:
Occasionally someone in one of the various on-line writing groups in which I hang out will ask how people organize their research. It usually generates a discussion of digital versus paper filing systems. And I occasionally weigh in with my own multi-layered, always evolving system of computer files, notebooks, 3 x 5 cards, and the glory of the project box (courtesy of Twyla Tharp). Within that system, one thing stays constant: sticky-notes.
I literally don’t remember what it is like to do historical research without sticky-notes. 3M marketed the first Post-It notes the year I wrote my master’s paper and I embraced them with enthusiasm. Over the years, they’ve become one of the pillars on which my research process rests.
When sticky-notes first came out, they were expensive for someone on a graduate student budget, so I used them sparingly. I cut them in two. I reused them until the sticky strips grew fuzzy and refused to stick any more. I reverted to using scraps of paper as bookmarks. (Because real bookmarks were also a luxury on a graduate student budget.)
Now I use sticky-notes with abandon. I even stopped trying to re-use them about a year ago. (I finally realized the aggravation of losing information I had marked when they fell out a book outweighed the virtuous glow of reducing paper usage one small square at a time.)
At the moment I have a large (and growing) pile of books on the floor near my desk, stuffed with more-or-less color-coded sticky-notes and tabs. The tabs mark sections I want to capture for the books. The regular sticky-notes allow me to annotate a page in a library book with an idea or response to the author. (Because while I happily underline and scribble in the margins of books I own, I do not write in library books. I am not a barbarian.)
Link to the rest at Women Writers, Women’s Books
PG admits to being a heavy-duty sticky notes user from very shortly after the beginning of the Post-It Note in 1980.