If you’re anything like me, then daily scripture study is not always an organized affair. I gave up on digging out my beautiful, leather-bound scriptures long, long ago, and my manuals only see the light of day if I have a class to teach. For a long time I felt a little bad about it – like digital scripture study was for the weak. Real men make time for real manuals, or something. But times be changin’! Church members are encouraged to use digital resources, and regard the opportunity as a blessing.

Consider this. In the recently released announcement for 2017 curriculum, teachers are encouraged to use digital materials as much as they can.

Where possible, the Church is encouraging both students and teachers to use digital versions of 2017 curriculum materials, which can be found on LDS.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app. If you haven’t tried the app, now is a good time to experience the ease of preparing, teaching, and learning from a library of gospel resources that fits in your pocket. 2017 Curriculum Announcement for Children, Youth, and Adults

However, digital resources, while convenient, come with their own challenges. One of the biggest obstacles to digital scripture study for me has been the difficulty of saving meaningful notes. In my hap-hazard shift to digital study all note-taking and highlighting ceased. This is something I knew needed to change. Within this blog I bequeath to you all the knowledge I have gained in my quest to master the notes section of my LDS account, accompanied by strategies for organization. May the note taking begin!

Get to Know the Terms and Concepts

  1. Types – Journal entries, highlights, links, and bookmarks are the four different types of notes that can be saved to an LDS.org account.
  2. Notebooks – Notebooks are a collection of journal entries, highlights, links, and bookmarks organized together. If you don’t assign your notes to a Notebook they will automatically be associated with the notebook named “unassigned.”
  3. Tags – Tags are words or phrases that you associate with a journal entry / highlight / bookmark to organize them. You can assign multiple tags to each type of entry. For example, you might tag 2 Nephi 2:25 with “Agency,” “The Fall of Adam,” and/or “Happiness.” The key to tagging is to focus on themes you’re interested in. Trying to tag every possible principle in everything you highlight, link, bookmark, or journal would be too cumbersome and time-consuming.
  4. Bookmarks – In both the Gospel Library app and on LDS.org you can bookmark
    a resource you are studying. There are several icons used for that functionality but they all include a little bookmark ribbon. (see the bookmark button image to the left for an example.) Bookmarks can be tagged, assigned to a notebook, or associated with a note on LDS.org, but not in the Gospel Library app. Tapping on the bookmark icon can allow you to easily jump between different sources you have bookmarked, or move a bookmark from one place to another. Bookmarks sync almost instantly from the app to LDS.org.
  5. Highlights – Highlights can be made in the Gospel Library app and on LDS.org. They appear just like Highlighted sections in a physical book would, and will transfer seamlessly back and forth between the app and LDS.org. They can also be tagged, assigned to a notebook, linked to other materials, or associated with a note. Any tags, notes or Notebooks linked to a highlight will appear as a reference in the footnotes for that article or scripture.
  6. Links – Links can only be made in the Gospel Library app, but links made in the app
    CAN be viewed on LDS.org. Links allow you to tie one source to another, like linking one scripture to another scripture for clarity. The icon for Links looks like a chain. Maybe one day linking will be possible from LDS.org, but it’s been in the app for years and hasn’t appeared online yet.
  7. Journal Entries – Journal entries are basically notes that aren’t attached to a highlight, link, or bookmark. They can be tagged and are usually associated with Notebooks. Each journal entry comes with a date. This date is the last time the entry was modified (which includes adding new tags.) So if you want the date the entry was written to be permanently associated with a journal entry, make sure and write the date in the journal entry itself, in the beginning, the end, or in the title. Journal entries don’t have a unique icon, but the “make a note” pencil icon is used for it when it applies.

Come back next week to check out the next blog in this series “How to—A Guide to Digital Note-Taking”

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