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Writing: Close Reading is Where Writing Begins


Annotating, or marking up, text on a screen depends largely upon where the text is coming from.  This page will help you use markup tools for readings from the library, PDFs, and websites.

Annotating Articles and Books from the Library

PDF is the key.

Most of the Library's e-book and article databases allow you to download a PDF copy of the e-book chapter, section, or entire article.   Once you have downloaded and saved a PDF version of the text, you can use a number of applications to mark up the text.

  Tip:  Google "pdf markup."  A slew of recommendations, tools, Chrome extensions, and applications will appear.  Choose the one that best fits your computer and pocketbook.


Someone is marking up a pdf on a tablet.If you plan to annotate on a tablet, here are some options.

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader is free and has some annotation abilties, and is a good way to test whether annotating on a tablet works for you.
  • Paid apps abound.  Three that I use include  NotabilityGoodNotes, and Evernote (premium version required for PDF annotation.) There are lots of options for both i0S and Android tablet users.  As above, the search terms to use in an app store are "pdf annotate" or "pdf markup."

Annotating Web Pages

Perhaps the easiest way to annotate a webpage is to download or print it as a PDF, and from there, use programs and apps like those recommended above to mark up the text.

It is possible, however, to annotate a web page directly on the page.

  • Evernote has a web clipper that allows you to capture a webpage, send it to Evernote and annotate it from there.
  • Diigo's Web Collector lets you annotate webpages and PDFs directly from your browser. You can bookmark links to archive webpages or to read later; attach highlights & stickies to a webpage as a reminder; create groups to pool findings, share resources or curate content… and much more.  Diigo is a very flexible tool that is worth getting to know.
  • Scrible can save web pages and provide PDF markup.  
  • Hypothesis is a web clipper that has some cool group and sharing functions.

Note-taking in eBooks from the Library

You can take notes within eBooks as long as you are signed in to your library account.   You may need to sign in a second time to ensure you are signed in to library services beyond access to books and articles.  These services include the ability to save articles to a Personal Folder and to save notes.

How do I know if I am signed in?

Check the ribbon at the top of any library page.  If you see the Sign In button, it means you need to sign again to access these additional services.  If you are already signed in, this area will say Sign Out instead.

If you see "sign in," you need to sign in.

eBooks allow you to save notes that are specific to a page locationThey do not have highlighting or annotation tools beyond the Notes feature.

To take notes in an eBook, use either the PDF or ePub version.  

  • In the left menu of any book page, click on the MY NOTES tab.
  • Choose NEW NOTE.
  • Type your note and click SAVE.

Use the Notes tab while in the eBook to type & save brief notes.

Saved notes go to your Personal Folder.  The notes can be retrieved and printed by accessing your Personal Folder.

  • Look for the Folder icon in the ribbon at the top of any library page.

The folder icon is usually located on the right in the top minibar.

  • Once in your Personal Folder, look at the left navigation for NOTES.
  • From the NOTES area, you can review the notes, print or email yourself your list, or you can view the notes in the book by clicking on VIEW CONTEXT.

Notes are stored in your Personal Folder.