Note-taking with NoodleTools

Students at H-B can learn how to use NoodleTools software to…

  • build citations and bibliographies in MLA or APA style
  • launch electronic notecards from each source citation on their “sources screen”
  • apply NoodleTools guidance for developing in-text citations in the paragraphs of their final project.

NoodleTools provides electronic notecards that are automatically linked to the students’ resources.  (After the student has built a citation in NoodleTools, each notecard created from that source includes that citation in the source section as shown in the highlighted yellow at top of the card below.)


Taking notes:

Students use the electronic notecards to avoid plagiarism (by recording the ideas in outline form or paraphrased as they take notes) or (more rarely) by recording the quotations they plan to use.

In their library lessons, the researcher is taught the “Four-corner Method,” starting in the upper right corner as pictured in the next image below.

1)  Immediately record the page number of the source that you are using.

If the resource is an un-paged electronic resource, instead record:

sec. # for section number– example of what to input:  sec. 3

par. # for the paragraph number if you cannot easily identify separate sections of the resource– example of what to input:  par. 7

2)  Most students will immediately re-phrase the content they learned and place it in outline form here.

3)  In the rare case that you locate EXTREMELY PRECIOUSLY WORDED information from your source, copy and paste the exact wording into this section.

4)  You need a title for this notecard.  Keep it specific to this card and brief– only a couple words. Know that you cannot label any other cards with this card title.

5)  Notice:  if you launched the new notecard from next to the citation for that source on your BIBLIOGRAPHY screen of NoodleTools, then you will see the source auto-filled into this portion of your notecard.  SUPER TIME-SAVER, YES????

Apply the 4-corner method tips as shown below:



 Beginning a new notecard:

  • Start on the screen where the students have already inputted their citations:  the SOURCES screen indicated in #1.
  • Launch a new notecard at #2 below, the “notecards” column where it says “new.”
  • Get advice about how to phrase your in-text citation linked at #3.  That advice teaches great style and is helpful at the point that you are writing your paper.

NT bib note launch

Essential Note-taking tips:

  • Each source you use will have many notecards attached.  Do NOT put all of the facts from a source onto the same notecard.  Each needs to be labeled with the specific page or section that it came from in order for your in-text citations to be accurate.
  • Each notecard should be very brief, with only one fact per card. If you think that additional ideas nearby will not go into the SAME SENTENCE OR PARAGRAPH of your final draft, launch a new notecard to record them.  This will enable you to move notecards to sequence them in your own original order in your final draft.
  • Keep separate concepts/facts on separate notecards.
  • It is almost impossible to make a notecard that is “too short.”
  • One of the biggest FAILURES in note-taking is putting way too many different concepts on the same notecard.  You see, you will eventually have an outline for your rough draft, and drag your short notecards into the various sections of your outline.  You want those facts on separate notecards so that they don’t all clump together when some facts will go to the 8th paragraph of the paper, some to the first paragraph, and some might not be mentioned until your thrilling conclusion.
  • You can employ “tags” if you want to label a lot of notecards with the same tag.  Example: #gravity could label all of your notes that relate to gravity.  You can employ multiple tags on the same notecard:  #gravity      #FQ2 Why heavy?      #intro        
  • In the example above, the researcher labels the card with the big concept (gravity) and shows herself it relates to her second focus question (FQ).   Later, she might come back to that card and put a label to remind herself to use that quote in her introductory paragraph.  You can always add tags later by re-opening and editing the notecard.
  • The purpose of your project is for you, as the presenter, to synthesize facts and insights from many sources, but present them in a new, creative style in support of your thesis.  You should not be imitating the exact order of information from your source.  You should not be creating a “quilt quote” that simply stitches together huge clumps of information that are in the same order and wording as your source.  And by all means, you should not be copy-pasting huge paragraphs of information into your project. (The exception is when you find wording that is vital and you have followed the rules for accurately presenting and citing quotations.)
  • Taking notes with this method will avoid all these pitfalls and ensure that you don’t end up with a plagiarized project.  Plagiarism results in zeros, parent conferences and sometimes worse.  (In college, plagiarism gets you kicked out of school.  In the working world, plagiarism can end an academic’s career.)  See the teacher or librarian if you have any questions.  We want to help!
  • If the librarian is grading them, see Grading Criteria reflecting “Best Practices” for Notecards (consult before you turn them in, please) –> link.