I’ve been diving deep into the well of web content strategy as something of a progression of my user experience practice. It’s yet another series of intimate intersections and convergences: usability with copywriting, content management and information architecture, analytics and philosophy. I’ve got years of experience to draw from here, but I don’t have the lexicon, or the grammar to communicate what I’ve learned with folks here in the office, much less to connect with other practitioners.

Time to hit the books.

I’ve been reading Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web, 2nd Edition and Colleen Jones’ Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content. I’ve dusted off Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First, devoured every tasty morsel of Karen McGrane’s Content Strategy for Mobile, and have begun to dip into Content Everywhere by Sara Wachter-Boettcher, and Lou Rosenfeld’s Search Analytics for Your Site. And finally, Erin Kissane’s The Elements of Content Strategy is on my “to read” pile. Stack. Er, list. Sort of. I’ve got no stacks of anything, really; every last one of these are ebooks.

As much as I’m grappling for a collective frame of reference for the buckets of bits that are digital books, I’m struggling too with how to capture my own reflections on the text as I read them. Both iBooks and Kindle offer reasonable toolsets for highlighting text and adding my own notes and marks. But the experience is… flat. It’s in want of a dimension (or two). In short, I’ve come to realize how much I leverage spacial cues for recalling information even when I’m not trying to build elaborate memory palaces, but just trying to make connections between authors and ideas.

And so, I’ve found myself in the very queer position of making old fashioned, notes analog-style — with pen and paper — while reading from my iPad or Kindle. Scratching my thoughts on paper and having a resulting tablet full of notes to replace some of those missing spacial cues is bridging the gap, for now. I hope it’s but a temporary crutch; trading a neatly bound set of printed pages for a messy notebook in my own hand is not a giant leap forward for the whole digital thing.


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