Organize Your Research With These Free Web Tools

Taking efficient meeting notes
Getty Images/Sam Edwards

If you're looking for a list of the most useful web tools, especially when it comes to writing, research, or just staying productive online, you've come to the right place. Here are our picks for the best tools on the Web for anyone who is looking to boost their productivity, organize your thought process, keep track of multiple sources of research, or simply optimize your current workflow. Use these resources together in whatever way suits your particular needs.

Web tools for taking notes

  • MyStickies: Place yellow sticky notes on web pages to share with others; collaborate and edit on the fly.
  • Fifty Ways to Take Notes: A fantastic list of fifty different note-taking applications.
  • Google Notebook: An easy way to organize your notes; integrates with many other Google applications, such as Gmail.
  • Yahoo Notepad: A simple yet powerful way to organize your notes.

Specific action web tools

  • SpellJax: Check your spelling online with SpellJax, an Ajax-powered spell checker.
  • Online Calculators: Do any kind of calculations online with free calculators.
  • OttoBib: Make a bibliography for your research papers easily with OttoBib - just plug in the ISBN number.
  • EasyBib: Free automatic bibliography composer.
  • Picasa: A free image editing and organization tool from Google.

Research and study web tools

  • Quizlet: Free online flashcards for learning vocabulary.
  • Wikipedia: You can find information on literally millions of different topics at Wikipedia. Note: be sure to check the primary resources listed at the end of every article on Wikipedia; you'll need those in order to cite sources correctly. 
  • Yahoo Answers: Ask the Web community for help on any question at Yahoo Answers. Note: take these answers with a grain of salt; there's both good and bad to be had here. 
  • SparkNotes: Free online study guides on a wide variety of subjects, anything from famous literary works of the past century to present day. 
  • Zotero: Zotero is a free Firefox extension that helps you collect, manage, and cite your research sources online.
  • CiteuLike: A free online service to help you organize your academic papers.
  • Google Scholar: A simple way to search for scholarly literature on any subject you can think of.
  • Diigo: Collect, share, and interact on information from anywhere on the Web.
  • Cheat Sheets: An amazing array of cheat sheets on subjects from .NET to physics.

    Writing web tools