Customizing Your Gospel Study with "Notes" Print
Written by Sharon Howell   
Wednesday, 05 August 2015

Did you know you have your own personal, private online space at LDS.org to collect your gospel content and notes and organize your gospel study?

If LDS mobile apps are your primary source for gospel study, you should know about the tools that are available online in Notes (also called Notes and Journaling). This “study space” is where all the bookmarks, tags, highlighted passages, and notations created in Gospel Library apps or online at LDS.org come together and stay in sync.

Tools available at this site help you organize the results of your gospel study, edit or remove items, and filter and see items you have categorized.

The interface is also very helpful when you are preparing a talk or lesson plan because as you are browse resources across LDS.org, you can gather all your ideas, authoritative quotes, and scripture passages together in one place, then download or print the results so you are not dependent upon the meetinghouse Internet!

To access your study space, sign in at LDS.org and open Notes from the “My Account” menu. You can also use the “Open Notebook” link on the black toolbar at the bottom of your browser window when reading in the scriptures, Church magazines, lesson manuals, and conference addresses. A third way is from the “Scriptures and Study” menu at LDS.org, by picking “Study Tools” and then “My Notes.” You’ll be cued to sign in with your LDS Account if you have not done so already.

Navigating in Notes

The Notes application was formerly known as “My Study Notebooks.” It consists of Notebooks (folders), Types (annotations), and Tags (topics). If you’ve not organized what you’ve saved through mobile apps, you will need to do some work to create notebooks, add items, and tag or categorize your entries, but once you’ve done that your ability to reference, retrieve, modify, and use the results of your studies will be of great benefit to you. Directly within Notes you can add your own personal thoughts and reflections as journal entries, add those to notebooks, tag them to customize your study experience.

Using the Notebooks, Types, and Tags in Notes

There are three different types of annotations: 1) Bookmarks, 2) Highlights, and 3) Journal entries. They are “unassigned” or free-floating in your online space under “All items” until you put them in a Notebook and add Tags to categorize them. Highlights are usually the most common and are not color coded in the interface. All entries that are unassigned are sorted in descending date order by default.

Tags work like topics in a topical guide. Adding tags to passages you highlight allows you to filter out information later across many notebooks. You can create Tags using a toolbar option while you read, or afterward from within the interface by using the “edit” button for an entry.

Bookmarks are created while reading to save a reference point. In Notes they appear with a partial title and truncated version of the content to let you know a little about the reference point. From within Notes, a bookmark will take you back to the source when you select it and click on the title in the right pane. Passages you have highlighted work similarly.

You may add a journal entry directly into the interface using the link at the top with the plus (+) sign, or from the “Journal Entry” link on the black toolbar at the bottom of your browser screen. Adding personal notes using Gospel Library toolbars creates journal entries in Notes online. Such entries are limited to 650 words in plain text formatting. There is no counter to tell you when you’ve exceeded the limit where text will automatically be truncated, so keep your journal entries short. To help you check your word count, you can also copy and paste plain text from a word processing program into a journal entry.

Notebooks act like file folders for highlighted passages, bookmarks, and journal entries that you want to group together. When you select a notebook, you see only those things that you have added to the notebook. They are primarily an online feature. Though they appear in the mobile apps in one form or another, they are not as versatile. In Gospel Library iOS app, for instance, you create pages, but the toolbar while you are studying doesn’t let you add directly to a page. You may copy and paste, but that doesn’t bring the source line over with the citation. One of the best things about online notebooks is the ability to re-order items within a notebook by dragging and dropping the items as they appear. In the online space, notebooks are sorted alphabetically by default.

Tips for Web Browsers

If you are a Windows user, hold down the “Ctrl key” while clicking “Open Notebook” on the desktop and your default web browser will open a new tab. You can switch back and forth between your reading location and your study space in Notes. This works similarly to the “Add Screen” feature in the Gospel Library mobile apps. If one web browser doesn’t work well, try another. Use a web browser from your mobile device and switch between reading and your “study space.”

Developers are working to add functionality to make your experience more standard. You will find good documentation and tips under “Help” at the bottom of Notes online and through an active group discussing functionality on the LDSTech Forum.