for the Genealogist Who Doesn't Know Where to Go Next(click here for the list of topics currently in this series)
I love my research log in Excel. I never did a good job keeping it or using it before I put it in Excel. I also love Evernote. So I tried keeping it there; it made perfect sense. It just didn't work for me. I don't love Microsoft so I tried keeping it in a different spreadsheet program (Open Office or Google Sheets). That didn't work for me either. I've given up; I'm keeping it in Excel. It works for me.
That does not mean it is necessarily the answer for you!Here is a list of things you HAVE to consider.
- Will you actually KEEP the log (i.e. record your research/sources as you research)
- Will you USE the log (i.e. refer to it in future)
- Will you be able find the log when you need it
- Will you be able to read the entries and fit/find everything that should be in the log
I could write on and on about how to keep a log and what goes into a log but instead I'll provide some links. These are just a sampling but are a good starting point.
"Research Logs" on FamilySearch Wiki, https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Research_Logs
Printable research log from FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/File:Research_Log.pdf
Electronic (Word) research log from FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/File:Research_Log.doc
"Getting Organized" from American Ancestors, includes information on research logs, http://www.americanancestors.org/education/learning-resources/read/getting-organized
FamilyTree Magazine "Research Trackers and Organizers" - note that several of these are essentially "research logs" under different names.
Also try searching "Genealogy Research Logs" or "Genealogy Research Calendars," the Google image results may be helpful to see a variety of logs. You can also add the name of a program if you want to see if there is information specific to a program you are interested in. For example, I know there are many blog posts about keeping a log in Evernote.