New Student Tip #4: Diigo

I’m sure most of you have searched Google for a particular subject (e.g. New Atheism), found five million results, and given up trying to find a worthwhile post after five or six pages.

Or maybe you’ve tried to refine your search with multiple combinations of pluses, minuses, quotation marks, etc, and narrowed your search down to…one million results. Hmmm.

And then there’s that article you remember reading last year on the subject, but what website was it on? And who wrote it?

Don’t you wish you had your own personalized Google, one that was tailored just to your interests, that would spare you so much of this frustration?

Well, you can. Welcome to Diigo. Strange name, but excellent service.

Diigo Small 1

Simple Bookmarking

I started using this simple bookmarking system maybe 4-5 years ago and although it’s taken 5-10 minutes every day to keep it organized and updated, I’ve saved myself so much time and hassle in the long term, especially when I’m wanting to write articles or prepare addresses on particular subjects.

Basically I use Diigo to bookmark, highlight, and tag every useful article I read on the Internet. You can get a Diigo plug-in for most browsers or your cell phone so that when you read anything good on the Internet, you simply click to bookmark it, highlight any particularly helpful text in the article, and tag it with relevant words.

Fast Search

Now, when I want to search for articles on say “Worship,” I go to my Diigo homepage and enter my search there. That brings up any articles I’ve tagged with “Worship,” gives a brief description of the article, and even shows me any text I highlighted when I originally read it. Soooo much quicker! And if you stick at it over time, eventually you’ve built up your own personalized Google, a search engine that is tailored to your own special interests. A few other neat features are:

1. You can tag pages: You not only save the page to Diigo but add a tag or two to make future searching so much easier.

2. You can annotate pages. You can attach “post-it” notes to webpages and read notes that others have posted there too.

3. You can follow other people. If you and a few other friends in your class join up, then you can follow one another, sharing research resources and saving a ton of time.

4. You can mark articles “Read later.” Instead of seeing a good article, deciding to come back to it later, and forgetting where you read it, you can save articles for reading later, something best done in batches.

Diigo Small 2

As I explained in Tip #3, you can use Evernote to archive blog articles and web resources. However, I’ve found that Diigo is a better system for this specific purpose of saving helpful articles for my research, study, and work. That’s all it does and it does it well, whereas Evernote does lots of other things too.

If you are starting out on a course of study that could eventually become your career, Diigo is an excellent way of building an educational resource that you will come back to many times in the future. I find myself using articles and websites today that I bookmarked four years ago and that I would never have remembered myself.

And yet again, it’s a free service. Fourth tip and fourth free service! Student Nirvana!

Other Resources

New Student Tip #1: Dropbox

New Student Tip #2: Wunderlist

New Student Tip #3: Evernote

Thriving at College by Alex Chediak (for students)

Preparing Your Teens For College by Alex Chediak (for parents of students)

Top 10 Books for Students

Check out

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Am I Called?: The Summons to Pastoral Ministry by Dave Harvey ($0.99)

Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection by Ed Welch (FREE!)

Jesus, the Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? by John Piper ($0.99)

Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue by Andreas Kostenberger ($0.99)

King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex, and Power by Phil Ryken ($0.99)

The Promises of God: Discovering the One Who Keeps His Word by R. C. Sproul ($0.99)

God Who Is There, The: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson ($3.99)

The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived The Holocaust by Edith Beer ($2.99)

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ($2.99)

Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli ($1.99)

Difference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing by Bernadette Jiwa ($2.99)

Top Blogs

Multi-Ethnic Churches Lament America’s Racial Injustice – TIME

America in Black and White: Why Do So Many of Us Respond to Ferguson So Differently? | TGC

It’s Time To Listen (Ed Stetzer hosts series of responses to Ferguson)

Breaking The Silence: When Christian Leaders Speak Openly About Depression

The Children Are Always Included | Gentle Reformation

New Banner Books and Giveaway « THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT

Kindle + Evernote = ♥ | Challies Dot Com

Online Depression-Anxiety Evaluation | Brad Hambrick

Does the Bible Ever Get it Wrong? Facing Scripture’s Difficult Passages (#1): Greg Beale | Canon Fodder

What is the “gift of singleness” and how do I know if I have it? | Highlands Ministries Online

Pyromaniacs: Dear single Christian sister

Leader: Address the Elephant in the Room – Ron Edmondson

Faith Hacking: Individually Shepherding Your Children | Challies Dot Com

My Ideal Seminary Student | David L. Allen

Three Deaths Every Seminarian Must Face | TGC | The Gospel Coalition

Four Habits of a Happy Heart | Desiring God

On Human Cruelty & Selective Application – R.C. Sproul Jr.

Richard Dawkins Is A Moral Disaster


Rosemary And Nancy’s Story
Naomi’s Village is a children’s home located in Maai Mahiu, Kenya. It opened to orphaned children in Jan. 2011 with the hope to one day take in 100 orphans.

Dr. Kent Bradley’s Statement on Being Cured From Ebola

“His Heart Makes Up For Any Lack Of Limbs”
Amputee learns to walk for his wedding day.

Little League Coach Gives Touching Speech To Losing Team
Is he running for President?

David Platt’s Blank Check Gets Written
Pastor David Platt’s explanation of why he is leaving his congregation to take up his position as President of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

New Student Tip #3: Evernote

Life was complicated when it was just paper you had to worry about. Then we oldies only had our desk and “In Tray” to get organized – though even that was a daily challenge. Thanks to the digital revolution, we now also have stuff in multiple other places – the cloud, our phones, our computers, and our email. JPGs, PDFs, DOCs, MOVs, MP3s, HTML’s and XLS’s are coming at us from all directions.

How on earth (or how in the cloud) do you keep track of it all?

If only there was one place that kept everything – digital and paper. And if only it was easily searchable. Oh, and if I could access it from anywhere, that would be amazing too. I guess we’ll have to wait until the next Steve Jobs to design that though.

Do not despair, Evernote is here.


The Evernote process is a really simple three-step process: Capture, Organize, Search.


There are multiple ways of getting your information into Evernote using your computer, phone, tablet or email.

Write notes: Very simple note-taking within the app – ideal for lectures.

Upload: Upload files such as Word docs and pdfs – perfect for all the class handouts.

Email: You can email documents and other files to Evernote via your own Evernote email address.

Web clipper: When you come across any good blogs or websites, just click the Evernote web-clipper plugin button in your browser and it automatically saves it to Evernote.

Photo: Take photographs of receipts, letters, menus, handwritten notes, anything really, and send it to Evernote by email or use the Evernote App for even quicker results.


Everything you send to Evernote automatically goes into your Evernote Inbox. At the end of every day, or every few days, you’ll want to go in there and organize it all into notebooks. You might have one for each subject or area of your life (e.g. finances, Church, vacation, etc) and you can even have sub-notebooks within a notebook. You can also add tags for more detailed organization.

Or you can take the next step in becoming an organizational ninja by doing the organizing as you go along. For example by using @English Lit in your subject line, anything you send to Evernote by email will automatically go into your English Lit notebook. Tags can also be added to anything you upload using the hashtag #. The web clipper allows this organizing as you clip too.


So you’ve got into the habit of uploading, emailing, clipping, photographing everything into Evernote. Your desk is clear and so is your mind. All your paper and data are in one place. But now you need to search for a bill, or an assignment, or a blog article. Where did I put that?

Open Evernote and start by searching in your Notebooks. Click on one to see everything you’ve ever entered there. Hmm, didn’t find it. Maybe I put it in another Notebook, but which one? What now?

Dead easy. Go to the Evernote search box and enter a word or phrase that you think is in the document or file. It will then quickly search everything in your Evernote and list the matches. This for me is the most powerful feature of Evernote. Its search machine is unparalleled in speed and accuracy. It will even search for words on handwritten notes, photos of brochures and menus, etc. You can search via your desktop your phone App, or via the Internet if you are separated from all your devices.

Other Features

There are many other features and benefits of Evernote that you’ll discover as you go along.  For example, you can share your notebooks or notes with others too.  And here’s Tim Challies’ great tip on how to get your Kindle notes and highlights into Evernote.

And like my previous two New Student Tips, Dropbox and Wunderlist, Evernote is also free and the free version should be enough for most students. However, I pay the small price of $5 per month for a premium account which allows me to access my Notebooks offline, improves searchability, increases my monthly upload limit and adds an extra layer of security if I need it. Sign up for Evernote here.

Other Resources

New Student Tip #1: Dropbox

New Student Tip #2: Wunderlist

Thriving at College by Alex Chediak (for students)

Preparing Your Teens For College by Alex Chediak (for parents of students)

Top 10 Books for Students

The Unity And Diversity of the Church

Last week at the Puritan Reformed Seminary annual conference, I spoke on the unity and diversity of the church. You can hear the audio and view the video here.

This message was prepared pre-Ferguson, but I hope that it helps the church to further think through our longer-term response to these issues. The section on diversity begins at 17 minutes. I’ve also found Ed Stetzer’s It’s Time To Listen series extremely helpful this past week.

The rest of the conference messages can be found here

I especially commend Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s addresses here and here.

Depression, Electromagnetic Pulses, and a Weird Helmet: One Christian’s TMS Experience

I was contacted by a Christian friend who has a lifetime of personal experience with depression. After years of counsel and medical intervention, one doctor suggested Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a treatment option. This person graciously agreed to share their story so that other Christians struggling with depression or wrestling with treatment options may be encouraged. Here’s their story:

I have struggled through several episodes of major depression in my thirty-three years of life, but this one was beyond bad. It started in a manner that was not atypical from earlier episodes, with one major exception: I was already taking an anti-depressant medication and had been doing so for several years.

It was initially my assumption that, because I was already treating depression physically, it might be a mental or spiritual struggle. A trusted friend encouraged me to talk to a Christian counselor, and drove me to a few dreaded appointments where I hoped and prayed that the Lord would reveal fresh insight and draw me into joy as I celebrated Jesus’s love for me. But none of that happened. While the counselor reinforced that my pain was real, it didn’t go away despite my pleas to God.

From Bad to Worse
Several draining weeks later I returned to my physician, who is also a believer, and he explained that the benefits of some anti-depressants tend to dwindle after a few years. He therefore suggested that we try a new medication. I had been in emotional anguish for about three months at this point, but was hopeful that the new medication would do the trick. But instead, things worsened. And worsened. And then, when they couldn’t possibly worsen any more, they worsened. For the first time, I was truly suicidal. I wanted to die, and death seemed like the best solution since I still trusted in the strength of God’s plan of salvation for sinners like me. I could no longer read or even pray. I did still manage to go to work, but curled up in a ball sobbing my eyes out for the rest of the day.

My physician referred me to a psychiatrist, and that deflated me even more. In my mind, a psych referral confirmed that I was a crazy person. I stayed in survival mode for a couple of months, but suddenly reached a breaking point. The intensity of my anguish seemed to multiply exponentially, and for the first time my work was truly hampered by my inability to stop crying. I sobbed on the phone with my psychiatrist one night, and informed her that I could no longer take the pain and was willing to try one of the next means of treatment for stubborn depression: ECT or TMS.

“Shock Therapy” or TMS?
ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, has been used to treat depression for decades. There is a stigma attached to “shock therapy,” but when used by caring doctors, it has been proven to be very effective. However, there are a number of side effects to ECT, including a loss of short-term memory. Since I felt like my good memory was one of about two things going for me in life, I wasn’t excited about this option.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was approved by the FDA in 2008 as a promising, non-invasive treatment for people suffering from major depression. It uses electromagnetic pulses to stimulate a part of the brain that is less active in people who have depression, and it has very limited side effects compared to ECT.

After visiting the TMS center at a local hospital and receiving insurance approval, the same thoughtful friend who drove me to the counselor a year earlier now drove me to my initial TMS treatment as a show of support. I sat in a chair with a helmet strapped to my head that looks like one of those hair dryers in a salon that old ladies sit under while reading magazines. I was able to watch TV during the treatments, which involved around a twenty-second electromagnetic pulse followed by around a thirty-second rest period. The pulse was uncomfortable, but bearable since I obviously survived. Some people compared it to an angry woodpecker on your head…I compared mine to an angry woodpecker operating a jackhammer.

I went to TMS treatments for five days per week (you can miss an odd day or two) for a total of thirty-six treatments. The doctor said that most people start to experience improvement after about fifteen days of treatment. It was while driving home from treatment #17 when I had a subtle realization that I no longer wished to curl up in a corner and die, and this was huge!

Darkness Lifted
The improvements thankfully continued, and the darkness of that long season has finally lifted. While the long-term benefits of TMS treatments are somewhat unknown since this is such a new procedure, I’m still thankful to the Lord for allowing these medical advances in tackling depression and am just so grateful for the relief that it has provided. And I pray that those electromagnetic pulses would help give other depression sufferers a new pulse in life as well.