Further Writing Resources

Further resources for scholarly, professional, and creative writing

Faculty writers at the University of Minnesota can find helpful University programs and offices, a range of tools and technologies, and other helpful resources here.

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University of Minnesota Resources

University Libraries

Research Support Services: This is one-stop shopping for all the services available through the libraries to assist researchers in all stages of their projects. Everything from finding collaborators and funding to measuring impact factor with alt-metrics is right here. This page also has links to productivity and information management tools described below.

Workshops, tutorials, and guides: This link connects you to writing resources focused primarily on information literacy, research, and technologies. It includes online, self-paced activities, static resources, and connects to registration for workshops and events. The segments of most use to faculty may be data management and citation tools.

University Libraries Digital Conservancy: This page links directly to UMN’s Data Repository and open access materials and offers effective ways to share research in innovative, legal, and practical ways. Researchers required to have a data management plan for grant funding will find these resources invaluable.

Center for Writing

Faculty Writing Hunkers: Dedicated space to write in August, January, and May. Dan Emery, who leads these interdisciplinary hunkers, is also happy to consult with writers (and writing groups) looking for pointers on how to set up and maintain productive practices).

Teaching With Writing Series Events: We have workshops for instructors on using writing, panels of faculty, instructors and staff for sharing writing resources, and discussions about controversies and topics related to writing in higher education. Regular and occasional attendees are welcome.

Writing-Enriched Curriculum Program: A first of its kind approach to voluntary, faculty-driven leadership on writing in undergraduate majors. Enrollment in WEC by a college, department, or undergraduate major provides instructional resources and expertise from the WEC team and up to $75,000 in support (over 8 years) for writing instruction. Over 100 undergraduate degree programs are already involved in WEC.

Institute for Advanced Study

IAS Residential Fellowships: Opportunities for researchers to receive dedicated writing time and office space for a semester.

Resources for Information Management and Citation

The University Library has a useful comparison sheet for citation managers. Of course, the best technology is the one you use.

Mendeley: A popular and robust platform for managing documents and generating references. Mendeley links to the Library’s FindIt system, which is pretty great. The library’s page on Mendeley is here.

Zotero: An open-source citation and document manager supported by the UMN libraries. The ability to share libraries and its open-source platform makes it a nice choice for collaboration. The library’s page on Zotero is here.

Endnote: This citation manager was the choice of early adopters and is one of the most established. UMN does not have an institutional subscription but the product can be purchased at the University BookStore.

Easybib: Easybib is the citation manager your students learned to use in high school. It’s owned by Chegg.com, a textbook rental site where students can find homework answers, purchase class notes and review materials from other students, and engage in other sorts of sharing.

Technology and Tools for Writing

Writing Platforms and Technologies

In addition to the typical word processing platforms, some faculty writers and professionals like...

Evernote: A really handy note-taking platform with interesting ways to go from paper to electronic versions.

Scrivener: A platform for long-form writing, popular with ‘professional’ writers and people doing long-form writing.

Draft: A writing platform with version control and collaboration tools.

Productivity Resources

Google Calendar and Google Keep: Calendar provides an effective way to manage your schedule and to make your commitment to writing visible to everyone. Appropriate event titles for your writing time include Research Focus: Do not Interrupt, Project Completion Time: Required, and Core Work Hour: Do Not Double Book. Keep is a platform for note-taking and reminders, whose primary benefit is that it connects to the Google-verse. The phone app is great.

Pomodoro: A timing tool to get you in the habit of regular writing. For some folks, this is a tremendously useful way to overcome procrastination and avoidance.

RescueTime: A time tracking software that runs in the background of your computer and attends to how you spend your time. It can be handy in identifying patterns in how you spend your time and keeping your distraction level moderate.

Stayfocusd: This app connects to your browser, will monitor your distraction levels, and allow you only an allowance of distracting time. At the end of your distraction allowance, distracting websites are blocked for the remainder of the day.

Coffitivity: Coffee shop sounds to help you work. The nice thing is that you can control the volume, unlike in a noisy coffee shop...work in your pjs at home, enjoying your own beverage and munchies, or work alone anywhere, but imagine yourself among people in a place that you get in and out of pretty effortlessly.

Asana: Online schedule that lets you break down projects into smaller tasks, set deadlines and reminders, plot it on a timetable, and color-code different tasks (also good for working collaboratively). Good for keeping track of grant and publication deadlines too.

Personal Kanban Board: Helps you to break down projects into tasks, and then organize tasks in a workflow (To Do, Doing, Done). Developed for the “just-in-time” Toyota assembly line! It’s wonderful to keep track of one’s various professional and personal tasks, and to organize them in a sane way.

Noisli: Awesome mix-and-match ambient sounds.

Timing: A Mac exclusive timing app like Rescue Time, with additional features for project and task tracking.

More Resources

Organizations that Support Faculty Writers

National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity: Home for Webinars, email reminders, and mounds of good material for faculty career development and productivity.

Some Recommended Reading on Writing

John Swales and Christine Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students

Helen Sword, Air and Light and Time and Space: How Successful Academics Write

Joseph M. Williams, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace