In this post, I give a quick overview of Nuclino, and how I use it to manage my active reading list. This reading list replaces the previous system I used with evernote.
What is Nuclino
Nuclino is a cloud based note taking tool. Think of it like a high-powered wiki. It’s usually used by teams to collaborate on projects and share knowledge in real time. While Nuclino excels at this, I find that it also makes a great personal wiki. Think of it like a private knowledge archive. A place for you to store your thoughts and ideas outside of your own brain, because brains really suck at this.
Why Nuclino for a reading list?
Some of you may think that a reading list is a simple thing. Nothing more than a checklist of books. Why then, not use a task list application, like Todoist? If your reading list is for leisure, then a simple checklist will be more than adequate. However, if you’re reading non-fiction books, and you intend to read them well, then you’ll almost surely be taking notes.
While there is a great feeling of using a fresh highlighter or penning marginalia into a hard copy of a book, these notes are only accessible to you when you have the book on hand, and can be considered quite rude if you’ve borrowed the book from a friend or library. Now if you you use an e-reader, you maybe be able to recall your notes and highlights from the internet, but the format of these can be an eyesore, and worse, they’re not searchable or organized with respect to any of your other notes.
This where Nuclino shines. If you have an item(think of it like a wiki page) for each book, then you can take your notes, add your thoughts and even link to other works if needed. We’ll get into more when we discuss the format, but next we need to have a quick intro to KanBan Boards.
Quick Intro to Kanban boards.
A Kanban board is a task management tool. It’s used to track the progress of tasks through several phases. Per our reading list example, To Read, Reading, and Read. While physical boards can exist with sticky notes, lots of digital kanban tools exist, and Nuclino is one of them. Nuclino will let you view items in your top level clusters as a kanban board. What that means for us, is that we can simply drag books from one stage to the next, and get an easy visual of how many books are in each space. All we need to do is configure our reading list workspace properly, and this board view will work perfectly for us. It should look similar to below
Once you’ve created your reading list workspace, we’re going to want to create 4 top level clusters. “To Read”, “Reading”, “Read” and “Meta”. We’ll get to the Meta cluster in a minute.
All you need to do to add a book, is pick a cluster the cluster where it belongs and click the plus sign to add the item.
Here’s a full look at the structure of the reading list.
Using The Reading List
Using this nuclino workspace as your reading list is quite simple:
- As you find books you want to read, create items for them in the To Read cluster.
- As you begin books, move them to the Reading cluster, and add your notes to the item as you read.
- When you finish, move the items to the Read cluster to be saved and stored until you need to reference them.
Remember the meta sections? Well here is where you will create items to help categorize your other items. You can link items in nuclino using the @ symbol. So if you have an item for an author, you can link that author in the items for their books. You can also link the books in the author’s item, so you can easily jump to your notes.
I do this with topics as well, but you can use this as a flexible tagging system to suit your needs.
In this post, I’ve given you a quick overview of nuclino, and how I use it to manage not only my reading list, but how I store notes on books I’ve read in a categorized, and fully searchable way. I hope this has helped you organize and manage your books and notes, and inspired you to discover all sorts of other things you can use nuclino for. If you come up with anything interesting, I’d love to hear about it on twitter at @sam_ferree.