News, upcoming events, announcements, emails, memos…the information deluge we all face today can be a real issue to contend with. Even when our intentions are to stay informed with current events, happenings in our field, and family news, the sheer volume of things to keep up with can be overwhelming. However, one new type of tool has emerged as a huge time-saver that can increase productivity and alleviate the problem of not being able to keep up with large amounts of new information.
Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence have led to several SaaS (software as a service) companies harnessing this tech to build helpful productivity apps that include instant text summary tools. These summarizer tools are free to use online, with or without making an account, and often extensions for Chrome, Word, and Google Docs are also offered for free.
There are many advantages to using these types of text summary tools to stay on top of the happenings in your world. Summarizers digest information quickly, increase productivity, help to overcome procrastination and writer’s block, and are very accurate.
- Instant Results
There’s no wait time when using a summarizer–you simply upload or copy and paste the text you want to be summarized into either the extension or online app and click a single button. QuillBot’s text summary tool, for example, allows you to pick the type of output you prefer–key sentences from the text or a paragraph. There is also a feature that allows you to decide how long you want the paragraph summary to be, which is helpful for longer texts.
- Increased Productivity
Sometimes when researching a new skill or topic for a piece of content, you find yourself skimming through a multitude of articles. In this process, the key facts can be missed because you’re either not sure whether this info is new or relevant to you or you’re not actually reading closely enough to recognize the pertinent details. Summarizing vs. skimming increases productivity because it is both faster than just perusing the information and also because summarizers won’t miss the most important information like a tired human eye can.
- Jumpstarts Progress
When you’re procrastinating beginning research or writing, that is often because the task seems too big to tackle or out of your zone of expertise. Using a summarizer reduces the friction associated with starting a research task because you can compile and summarize sources with ease. Making this headway is often enough to jumpstart progress by simplifying the research portion in order to overcome procrastination.
- Bust Writer’s Block
If you’ve made progress on a writing task but then find yourself stuck, consider using a summarizer to find more information about the part of your writing that you are struggling with. Finding a new angle or delving deeper into a certain point can be the push needed to get your writing flow back on track. After all, the secret to busting writer’s block always comes down to making some kind of progress, so any type of tool that helps remove friction in the writing and research process is going to help get you going again faster.
Beyond simply summarizing articles, emails, and papers, there are several other uses for instant text summary tools, including helping with source selection, checking reading comprehension, studying, and reviewing your own work.
- Compare and Contrast Sources
Let’s say you’ve compiled a list of potential sources, but you’re behind on your timeline. If some of those sources say exactly the same thing, reading all of them will waste time. So, why not summarize your potential sources to see their main points? If 3 of them appear to have the same information, go with the most trusted source, and move on. Conversely, if you read through the summaries and find that some of them have contrasting information, understanding the differences now will save you tons of time in the long run. Nip the confusion in the bud before you’ve spent time writing and citing a source that may be giving faulty info.
- Check Reading Comprehension
For English language learners, having a tool to check reading comprehension enhances fluency and can be a crucial tool for evaluating resources that aren’t easily translated from English. In the same way, when you are reading about topics outside of your field of expertise, you can check your own reading comprehension by jotting down what you gleaned as being the main points and then checking it against the instant text summary provided by an online tool. This can be invaluable when you are creating content for business on subjects that you haven’t had much experience with before.
If you’re learning a new skill or taking a course, consider summarizing the reading material as you go along. This way, when you have assignments or an upcoming test, you’re not stuck skimming the entirety of the reading material to study. Instead, you can work off the summaries you’ve made, which will always contain the most important information and key facts you will need to excel. It will be more efficient than trying to review hundreds of pages of information at once, and you won’t miss the information you actually need to be reviewing.
- Reviewing Your Own Work
Sometimes you begin writing with a specific thought in mind, and it blossoms into a thousand words easily. However, if you didn’t plan ahead, or if you know you added a lot of detail to certain parts that you didn’t necessarily mean to, then it’s always a good idea to make sure the work has a running theme and that all parts are relevant to that theme. This can be difficult for some, especially if it was enjoyable to write the piece. To get an objective view of what your work’s main points are, use a summary tool. What does the AI think the subject of your blog post or article is about? Does it match what you were going for? If not, consider cutting out less relevant parts to make it flow better. You can continue to summarize your work as you go to make sure you’re always on-theme.
After reading about summarizer tools, what do you think? Is this the kind of tool you think could be adopted into your workflow? Let us know in the comments.
Emily Perry, PhD is a Business Development Specialist at QuillBot, PhD, and former educator who loves all things art and also her loyal pup, Cass. She graduated with her PhD from the Colorado School of Mines in 2019 and is passionate about edtech, the democratization of education, and self-expression through art of all kinds.