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Last post Author Topic: For Serious Research: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" vs. "Info/Data Manager"  (Read 16514 times)

nkormanik

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For single topic clipboard saving I prefer Skwire's Clipboard Trap.  One long string of 'snippets' is created, in a single text file.

Presently, though, I'm researching an area with several sub-topics.  Perhaps a super-high-powered clipboard manager would be the best approach, one with configurable direction where items are to be saved.

Let's assume 5 sub-topics.  We cruise the Internet reading this and that.  We come across an item we want to save to Sub-topic 1.  Copy and save it to a Sub-topic 1 file.  Then we come across an item that belongs in Sub-topic 3.  Copy and save to a Sub-topic 3 file.  Etc. regarding Sub-topic 5, Sub-topic 2, Sub-topic 4.  So... five different files, as appropriate, are created and saved, with the relevant information in each.

I'm curious to hear views as to what might be the very best such research saving software presently available in the realm of clipboard managers.

Greatly appreciate your input.

Nicholas Kormanik

« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 11:49:12 PM by nkormanik, Reason: Topic needed to be reframed. »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 02:39:06 AM »
For single topic clipboard saving I prefer Skwire's Clipboard Trap.

Presently, though, I'm researching an area with several sub-topics.

Let's assume 5 sub-topics.  We cruise the Internet reading this and that.  We come across an item we want to save to Sub-topic 1.  Copy and save.  Then we come across an item that belongs in Sub-topic 3.  Copy and save.  Etc. re Sub-topic 5, Sub-topic 2, Sub-topic 4.

I'm curious to hear views as to what might be the very best such research saving software presently available.

Greatly appreciate your input.

Nicholas Kormanik

Hi Nicholas,

As soon as we remove the term "Clipboard Manager" and go with your other term "Research Saving Software", I'll recommend again my top choice I use myself for this stuff: "MyInfo".

For certain structured research like what it sounds like you're doing, it's a good candidate match. Let's do one example in action.

Part ____. Initial Opening of your project.
- Open MyInfo
- Close the existing project from last time (it reloads, mostly useful when you work on the same research)
- Create New Project
- Create a couple of TopTopLevel headers as placeholders. (Just a pet tip from me, the need for a "Meta Comment" keeps showing up.)
- The "Project" IS your "Research", so you don't actually start with SubTopics - you simply have some initial topic split.

Part A:
1. Create a Topic. Click the lowest of the "reserved headers" and hit Control-Alt-N to start your first "Real Topic" & name it.
2. Click the first "Real Topic" and hit Control-N  Control-N  Control-N  Control-N  Control-N  Control-N  Control-N
Whoosh! There's your seven main topic shells! Name three of them, leave some blank ones, etc.
3. Click Topic 1 and hit Control-Alt-N to create your first SubTopic. Then click that SubTopic and hit Control-N a bunch of times to create your other subtopics at that level.

Part B.
1. The program is two-pane. So all that topic shell spacing was in a tree on the left. So on the right you just click on the node that you have some research for, and paste it in.
2. You can contract parts of nodes to hide the unused sections for later to reduce the "visual noise". That leaves your concentration for that day's heavy topic.
3. For me, the Killer App feature of the Pro version is that it can export to a web page, so then you have an export means for getting input and review.

MyInfoDemo1.png

Note: The odd looking toolbar is actually the result of a feature! I generally hate toolbars, and only needed about three things on it, so I used the program feature to strip the other twenty things from it!
;D

I'll leave you now to go back to my "Notes Project" and add the contents of the seventeen paper sticky notes in my wallet!
8)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 02:45:30 AM by TaoPhoenix »

tomos

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 11:46:13 AM »
^mightn't be a bad idea, but if he's looking for a clipboard manager, it would be good if any alternative could offer universal clipping and the ability in a dialogue to dictate where the clip goes (no idea if MyInfo offers that).

@Nicholas, what (if anything) are you using to manage the info?
Tom

rjbull

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 04:04:55 PM »
One of the features of ClipMagic (payware, currently on offer) is
Quote
Categorise/Organise your clips. Create rules/filters for incoming clips.

You can do something similar with Virtual Folders in mouser's Clipboard Help+Spell, but you need SQL to do it.  CHS' own Help points you to these DC threads for more information:

rjbull

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 04:07:42 PM »
I'll recommend again my top choice I use myself for this stuff: "MyInfo".
TaoPhoenix, does MyInfo have hotkeys for adding Web pages and parts of Web pages, like RightNote does, or is it whole-page and mouse only?  Also, does it have a Merge feature, something I found useful with EverNote 2.2 (the old desktop app) for combining sections of Web pages?

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 07:39:41 PM »
^mightn't be a bad idea, but if he's looking for a clipboard manager, it would be good if any alternative could offer universal clipping and the ability in a dialogue to dictate where the clip goes (no idea if MyInfo offers that).

@Nicholas, what (if anything) are you using to manage the info?

I think I'm getting at that once we shift from the word "clipboard manager", then universally you copy something, and the same "actionspace" where you have to decide "where it goes", you click on the MyInfo Project node and then paste it.

For me the key is scale, Clipboard managers can even handle some 20 items, but then for me they fall flat pretty fast. Those things are best used for the top 20 most used things you always find yourself pasting.

Instead, he said research, hence my piping up. So Research is meant to be long term. And I emphasized that because research evolves, if you/he doesn't like the exact structure of the material, you can easily move it around in entire chunks. Up, down, sideways, make mirror copies, and more.

It's tied for "two winners" of a year long search I did a few years back on this stuff, with the only reason the other candidate failed being it emerged it had a fatal core bug but the killer export and other basic features were there.

And looping high back to that "what software would you pay for", ... it's only of only like three programs I have paid over $50 for.



TaoPhoenix

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 07:51:03 PM »
I'll recommend again my top choice I use myself for this stuff: "MyInfo".
TaoPhoenix, does MyInfo have hotkeys for adding Web pages and parts of Web pages, like RightNote does, or is it whole-page and mouse only?  Also, does it have a Merge feature, something I found useful with EverNote 2.2 (the old desktop app) for combining sections of Web pages?

Well, let's try this in a couple of replies!

You know you just posted a triple barreled question, didn't you? Didn't you? In a thread, asking about ... subtopics?
:P  

So since for this moment Nick Kormanik isn't "Lead Querent" and you are, I added more nodes, and hid his nodes, to produce "your structure". (Heh Hint. Programmer to Manager Application - if you have three managers and they want to know different things, you can hide the other stuff they don't care about and emphasize "that day's important stuff" to answer questions!)

So "What is adding a whole webpage"? Sometimes you can just add a link. That is, if you think the page will be stable. I Recommend Miles "BBSS" for that instead, and THEN pasted into MyInfo! But if you MUST have a whole webpage, and can live with a little format-squabbling between javascripts, I get this below by going all
Control-A Select All - Control C Copy - Click over to Node - Control V Paste.

MyInfo WholeWebPage1.pngFor Serious Research: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" vs. "Info/Data Manager"

Update:
InsertMenu / Insert Web Document might be there.

One down! : )

« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 08:06:07 PM by TaoPhoenix »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 08:11:59 PM »
From my bad layman's understanding outside his scope, I think :

1. "Merge" mystifies me - if it's as simple as cut and paste, do it, because for me "merging research" involves moving stuff around. But if you need hyper-precise automated data merging, I think an intermediate script is called for here.

2. I don't think it has its own built in scripting to parse a page and capture, so it sounds like a lowtek script is needed to do that, and even later upload it unto MyInfo. To my Layman Non-Programmer mind that doesn't sound hard, but then printing PDF's off of Webpages is harder than it looks too. Maybe it depends on the inspiration.

3. I think we're edging into a "clash of the Killer Features". For me, the $100 app was that this one of only two the only program that could take all your data, and then "12 clicks later" produce this:

http://www.freevoteu...-RawDemo1/index.html

Remember you can adjust the relative pane sizes vs which pane really needs width.

*Minus 12 minutes because I like spaces in my filenames on Windows and that's not really best!

P.S. It's supposed to be expanded. I am working with the dev on that bug.  Just click the little + signs to expand.



« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 08:26:54 PM by TaoPhoenix »

nkormanik

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For Serious Research: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" vs. "Info/Data Manager"
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2014, 08:44:30 PM »
Thanks to the above members TaoPhoenix, Tomos, Rjbull for offering suggestions.

Tomos asks what am I "managing" the data with.  That seems to really point to the crux of the issue.  Having used Clipboard Trap..., I have a 'shoebox' (=folder) of long text files, each one with an assortment of topics.

Perhaps the focus of my query should NOT be with the clipboard manager point-in-time so much, but instead with "managing" the data.

Once the data is copied -- through any clipboard manager -- THEN what to do with it.  AT THAT POINT the data could be divided up into topics and sub-topics, arranged and re-arranged.

Skwire has built into Clipboard Trap the option of using a customizable 'delimiter', which separates snippets of text.  For that delimiter I use "=====" plus linefeeds above and below.  The delimiter could be used to automatically break apart the snippets when, say, importing the text files into a data management program.

Skwire, do you know of a program, or have you already written one, that can import delimited Clipboard Trap text files?  What would you suggest?

So, maybe the clipboard manager matter has already been adequately handled.  Maybe we need to figure out what to do with those copied files once we have them, to be further "managed".....

For such data management..., I would think an outliner-type program would be best.  The one I presently view as top pick is Scrivener:

http://www.literatur...te.com/scrivener.php

Followed by TreeLine:

http://treeline.bellz.org/

If you know of any better, please speak up.

So, once again..., surf the internet for relevant info, copy snippets using delimiters, import into data-holding-and-managing program.  Then massage, organize, edit, etc.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 09:19:05 PM by nkormanik »

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2014, 08:59:28 PM »
Thanks to the above members TaoPhoenix, Tomos, Rjbull for offering suggestions.

Tomos asks what am I "managing" the data with.  That seems to really point to the crux of the issue.  Having used Clipboard Trap..., I have a 'shoebox' of long text files, each one with an assortment of topics.
...
Perhaps the focus of my query should NOT be with the clipboard manager point-in-time so much, but instead with "managing" the data.

I'm going to get aggressive once, and if I fail this time, I'll hold my piece. Esp since I now know that Demigod Kormanik is close at hand!

1. Stop using the word Clipboard. You added the new word "Shoebox". Let's empty the Shoebox.
2. Create your "Super Header/Overall Header/Main Header/Subtopic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7"
3. If it really is text files, go all Control-A SelectAll/Control-C Copy/Click to Node/Control-V Paste on them all

4. ETA is 17 minutes. If you don't have your entire shoebox of text files copied by then you're doing something wrong. Stopwatch starts in T-Minus-7 minutes for you to notice if  you are in fact still here, or later if you are one of those "post twice a day" fellows, (which I discourage in a lightning hot topic!)

Go.

Yours,

Tao

+7 min ultra slack
+7 min to read
+17 min to actually do

tomos

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For such data management..., I would think an outliner-type program would be best.  The one I presently view as top pick is Scrivener:

Followed by TreeLine

If you know of any better, please speak up.

I think this is going to be based on personal preference, and work methods, and of course what you need/want to do.

I'd say give whatever you want to use a test run. Try importing as Tao suggests. Try organising and maybe exporting (I know exporting is one of Scrivener's big strengths).

I use InfoQube myself -
advantages of being extremely customisable in terms of how you view and organise your content. Entries can be related to multiple other entries; can also be shown in multiple grids/views, and multiple times within a hierarchy.
Also, has a universal clipper where you can dictate which 'fields' are filled for this entry, thereby also allowing them to be shown in different grids/views. (Or you can copy to an inbox grid, and sort later.) See shot below.

Possible disadvantages being:
it is in beta (is very stable; is in active development - to me this is a plus)
has very advanced filtering of items/entries, but this currently requires understanding 'SQL speak'
Tagging not really implemented, but there are easy ways around this
May need more setup/learn time than Tao's or your suggestions (not sure here though)

Universal Clipper:
Screenshot - 2014-02-11 , 13_08_02.pngFor Serious Research: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" vs. "Info/Data Manager"
Tom

dr_andus

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Skwire has built into Clipboard Trap the option of using a customizable 'delimiter', which separates snippets of text.  For that delimiter I use "=====" plus linefeeds above and below.  The delimiter could be used to automatically break apart the snippets when, say, importing the text files into a data management program.

Skwire, do you know of a program, or have you already written one, that can import delimited Clipboard Trap text files?  What would you suggest?

ConnectedText, which is a desktop wiki, has such an import function (it calls the 'delimiter' a 'separator'). It also has its own "clipboard catcher", so it can paste text directly into an open "topic" (CT document).

Advantages of CT are that it's a non-hierarchical system and it has a variety of annotating/categorising features and powerful search options, so it's suitable database for a very large number of topics (tens of thousands), which might be challenging to manage in a traditional hierarchical tree-based folder structure.

The main downside is that there is a fairly steep learning curve associated with it (unless one already knows about wiki markup and has an engineer's or programmer's type of mind - as opposed to being a 'poet' ;)).

rjbull

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Re: Seeking advice: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" for Serious Research
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 02:29:43 PM »
TaoPhoenix, does MyInfo have hotkeys for adding Web pages and parts of Web pages, like RightNote does, or is it whole-page and mouse only?  Also, does it have a Merge feature, something I found useful with EverNote 2.2 (the old desktop app) for combining sections of Web pages?
You know you just posted a triple barreled question, didn't you? Didn't you? In a thread, asking about ... subtopics?
:o  I wasn't clear enough.  I'm less interested in a note organizer than in a note keeper, something to replace EverNote 2.2 but that is likely to have a future, with particular reference to capturing, storing and finding information from the Web.  EverNote and CintaNotes are particularly convenient for that.  Here's a screenshot of the capture hotkeys I have set in RN to help clarify what I mean:
RN_capture_hotkeys1.pngFor Serious Research: Cadillac of "ClipBoard Managers" vs. "Info/Data Manager"
the point being that you can clip a whole web page, clip part of a web page to a new clip, and clip part of a page to the current clip, all with RN minimised.  No constant back-and-forth shuffle of Alt+Tab, find note, Ctrl+V etc.  I must admit I can't get some of these RN hotkeys to work properly, or at least not the way I expected, but I hope you can see what I'm getting at.  As for Merge, that's probably only really relevant to EverNote, CintaNotes and the like, i.e. single-pane + notes-list note keepers.  In their case, you can accumulate multiple part-page clips, go to the notes list, mark the ones you want, and merge those into a single note.

TaoPhoenix

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...
I'm less interested in a note organizer than in a note keeper, ... with particular reference to capturing, storing and finding information from the Web.  ...  Here's a screenshot of the capture hotkeys I have set in RN to help clarify what I mean: (see attachment in previous post)the point being that you can clip a whole web page, clip part of a web page to a new clip, and clip part of a page to the current clip, all with RN minimised.  No constant back-and-forth shuffle of Alt+Tab, find note, Ctrl+V etc.  

Hmm. I think Tomos nailed my take on the discussion:
I think this is going to be based on personal preference, and work methods, and of course what you need/want to do.

Sounds like you and I have different work styles etc. (And this is open to anyone else etc!) To open with, there's No Alt-Tab because I despise Full Screens for anything but movies in words that Renegade is most likely to use!  ;D  I became a convert to big widescreens one day on a lark at my old job I bought my own monitor after the usual pennywise-poundbitching typical nonsense, and I'll never go back.

So I put my data program on the left, and my info sources on the right, staggered to show any two at a time with a tiny clickable corner for #3 4 and 5. I will admit that Control C takes a step, but then where does it go? How do you keep your notes?

I keep 3.5 sets of notes with 4 totally different styles and "solutions".
A. Paper Stickies & text files
At my tax office, "topics" appear on the fly at lightning speed, so I churn through mad numbers of paper stickies just to get a key phrase down out of my head. Shades of GTD and all that. Then later I pencil recopy a more considered version of them in a couple of notebooks. If it looks like a real mess, I bang out a text file, especially when it's tax client notes so I can give them a copy and file a copy as well as just look at it etc.
B. Web Notes.
Why even use a program at all for raw ephemeral notes!? I just save web pages into a month-labeled folder because that's a brief interest in some random topic that I prob won't really care about again, until it's much later. Just for ease on the eyes, I split them a bit into sets. Then every couple of months I just move it all to long term storage and start over.
C. Important Topics
I have a few things like health care and tax law (I am currently a tax preparer) saved in permanently visible folders on my computer desktop. Then I create horozontal chains of files up to about 12 wide and sometimes down a vertical level to indicate processing vs to-do status. So it's a visual version of GTD that to me feels much faster on certain types of things. One passing small weakness of GTD is that the "status of items" part tends to be ephemeral info that's useful until it's done, then no one cares, *if you are not in a Compliance Environment*. (That's important, and getting off topic.)

Whew! So those are the preliminaries.
D. The last category is the big one. When a holistic chunk of info blows out my internal fuse from the sticky system, then I have to use the structured note program. So it's def about keeping notes! But at that level, for me at least I have to have structure! So rather than trying to make the capture part as fast as possible, "the structure IS the note". This week my own personal info "blew my fuse". So I made a cute little new personal note set. It came out so far at 15 topics and 5-8 subnotes per topic!!
:o

So at that level, minor steps like a mouse click or two are peanuts vs the overall goal of organizing the info.

Thoughts?

--Tao


TaoPhoenix

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May need more setup/learn time than Tao's or your suggestions (not sure here though)

I'll completely confirm this. InfoQube needs *way more* time than MyInfo, so we have a total user-experience issue going on. It will heavily depend on what "needs to be done".

I'll describe my "fav" vs Tomos' "fav".

My use case is "1. Get info. 2. Structure it. 3. Refer to it or expand it." But nothing else "fancy" happens to it. The "brain" tells you where to look for something, and then you look at your notes. At that level, MyInfo is wonderfully easy to use. Start a file, leave two top headers blank just as the insider tip, then once you get going just create nodes and subnodes and start pounding info in. Occasionally fix the structure. But nothing fancy has to happen to the info.

InfoQube looks like it has tools to do amazing things. But I have NO IDEA what to do with it straight up.

So the learning curve is absolutely there.


TaoPhoenix

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Coda: I just noticed a half made fifth system, not yet ready.

Why save pages at all? Some combination of MilesAhead's BBSS feature I requested back kicks in here. You open up a bunch of webpages as research, then run BBSS and it spits out a list of page titles and links. Somewhere here I swear I've seen something that loads webpages from a list of links, so that should run it backwards if you later want to load all 12 of those sites again.

Then you just manage your sets of links (in your structured note program haha!)

 :D

nkormanik

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TaoPhoenix, thanks for sharing with us your work process.  Complicated, huh.

For serious research we must have some sort of system.  Reading through web pages, ebooks, papers, etc., to find potential 'puzzle pieces'.  Storing these, perhaps into some basic categories (as opposed to one huge messy 'shoebox'=folder).  Importing into a program permitting restructuring.  Then structuring and organizing, down to the finest detail.

Would be interesting to hear how others have managed.


tomos

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ConnectedText, which is a desktop wiki, has such an import function (it calls the 'delimiter' a 'separator'). It also has its own "clipboard catcher", so it can paste text directly into an open "topic" (CT document).

Advantages of CT are that it's a non-hierarchical system and it has a variety of annotating/categorising features and powerful search options, so it's suitable database for a very large number of topics (tens of thousands), which might be challenging to manage in a traditional hierarchical tree-based folder structure.

The main downside is that there is a fairly steep learning curve associated with it (unless one already knows about wiki markup and has an engineer's or programmer's type of mind - as opposed to being a 'poet' ;)).

Sounds interesting.
I tried but couldnt find any YT videos giving an idea how it might work. I didn't find the homepage very informative, but this review was a help to understand the basics anyways:
http://www.pcworld.c...uested-features.html

(A rigid outline just seems so limiting to me at this stage -- why I find CT interesting as well).
Tom

TaoPhoenix

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TaoPhoenix, thanks for sharing with us your work process.  Complicated, huh.

For serious research we must have some sort of system.  Reading through web pages, ebooks, papers, etc., to find potential 'puzzle pieces'.  Storing these, perhaps into some basic categories (as opposed to one huge messy 'shoebox'=folder).  Importing into a program permitting restructuring.  Then structuring and organizing, down to the finest detail.

Would be interesting to hear how others have managed.

Nicholas, what materials do you have already? Nested subfolders of data on your drive? I haven't tested pictures but MyInfo has at least partial support for reading in entire folders & subfolders into a single project.

My workstyle has never needed tags thus far, but I do get the value of them. Sometimes you can get confused if something like the NY City Hall Train Station fits both the "NY Subway History" category and "Cool Tourist Places".


nkormanik

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TaoPhoenix, I haven't even gotten to the 'nested' subfolders yet.  Just a single folder jammed with an assortment of snippets.

Tomos, would you please share how outlines seem limiting?  Outlines are what I've been thinking of doing.  If there is some other approach I'd love to learn about it.


TaoPhoenix

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TaoPhoenix, I haven't even gotten to the 'nested' subfolders yet.  Just a single folder jammed with an assortment of snippets.

Sure. One key part of my recommendation is about the initial setup. I'm not sure about graphics/media exhibits, but for text files, esp if you know any 30 of them belong in one folder, another 40 in another, it's pretty fast to drag-drop them in Windows, then MyInfo does a decent job importing the whole structure and text notes to get going!


dr_andus

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Tomos, would you please share how outlines seem limiting?  Outlines are what I've been thinking of doing.  If there is some other approach I'd love to learn about it.

Outlines (hierarchical tree-based organisation) is fine for relatively small number of items or if it's mostly for long-term static storage.

However, if you want to work with a text database on an on-going basis dynamically (e.g. by constantly analysing, re-organising and synthesising it, such as to write a number of articles, books etc. over a lifetime), then the hierarchical tree can become an obstacle to developing new understandings of the material. E.g. it requires you to decide up-front how many hierarchies up or down an item should reside, which later may prevent you from seeing connections between that item and another related item at some other deep location in the tree at a faraway branch. One benefit of personal wikis is that they allow you to link items directly in a number of different ways, and they also tend to discourage you from organising your material hierarchically as a tree.

Another way to think about tree-like organisation is that an item e.g. at level 7 in a hierarchy is actually in a box within 6 other boxes. If you were to do this with paper and real boxes, it would be a real pain to locate such material and relate it to other similar material. Of course in a computer we also have labels and categories these days, as well as search, but even then a hierarchical system trains you to think in a particular way that may not always be the most fruitful for creating new knowledge.

P.S. Outlines are very useful for organising the output (writing up an article), but not necessarily for organising hundreds or thousands of text items.

TaoPhoenix

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Tomos, would you please share how outlines seem limiting?  Outlines are what I've been thinking of doing.  If there is some other approach I'd love to learn about it.

Outlines (hierarchical tree-based organisation) is fine for relatively small number of items or if it's mostly for long-term static storage.

However, if you want to work with a text database on an on-going basis dynamically (e.g. by constantly analysing, re-organising and synthesizing it, such as to write a number of articles, books etc. over a lifetime), then the hierarchical tree can become an obstacle to developing new understandings of the material. E.g. it requires you to decide up-front how many hierarchies up or down an item should reside, which later may prevent you from seeing connections between that item and another related item at some other deep location in the tree at a faraway branch. ...

Another way to think about tree-like organization is that an item e.g. at level 7 in a hierarchy is actually in a box within 6 other boxes. If you were to do this with paper and real boxes, it would be a real pain to locate such material and relate it to other similar material. Of course in a computer we also have labels and categories these days, as well as search, but even then a hierarchical system trains you to think in a particular way that may not always be the most fruitful for creating new knowledge.

P.S. Outlines are very useful for organising the output (writing up an article), but not necessarily for organising hundreds or thousands of text items.

I think I slightly disagree. These topics were in my criteria when I went looking for my own solution. Many of the tree programs allow you to move the text structures around. So yes, you do decide *the first time* how you want to think about data, including our case opener Nick K "Not at all". But then if you don't like what tree level something landed in, just move it! Deeper, Shallower, or even "Clone" it!

I find that when organizing big data, once you get past pure "anything with anything brainstorming", there are only a fairly small number of coherent ways to organize the data.

The next feature of programs like MyInfo is that they let you expand and contract the outline like an accordion. So let's say you're working on medical material for topics related to the Dopamine transmitter. You can spend your week on your new 50 entries going all into Parkinsons, Elder Care, Tremors, and even the movie Awakening. Then the following week when you care more about caffeine and Energy Drinks, you just shrink the entire Dopamine subtree into "its box" and let it sit there.

So to find anything is one of two ways:
A. If you know where it is: "Shrink All Nodes", then expand your way right to your topic, maybe with a couple of mis-steps.
B. If you forgot or are just being holistic, you can "Expand All" and then search.

I'd say that with these and a couple more tricks, an outline can easily handle up to 10,000 items with a little forethought.

So Shrink All then 5 clicks expands right to any data element that you recall, or Expand All and Search gets you the 15 occurrences of something.


tomos

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Thanks dr_andus for answering that question.
@Tao, I think it can also depend on the topics. I dont write but I do tend to gather info -- topics which overlap and merge one into one other. Tbh a lot of it I havent orgnaised, and yeah, in a good organiser you can give an item/entry multiple parents ("clone") and tag it. Tagging can end up like another outline with decisions as to where I put this tag in the hierarchy (if it has a hierarchy - if not could be a pain too if there's a lot of tags).
Ease of linking to other items is very important I think. Hence my interest in the wiki suggested by dr_andus.
Tom

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Thanks dr_andus for answering that question.
@Tao, I think it can also depend on the topics. I dont write but I do tend to gather info -- topics which overlap and merge one into one other. Tbh a lot of it I havent orgnaised, and yeah, in a good organiser you can give an item/entry multiple parents ("clone") and tag it. Tagging can end up like another outline with decisions as to where I put this tag in the hierarchy (if it has a hierarchy - if not could be a pain too if there's a lot of tags).
Ease of linking to other items is very important I think. Hence my interest in the wiki suggested by dr_andus.

Sure, and I'm believing more that how one's mind works is crucial. Given the same set of info, for example I heavily think in trees in every corner of my life. So certain facts can float a little into being parents of two trees, but then all the subsidiary info tends to be unique. I think I have found that for many of my projects the "flatness" of a Wiki works against me, because I take pains to try to avoid scrambling different levels of a tree branch.

So a really good example is I might have a little trouble working on a tree about "Dopamine, Norepinephrine, ADD, and Parkinsons" because I would get confused whether it's "Neurotransmitter Oriented" or "Diagnosed Condition oriented".

But below that the tree gets pretty simple - "Dopamine, Parkinsons, Media, Awakenings, Robin Williams". But if I drifted into brainstorming about "Medical Movies", sure the Awakenings node gets copied over, but then the entire rest of the branch drops and it's time to spin off a new node! Yay!

But if stuff is so blended, then maybe I'd just leave it "flat level" and let it all just sit there like idea soup Like Nick K has it now. But I like structure.
:)

I also have a theory about "human assisted partial AI". Conversation is like building a tree structure. We talk in trees, going up and down branches. Use the human as a "pre-processor" to get past the raw basic coherence problems that usually sink AI, and then let the machine start diagramming out the chat. : ) More on that topic elsewhere !

« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 12:56:47 PM by TaoPhoenix »