This was an idea I put out there 15 years ago (!)
, and thought about reviving it. Since then I've seen/tried software such as Zotero and Mendeley, but this idea has still a different twist (see below).THE IDEA
I was looking for a good software that would help me with my research, but I haven't quite found what I needed. Doing research, you take a lot of notes, and we all know that it is important to cite our works. I was looking for something that would help me organize my notes and help me create my works cited or bibliography page.
The only freeware I found is Scholar's Aid Lite, but it has a lot of extra things which I find not necessary and a lot of important features which I find imperative. I was looking for something essential, which could be useful both for the scholar and for the general high school student preparing a research project or thesis.
Here's what I was looking for in the "ideal" scholarly research software, which I've divided into two sections (taking notes and compiling the bibliography):Note-taking
My idea takes off of something like Biblio2 <http://www.scholarsoft.com/biblio2.htm
> (just looking at the GUI you can tell it's an older prog and hasn't been maintained for years) but with some other functions (tagging, portability etc): I read a book (chapter, article, webpage, etc) and I can input various notes to create a tree outline of the text (like i'd do with Keynote or similar). Each note is tied to its reference, which I input following bibliographical standards (MLA or APA are the most famous). So I'll have the head of the list being the reference, and each note hierarchically listed below, each of which includes the page off of which I took the note.
Each note should be distinguished (by color/icon?) as a quote, a summary, or an idea and have a title and a "body" (like in Biblio) but some other "types" could be glossary, images, and general. Each note should have the possibility of having given tags and linking to other notes for easy cross-referencing and searching (which is the key here and which is what I haven't found in Biblio). I also think it would be great to have the possibility of having hotkeys to create new notes, etc.
When I've finished creating an outline of each book, article, webpage or whatever, I should be able to export it or save it as an RTF or DOC. I should also be able to move around the notes so I can export or print my own mental maps using various notes from various lists (that is, using any note from any book or article). In this case the bibliographical reference should travel with the note and I should have the option of also exporting the reference with the page number at the end (see below).Compiling your bibliography
The second part of the project should be to help me compile the bibliography. There are many websites out there that will help in formatting the bibliography using MLA or APA standards (like http://www.studentabc.com/builder
) and even a great freeware (http://www.bibliosca...om/biblioexpress.htm
). It would be excellent to incorporate something like this within this program to make it complete, however I understand that it could become more complicated to create, especially if the coder doesn't know much about the citation system (MLA/APA). My idea would be a link to citationmachine.net where you'd be guided in the process and at the end you could copy and paste from the site both the Bibliographical citation (what would go in the bibliography) and the Parenthetical in text citations (what would travel with each note, simply adding the page number(s) before closing the parenthesis). These two pieces of information are important to keep wittied to each note.
The Bibliographical citations should be able to be organized in folders with tags and maybe a note, and should be able to be exported alphabetically, so you would have your References cited or Bibliography already compiled.
I think the key here is tagging and linking. If there would be a way to link each note to its reference, and you could create a system of tags, this would help you out in organizing your thoughts and creating effective outlines for your paper.
Often I've seen a lot of software created for almost futile reasons. I think something like this could help a lot of students in effectively organizing their thoughts and their research and be useful in their writing projects.
Hope to find a positive response! All the best!