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Working with (display+format+restructure) big amount of data (text+graphics)?

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I’m really struggling to find out the best way (softwarely speaking) to work with big amounts of flexibly structured data, mostly text and some images(sections, chapters, etc. but that are movable).   :stars:

I have thousands of pages on acting techniques. Presently, they're all in a Word document (sometimes, I like having big files because otherwise, I tend to duplicate data and get lost if I have to many loose files on the very same subject)… But using MS Word for huge files is just not very convenient (if not downright dangerous — “corruptionly” speaking. Although I've never experienced that...).

What I need is to be able to have:

- a unified view of all the data (one reason for that is that I want to be able to zoom out and see a lot of material at once, I want to be able to jump from page 1 to page 1052 in a second, etc.).
- an outlined view of the chapters, parts, sections, etc., (MS Word does that : Outline View, and Document Map)
- a very easy way to reorganize the order of the different sections,
- a file format that’s indexable (or a database that’s indexable – X1, Archivarius are the Desktop Search solutions I use -- It's just not a good way to use an internal searching engine, separate from the rest of my files!!!),
- an editing solution which allows the same kind of formatting ability, Bold, Italic, bullets, cross referencing, etc. that MS word, OpenOffice or any advanced word processor will provide (to me, formatting is not just fuss : it gives the document a hierarchical outline, makes it easier to read, find info... to me it's not just a matter of content first, form after...),
- the ability to access my data and READ it on an other computer relatively easily. (I might be willing to cede on that one though...)

There are already strategies that I’m not sure I want to try… Unless someone has an effective and safe way of implementing them :

- I don't like the idea of using a Word Master document -- it just doesn't have a good reputation (“corruptionly” speaking...),
- I don't like the idea of using the explorer "folder method" (dividing the document in pieces, placed in a hierarchy of folders) : it's not easy to reorder files and have a global view of the data. (There might be ways to do it in an orderly and efficient way though... Any thoughts? The programmers among you probably know ways I ignore...)

So... What are the other possible solutions? Using some kind of database? :myBase, Ultra Recall, Surfulater? Other softwares FrameMaker, OpenOffice.???

I've superficially tried some of these other strategies, but I'd like to hear your opinion on the matter before I commit to anything…

Thanks !

[edit: I've added some explanations and, hopefully, some clarity...]

I don't have any insight into this but i look forward to reading what people who have been through this say about the matter.

I'd say oneNote 2007 has all you need. May take a while to get used to the approach with basically tabs left, right, and ontop, but it is indexable (by MS search live) and you can access info really fast.

I'd say oneNote 2007 has all you need. May take a while to get used to the approach with basically tabs left, right, and ontop, but it is indexable (by MS search live) and you can access info really fast.
-urlwolf (July 14, 2007, 11:32 AM)
--- End quote ---

Interesting. Thanks. I've tried OneNote several times (in my quest for the best note-taking solution) and never stuck to it (for different reasons: EverNote is better at tagging, finding, etc.). But I've never thought of using it for really long documents or to structure big amounts of data. Maybe I should give it another try in light of that new perspective/usage. (If only I knew how to think laterally a bit more...)

Can you explain what you mean by "zoom out and see a lot of material"?  The reason I am asking is from what I can see, a Good HTML structure, especially with CSS for formatting, might work very well for you.  You can use a masterpage concept to create the outline view, you can skip to any page you want without regard to it's location within the "document", you can add pages with a simple writeup, and you can index it with ANY indexer.  Best of all, if you have it on a web server, you can access it from any computer with web access.  Alternatively, you can compile it into an .mht file (I think that is what it is called) and carry it with you as an archived HTML file.  With the right editor, it is as easy to use as Word as well.  The only catch is, I am not sure how you would impliment the Unified View, because I am not completely certain I understand what you want out of the view.


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