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The act of sculpting knowledge

The act of doing a LR is an act of sculpting the shape of available sources of knowledge–both as documents and concepts–trying to uncover the shape of the relationships through adding knots (nodes) and connections and removing that which is not useful, iteratively, as a structure emerges which is useful for both comprehension of what the student knows and how it all fits together, but all to show what is missing and what may be in conflict, as the student gets to grips with the concepts which encode the knowledge of their domain in text.

This is why my PhD has come down to freeform manipulation of glossary terms (as created manually by the student, stored as wordpress blogs posts and continuing explicit relationships from the specific term’s perspective) in a non-linear graph space, where the terms can quickly move back into a regular word processing view.


It is too much work conceptually and financially to work with both documents/citations as they are in Author and concepts as they are in WordPress in the Glossary. I have chosen to focus on concepts though, as that is what constitutes the shape of the knowledge space, with the citations remaining in a future implementation because they are important, they are what anchors the asserted concepts. I spent a considerable amount of time working on integrating the two but it is a mess at this stage.

Hegland, 2019.

Transition between Word Processing View and Dynamic View

  • User mouses over a glossary term and the term goes bold and gets a * user then clicks to toggle into dynamic space with term in the middle, selected and showing connections from itself to other terms
  • Pinch out produces all he terms in a default view and subsequently in whatever state the user left the layout with no term selected and no connection lines shown
  • To return to word processor view user can pinch in or click on the toolbar at the bottom of the document if we add such a control, in addition to using the ‘View’ menu item: Toggle Dynamic View cmd-d

Dynamic View

  • In the dynamic view the terms are the same size and font as the body text in the word processing view
  • User can move terms around freely
  • User can move term onto another term and the glossary terms dialog appears, as blogged, where the term dragged onto is selected as the other term, in the bottom part of the dialog

User can double click on desktop to create a new node. User types on the screen, like Scapple. User can hit enter and concept is shown in mid-grey, stored only in Author, not WordPress. Double click on it and Glossary dialog opens.


  • As per normal Author logic, user can edit in edit mode and read in read mode.
  • This view concerns only WordPress stored glossary terms, not citations/documents
  • In the future, citations should be in its own layer to support the assertions of the concepts and their relationships but not for the initial versions. I have not yet worked out how this can fit or how citations and concepts can link.
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