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Category: HyperGlossary

Glossary, Citation, Author, Image, Heading in Dynamic View

The question of how to display the different nodes has been one of ongoing thinking since it’s easy to add icons but it’s harder to simplify and I do not want to build messy views. Having developed the dynamic view and being able to use it and ‘feel it’ I have decided that any and all text in the dynamic view should appear in the same way.

In the dynamic view text which appears in the document–or which have a glossary term associated with it–bold and white. Special text, such as that for a citation, an author’s name or a web address, will all be treated the same, except the URL will be underlined.

There will be no special icons or type treatments for different elements-users will know what they are and interactions will remind them.


To Add Nodes (Text)

just type

Keyword: Double-click on the canvas and type. If the keyword is in the document it will be white and bold. On double-click it will open with a list of occurrences in the document.

Glossary Term, same as above. If it is in the document or in the list of glossary terms it will be white and bold. On double-click it will open with definition above the list of occurrences in the document.

or cmd-shift-k (or drag from desktop) or cmd-k

Citation: cmd-shift-k to choose from the list of cited documents or drag a PDF document from the desktop. On double-click it will open with citation information above the list of occurrences in the document. In the dialog there will be options to select all and also to automatically keep adding citations to the dynamic view when they are added to the document.

Image:  cmd-shift-k to choose from the list of used images or drag an image from the desktop. On double-click it will open in the document if it was taken from the document and is still present.

Heading:  cmd-shift-k to choose from the list of headings used in the document. On double-click it will open to that section in the document.

Web Address: Paste a URL or cmd-k on selected node. On double-click it will open that page in the user’s browser.


Define Nodes

To define a node, for example to define a node as being the name of an author, means creating a glossary term. To do this the user selects the node and ctrl-clicks and chooses ‘Define’ or keyboard ‘cmd-(something)’ or controls will be visible on click–this is not yet decided.


Define Glossary Term Relationship

Drag one node onto another and a dialog will ask:

  • Connect
  • These Are The Same (only appears if at least one node is a glossary term)

‘Connect’ will then ask the user to describe the relationship in both directions, same as making a new glossary term and connecting it to previous terms.

‘These Are The Same’ will add the non-Glossary term to the aliases of the Glossary term (by adding it to the ‘Name’ field after a ‘,’) if one is a glossary. If both are glossary terms a second dialog will ask which one to keep and which one to delete and if the user wants the definition from the deleted one to be moved onto the kept one.


Glossary Term Click for Related Terms

Click to highlight and if it’s a glossary term it will show any connected terms in small boxes, which the user can snap away from the node to drag anywhere (Chris Gutteridge Weblaux style):

If the user chooses to drag another term out of that list, the relationship is indicated by a san-serif font in all caps, aligned along the connecting line. User can click on this text to reverse it (using the relationship definition from the other term, such as ‘invented by’ and ‘invented’) and hide it and only have the line:

The user can drag a term onto other text and the system will prompt the user to specify a relationship or to state that the terms are the same.


Double-Click-For-More View

The user can double click to see all occurs of that text, as usual, but with the glossary definition or citation information on top:

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Combining Citations & Glossaries

The question I am working on in this post is how the Visible-Meta PDF model can support a student going through citation review and a teacher in quickly establishing if the citation space interrogation was done to a sufficient depth and that conceptual understanding of the knowledge space and the the actors in that space had been developed.

This post is a bit of a personal ramble, until the conclusion at the end

The goal is not simply to build views but to put them where they are most natural and appropriate for the student and teacher, hence the graph below showing Outline and so on.

The documents would be exported with understandable/parseable/semantic citations, headings, body text and descriptions of the views.

Transition to Glossaries Containing Citations

A headache has been the issue of how to deal with the knowledge objects in the system: the documents, their authors and institutions/places and the concepts they contain. I have kept citations separate from glossaries wherein citations contained only the documents and the glossaries all the rest. While modelling the workflow, as shown in the Dynamic Map of this document for example, it is becoming clear that citations are only a type of glossary entry. This became clear when I wondered how to connect documents as citation items and their authors as glossary terms.

This is a snapshot of the dynamic view where glossary terms and citations are still separate. Note also the comments about potential views for a teacher reviewing a document and a student reading a document, with different perspectives for the different use cases.

Transition View. Hegland, 2019.

Storing Glossary Terms

The merging of citations and glossary terms changes the dynamic of how the glossary terms should be stored and interacted with. Previously they were completely out of the document on a WordPress server while the citations where in the document.

The solution now seems to be to store all glossary terms in a Liquid | Author database for export on publishing in the document under the Visual-Meta system and synchronisation with WordPress for integration into blogs.

Citations can enter the system in the following ways:

  • Through being copied from a V-M document
  • Through a V-M document being dragged into the Dynamic View
  • Through being created in the cmd-t dialog
  • Through being attached to an image

Creation of Glossary Terms

Glossary Terms are created through the (current Liquid | Flow, soon the dialog will be in Author) Glossary creation dialog.

I propose a unified dialog box with tabs on the top, very much in the design of our current Export Dialog, where the tabs are;

Cited Document

If the user enters some information the other tabs are greyed out. The idea is to let the user ‘feel’ that these are all in the same kind of category of special information, even though they are different.


The fundamental notion which drives this perspective is that hypertext it very much about connections but we must not forget the elements which connect, which is what the notion of these personally described and explicitly linked entities I call Glossary Terms are.

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When going to bed night before last I flipped through the recommended youTube channels and there was a live cast of the first time Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy had all three boosts safely return to earth. I felt I was watching real human progress, it was amazing and uplifting.

This was also the easter weekend when my son Edgar and I took a (minor) part in the Climate Extinction protest which is also uplifting and inspiring.

This easter was the easter when the roof of the Notre Dame caught fire and had near-instant billion dollar pledges for support to fix it. As a species we have an amazing capacity to do amazing things, but often we don’t. The same human ego that drives massive wealth accumulation needs massive ego reward to spend the money–being important to the future of humanity or even to today isn’t enough.

Last night I watched Elon Musk’s Tesla’s Autonomy Day with my beautiful wife resting in my arms. It was hugely impressive, uplifting and inspiring. Last night’s far as I can piece together, I dreamt of many of these elements in poetic form.

Today I want to do something. Something big and useful.

I have worked on aspects of symbol manipulation for most of my career and I have had some progress but very limited compared with the potential.

Liquid | Flow is a powerful and, judging by actual user reviews, successful text manipulation utility with just 30,000 downloads but happy users. It allows the user to interact with their textual information far more rapidly than through other means, resulting in searches and references being carried out to check on whether news is fake or not much more often than through traditional means. The main problem with Flow is that it’s hard to communicate what it is, it is very hard to sell to someone who is not already interested in more powerful text.

Liquid | Author has had only 17,000 downloads but has not been on the market very long (a bit over a year) and has only had a brief period of being featured by Apple. Reviews are very good but people are not used to paying for software anymore and that severely lowers the cost per unit I can charge. The only effective marketing tool so far is to have Apple love it and feature it on the App Store and that is not a viable strategy for growth.

I can only see one way out of this and that is build and ship something which is so self-evidently more powerful than what we have today so that traditional and social media will spread the message virally.

To do that we need to explode the grey column traditional text layout but not in a demo-app or isn’t it cool kind of way, but in a way integrated into a useful workflow. Yes, this sounds like what I have been working on forever and it is, but it’s time to take it to the next level. I’ll park Author very soon, there are a few small issues needing fixing but I am concerned that they have turned into excuses as much as anything, so the final version of Author (for this round) will be submitted to Apple on Friday.

It will then be one month of work on the Dynamic View which is important for my PhD but also the most visually clear way I can explode the grey text column in a visually-impressive and work-useful way.

And from there on develop more interactions to usefully impress. How about infinite semantic zooming in both directions? How about graphed glossaries with auto-layout? How about gestures to expand and collapse text to fit the whim of the reader? We can do this and more and we can communicate it.

What happens when we unleash text?

Let’s find out.

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