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Category: Liquid | Projects

Liquid Information Projects.

Update (June 2019)

A friend asked for an update to introduce someone to the book project and the work in general so I thought I might as well post it as an update here in my journal:

 

Flow

With that aim I have developed an interactive text utility for macOS (I’m afraid all my work is in the Apple ecosystem, for my sins) called Liquid | Flow which allows the user to use a myriad of commands within half a second to search for highlighted text or to translate it and more. The site for this and my main project; Liquid | Author, is www.liquid.info

Author

Liquid | Author is a minimalist word processor with powerful tools for the digital age. It is not hamstrung by attempting to mimic paper but liberated by enabling rich interactions: Collapse the document into an instant outline with a pinch of the trackpad and see all occurrences of any text without having to scroll through the document looking for yellow boxes. Add citations from Books, Web, Video & Academic Documents instantly, and search any online resource in half a second.

It is also the first word processor with an integrated Dynamic View for freeform thinking, brainstorming, concept mapping and mind mapping. You can see the new 2 minute video demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCpJTRd0hrE

Visual-Meta & Reader

Finally, and I perhaps most importantly, is my notion of a visual-meta information system, for which I am building a new PDF reader called Liquid | Reader (I don’t use my imagination on naming things I have been told). It should be in the App Store around next weekend.
The origins of the approach is acceptance that PDFs are embedded in the academic (and business) world and that the act of ‘freezing’ information at the point of publishing is useful and important, but it should not be a struggle to utilise a document’s meta-information for such basic and core uses as citing a document.
It is based on the premise that documents should be readable, both by humans and systems and this is done by adding a visual meta information section at the end of the document. Please have a look at the blog post, with contains a roughly made demo video using Author and Reader to make this happen: http://wordpress.liquid.info/printed-meta/
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Glossary and Citation in dynamic view in an integrated way

Glossary and Citation in dynamic view in an integrated way

Let user define a glossary entry in Author. A simple dialog where the user can define terms in relation to older terms. These terms are stored in Author (not the document) and are continuously synched with a WordPress version.

Define


Hegland, 2019.

Choosing one fo the radio buttons on top changes some of the fields, while leaving the section to specify relationships:

  • Document changes the dialog into the same fields as we have in the cmd-t citation dialog
  • Concept is as shown
  • Person asks for identifiers such as ORCID, a US ID for academics and adds fields like birth date, affiliation, published documents and nationality, all of which are optional
  • Company adds fields for company specific information including stock market listing, if any, location etc.
  • Place allows the user to specify location using several different means, including address, GPS and Maps etc.

Dynamic View

In the dynamic view, the user may click on a term which is a glossary item and any connected terms will show as small boxes, which the user can drag anywhere (Chris Gutteridge Weblaux style)…

Double-Click for more View

…or the user can double click to see all occurs of that text, as usual, but with the definitions 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
Author/Person
Institution/Place
Concept

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.

Fundamentals

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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