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Category: Liquid | View

Origins of the Dynamic View in Author

In Doug Engelbart’s demo he showed the power of having different views on the same information, such as when he viewed his shopping list by various criteria and then changed the view to a map: https://youtu.be/yJDv-zdhzMY?t=939

I am not sure if I had seen that when I designed a concept for being able to drag text around on the desktop in the mid-90s which I called the System Wide Scratch Area but the idea of putting things out on a space to work on the relationships seems pretty self-evident. We do it as children and my father did it with his documents in his pre-digital workflow.

analog

Joseph Novak, who has of course been invited to the Future of Text Book, formalised concept mapping and Tony Buzan was inspired by this and developed mind mapping. In the 1940s Alex Faickney Osborn introduced brainstorming. Thinking on a surface either with marks straight not he surface or using some kind of cards goes back a long time, at least to Carl Linnaeus during the 1700s.

digital

What I am investigating though is the ‘magic’ of digital representations above the flexibility of thoughts on cards, but there is still a lot to be learnt from cards, at least until we have digital desk sized desktops.

 

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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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Define Glossary Term

We should let the user define a glossary entry in Liquid | 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.


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.

The bottom section specifies the relationships between terms and will be the same for all types and will have relationships denied both ways (‘invented by’ and ‘invented’ for example).

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