Elements in Liquid Views

The elements of what will be available visually on the screen to interact with will include:



•  Columns which are Headings which are connected vertically and are the basic layout.  

•  Headings which are the things which are primarily interacted with. These will have typographic attributes which will initially be the same as in the word processing view, with the same user-specified font attributes. These can be modified to convey meaning by altering any of the properties, including type family, weight, colour, size, kerning and so on.

•  Sub-Heads which show up always connected to the/snapped to headings are designed, to let the author explain headings. They appear in the word processing view as sub-headings. They can be created in the liquid view or in the word processor view. The reason for them is that they act as Notes on the Headings to explain more about them.

•  Glossary Items should be interactable in this view, visually distinct and possible to toggle on/off and to create and edit in this view. 

•  Web Items. It should be possible to drag and drop or summon via links any text which has a URL, or a part of a book marks list, to enable Vannevar Bush style trails. 


•  Manual Connections are visible lines between the Headings which can be modified by colour, thickness, texture, shape and whether there are arrows at the extremities or names or icons in the centre. For simplicity and logical consistency these links should be simple whereas the next category, where there can be value in having different types of links look different, should have the variation. Therefore the initial suggestion is for thin black lines. 

•  Criteria Based Connections are visible lines between the Headings which can need to look different from the manually created links. 

•  Internet Links are links to URLs, which need to be indictable somehow, as elements and/or connections. 

Summoned Information

•  Body Text. The view should support showing some or all of the body text depending on user choice, such as the first sentence of the paragraph under the heading, presented similar to the sub-head, or all body text to appear through a mouse-over or click interaction. 

•  Persistent Badges to show further meaning such as indicating that a heading is actually a link to another .liquid document or the web.

•  Mouse-Over/Interaction Badges/Controls which appear when required, to allow the user to get further information from an element or to move it or further interact with it.

•  Body Text Elements of specific categories should be possible to draw forth when desired, such as showing all links under a heading, names or other keywords – anything which can be defined. These should be possible to draw forth and to define connections with. 

•  Means to enter a keyword which will result in connecting lines to all the headings where the keyword is present, or only showing headings where the keyword is present.

•  Overlays or Backgrounds can help convey the meaning of relationships through labeled/un-labeled box shapes or labelled/un-labelled divider lines. These would not show up in the word processor view. 


•  Annotations will be an important aspect for someone who is not the author to add at some point. This is not being dealt with in this project. 

The Space


•  Colour/texture/image background, useful to help differentiate different liquid views or aspects of the views.


Addressing the issue of the vocabulary of elements in a document. The items listed below can exist alone in a document or as a part of a document with others. These elements can be text, scribbles, tags, applet bits of code and other means of marking intention. 

• External Notes : Notes to be used in document later or not

Notes used where needed.

• Knowledge Container/Frame : Document

Any self-contained addressable or portable framing of any of the components listed above, including composite and single items.


• Main Document Text : Text in document without additional, tagged information. 

This refers to the plain text of the main body text

  Thoughts : Notes, Writings

Our thoughts are simply notes created by us without primarily referencing something else in the world.

  Something in the World : Citations

Something in the world which can be addressed and cited somehow. This can be a clipping/cutting or a URL or just the data itself which a system can search for and locate in an origin document/location. Includes text, Pictures, Video, Audio and Graphs.

  Thoughts about Something in the World : Annotations

Something which exists in the world, such as an article and we add a note to it, we annotate it with our thoughts. This can be through adding meta-information in a digital environment with explicit ‘tags’ but it can also mean simple highlights, strokes and shapes around text or other information.

  Thoughts about Something in Our Work : Comments

We comment on our own documents for ourselves and/or for others.

The Proof Is In The Pudding

They say the proof is in the pudding so I decided to try to make sense of the mass of documents in my folder for the 9 month report by taking it from this:



To this, using Scapple:


I’m sitting in the Groucho’s lobby working for a few minutes before the Big Guys Gather for the Little Guy dinner (me and my male friends having a boy’s baby shower since Emily decided to wait for a gathering until after Kazu is born), so I will be working on the logic and layout for this tomorrow. Already some patterns are beginning to show, but I have to close my laptop soon. Here is what I have the following Tuesday:


What became clear when working on this is that it does not really reflect a logic of a word processing document – the bold headings on the left hand side are the categories/sections I should be using for this document, but here they are just indications. I therefore decided to make the bold level one headings and have the ‘document’ presented as columns, each for a level one heading, 4 headings wide and this made much more sense:

The lines are still just reminder lines for me and there are a few headings/nodes which are not under a level one heading (for example; ‘A Personal Note on the Process’) which would be at the very end of the document in word processor view.

This leads to a couple of insights/ideas

The default layout of liquid view should not be the same as Table of Contents view.

The user should be able to specify automatic layouts for the level one view, such as the grid shown here (by keyboard 1,2,3,4 to indicate the number of columns), in the same way the user should able to choose to ‘Align vertical’ and so on.


Chris, Mark & Glossaries

I met with Chris Gutteridge and Mark Anderson for lunch in Southampton today (Chinese, quite good) and we talked mostly about glossaries, after discussions on how much of academia is nonsense, or at least sub-optimally designed. Chris said something like Scholarly communications should in support of the Scientific method. This is not at all the case today though. Science and Academia are very different but academia should at least support the scientific method. I like that. 

BTW, guys, when I refer to your names, there should be a way for you to be notified or a site for you should list it maybe? Anyway, that’s another challenge. 


When mostly talked about glossary systems, taking some time to agree on terminology and then use cases. 

It became clear that this is something which we are passionate about so we really hacked into it. 

We discussed several perspectives and decided that the system should be net based, not just local, so as to be able to deal with group glossaries and working from multiple devices. 


To make a glossary entry you can enter it into whatever front end system you are using, just like making a note card. If you are in a word processor or a system like that and you want text in your document to become glossary entry, simply select it, keyboard shortcut/menu choice and ‘Assign As Glossary Term’ and you get the same dialog box, which you can add text to as well as links and this is important: the Glossary frame/document will have exactly the same interactions available as a regular document. 

We decided that only the glossaries which are in the document text will be appended to the document when it is published. The glossary will be appended to the document at the end of the document, under a ‘Glossary’ header. This will enable the reader to skip down to the glossary and learn new terms, if desired. This method is also computer-understandable so any enabled reader software will be able to show the glossary entry when text with a glossary entry for it is interacted with somehow. 

There was a suggestion that the first occurrence of text with a glossary entry attached will be bolded or something else visually, to indicate that it has a glossary entry. My wife Emily thought this might make the document a bit messy, if there are a lot of entries in the glossary, so this is up for testing. IF, however, a term merits special attention, it can of course be manually bolded or have a Comment° attached to it.



The benefits of such a system would be to allow someone to write a clear and concise document without having to explain every specialist term, which could make documents more clear and concise.. It would furthermore benefit readers who are new in a field.