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Category: Lit Review: Literature Review

Citation Lifts

A practical problem in the literature review process is when the user comes across a citation in a document they are reading which looks interesting. The user will need to decide whether to ignore the citation, highlight it somehow for follow up later, follow the citation and either simply add it to a list or management software as another item to the stack or stop reading the current document read the cited document then and there.

To deal with this, the Liquid Reader will therefore allow the following action when a user comes across a citation in a standard PDF document:

The user selects the cited text, including the bracketed citation name & date or the superscript number and chooses a ‘Lift’ command. The software then (automatically and invisibly to the user) jumps to the end of the document for the References/bibliography section where it scans for the reference and uses the extra information to search for it online.

The search results is then presented to the user who can choose to tag and colour code the citation and/or write a note.

If possible, the user can also download the document at this stage. On ‘Save,’ the citation is added to the user’s list of literature review documents for access by any of the above meta-information (where it was found, text in the quote, tag, date found etc.) for opening in the Liquid Reader or Liquid View. Import in a citation management system is also an option.

This will deal with the issue of ‘analog-hyperlinks’ where attention becomes diluted by (potentially useful) distractions by providing the simple function to Lift the cited document to access in a findable way later, while at the same time building up a picture of the knowledge space.

Documents using the suggested Rich PDF formats will be able to support this process more robustly but it should be possible to enable on most PDF documents.

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A review of documentation of the XLibris in regard to literature review and annotation, as suggested by Livia Polanyi.



Beyond Paper: Supporting Active Reading with Free Form Digital Ink Annotations by Bill N. Schilit, Gene Golovchinsky, Morgan N. Price at FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc.


The system provides a ‘collapsed’ view to only show citation and it also provides a skimming mode view, which is similar to something Doug and I came up with.

Web Description


XLibris Examples



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Lit Review: User Interfaces for Personal Knowledge Management with Semantic Technologies

Dipl.-Psych. Heiko Haller. 2011


This thesis describes iMapping and QuiKey, two novel user interface concepts for dealing with structured information.

iMapping is a visual knowledge mapping technique that combines the advantages of several existing approaches and scales up to very large maps. 

QuiKey is a text-based tool to author, browse and query graph-structured knowledge bases in a step-by-step manner. It can be seen as an interactive semantic command- line that offers an alternative way to access the same structured information with very high interaction efficiency. 

Both tools are primarily intended for the domain of personal knowledge management, although they could also be applied more generally.

iMapping combines the core advantages of the mind-mapping, concept mapping and spatial hypertext techniques, which are incompatible in their original form.

By taking a zooming and nesting approach, iMapping allows for deep hierarchical structures, which are crucial for dealing with large amounts of information items. Linking these items in various ways – both formal and informal – allows users to build knowledge models at just the level of formalization that is beneficial for their specific needs.

* Interesting: We cannot manage knowledge itself, but we can manage knowledge cues. Anything can act as a knowledge cue: a knot in a handkerchief, a symbol, a keyword, a scribbled note, a checklist or a mind-map. Anything that reminds a user of what it signifies. *

Short-term memory is very limited. In fact, a human mind cannot have more than around four to seven items consciously present at the same time (Miller, 1956; Cowan, 2001). When dealing with complex subjects, this is a problem.
To be able to process higher amounts of items and grasp complex topics, the mind uses techniques of chunking and abstraction (Anderson, 2005). Also, literature on complex problem solving (Dörner, 2003; Vester, 2002) identifies as a core difficulty to understand the interrelations and interactions between things.
These cognitive shortcomings can be partly relieved by the use of external knowledge media that have been given many names like “memex” (Allegedly either from memory extension or memory index, Bush 1945), “augmentation to human intellect” (Engelbart etc

In fact, recent studies suggest that reducing such cognitive overhead (Conklin, 1987) must be of central concern to the PKM researcher.

In knowledge-intensive activities, it is even more crucial than otherwise, to unburden the user of all cognitive overhead in order to leave as much of the user’s limited working memory to the actual task at hand. Cognitive overhead is that part of a user’s cognitive load that is not directly related to the intended action, but rather to dealing with side- issues or the software as such.

Mind-mapping is an established technique for brainstorming, outlining, note taking and clustering. Mind-maps are however not suitable for relational structures between items because they are constrained to the hierarchical model.

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