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Category: 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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KJ-Ho is a method invented by the  Japanese ethnologist, Jiro Kawakita, developed as a result of having difficulties in interpreting ethnographic data in Nepal (Scupin, 1997).


 In Japan, by far the most popular creative problem-solving methodology using creative thinking is the KJ Ho method. This method puts unstructured information on a subject matter of interest into order through alternating divergent and convergent thinking steps.

Susumu Kunifuji, 2013

Jiro explained the process in his  paper (Kawakita, 1991), in which the relevant aspect for Liquid View is the visual problem solving method, the basic steps of which are:

• Label Making is the process of writing down everything relevant on index cards.
• Label Grouping is the process of grouping the cards according to relevancy.
• Group Naming to name the groups of cards.
• Spatial Arrangement to arrange the Groups into useful arrangements.
• Relationship Settings to use links to indicate the relationships between the objects/nodes, where the shapes of the links convey the nature of the relationship:
  – Cause and effect: One is a predecessor or a cause of another   ––>
  – Interdependence: Objects are dependent on each other    <––>
  – Correlation: Both objects relate to one another in some way   ––
  – Contradiction: Objects are conflicting to each other   >––<
• Verbal or written explanation. The last step is to explain the chart clearly which other visual thinking systems neglect


Relevance to Liquid View

This system has quite a rigorous process behind it, which is not something which would naturally fit with the Liquid View but the general process is very much what was planned for Liquid View. Giving arrow designs meaning is interesting and I think a way to teach the user what the different designs mean would be to the interaction to make lines from one node to another be through dragging one node onto another and have drop zones reveal options for what links should be made, including the ones above and the ones I have added below, with both textual description and visual.

• Relationship Settings

  – Notes: dotted greyed lines to indicate unsure relationships
  – Labels: greyed lines to indicate labels the author has set to comment on a node. This will likely not show up in the word processing view
  – Comments: On locked documents or in read mode, red lines to indicate that someone other than the author has added text, which is thus referred to as a comment


Furthermore, since Liquid View will be a digital implementation, the labels for the links can be used to filter which nodes and links should be shown and in what ways.

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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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