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Category: Interactive Text Space Diagram

Text Collaboration

I would very much like to see if anyone is interested in collaborating on text technologies and document as well as building a Visual-Meta system. It was developed as a response to the frustration of how crap digital-document-meta information is and how we as PhD students need to rely on citation management databases. It was developed for my work on Literature Reviews and to power innovations such as my own Dynamic Views and hopefully ideas far beyond this. Here is a 2 min demo:

I have been working on a macOS word processor called Liquid | Author which features novel interactions, as inspired by my friend and mentor Doug Engelbart.

I also host the annual Future of Text Symposium so yes, I’m quite passionate about text :-)

Please email me at if you prefer, or go through the spreadsheet for WAIS or contact me any way you prefer.

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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

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.


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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View Changes

Having been ‘playing around’ with a build of Liquid | Author with both pinch-in for Table of Contents and pinch-out for Dynamic View even I have problems with muscle memory of which way to pinch for what, so we will only have one pinch for all the views: Pinch-in for TOC/DV etc…

Once in the pinch view, the user will be able to toggle between different layouts, including:

  • Single Column (traditional TOC)
  • Multi Column (each with level one locked to the top with each column being showing sub-headings. This is the key initial view, with the user being able to add nodes freeform anywhere and then attach them to the column
  • Citations View of all the cited documents plus any they drag in from the desktop
  • Timeline View where citations and (in the future) other timeline data is put on a timeline, with an option for having a second axis for author etc.
  • Freeform View where the user can brainstorm
  • Etc., to be decided in the future.


New Basic Layout

There will be no visible toolbars. On mouse over there will be a heading at the top or bottom, as described below.

When the user drags a heading towards the top (where the level one headings are locked), a guide line appears, to indicate that these are in a special area:

Note also that there is more space over the level 1 headings to let a user easily click and drag a level 1 heading and move it away from level 1 or left or right, without spawning the top menu, so the top menu is only spawned if mouse-overed above that.


New Toolbar and Behaviour

There will be a new toolbar at the top–accessible only in Dynamic View mode–with icons for layout in Dynamic View mode, which are the ones we currently use, as chosen buy Jacob, but centered and on the toolbar.

The toolbar at the bottom will have a text change to change the font for the word count into the same font as the rest of the bar and put the number first).

The toolbars will now be slightly darker than before and will have a drop shadow, as shown below.

The toolbars will only appear on mouse over that area (or tap in iOS) but not together, only on mouse over top for top bar and bottom for bottom bar, this image is for simplification:




Transition Animations

Here are three transition animations to consider the feasibility of when for going through the different Dynamic Layout views when the user does two finger horizontal swipe, all mocked up in Keynote.

The first one is an object move effect:

Object Cube Swipe:

Object Cube Flip:

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