The Liquid | Author Project

The Liquid | Author project is focused on making student-teacher interaction via documents richer and more efficient.

Social text is seeing investment in development and funding and so is collaborative documents, but in academia the finished, ‘frozen’ document represents a framing of a human perspective as part of the student learning process and as such is a crucial part of the development of the student and the academic process itself.

The Author project is built around the student-teacher document workflow, focusing on automating clerical work and giving greater scope for deeper academic engagement.

Author is a component of the Future Text Initiate, which is discussed here:



There are two problems Author addresses:

•  The difficulty for students to produce well thought out, thoroughly researched and correctly cited documents which are clearly and persuasively presented
•  The time it takes teachers to go through large volumes of student writing and give thoughtful feedback effectively


Approaches to Solutions


For students, Author makes the act of citing academic publications, generally available books, videos and other media quick, easy and with added context. This gives the student an effective means through which to show how their work fits within the academic discourse.

Author furthermore features advanced text interaction, through the Advanced Text Interaction Libraries (see below) initiative of which Author is a founder project. The advanced interaction gives students unparalleled opportunities to get to grips with what they are writing, to help them better understand the material.

When the student is done writing a document, the Publish component (see below) guides the student though the process of making sure the document communicates what the student intends to get across, in the correct academic way.


For teachers, Author pre-processes the student document on opening, to check for common issues. Author also provides efficient means for teachers to check the veracity of cited statements and Author provides the teacher with the means to insert comments into the document for the student to review.


Author Current Features

Author is a macOS word processing application with several unique, student centred features which was developed into a working prototype proof-of-concept and which now serves as an interaction study. Special features of Author include:

•  Cuttings remember everything you cut. Cmd-shift-v to paste from your Cuttings.
•  Automatic Outline. Pinch to collapse the documents to only see the headings. Click on a heading to jump or click outside or ESC to return to main body.
•  Powerful Find. Select text and cmd-f to see only sentences which includes the selected text. Click on a sentence to jump to it’s location in the document or click in the margin to return to regular view.
•  Quick Citations. Quickly & easily assign citations via Amazon look-up or Liquid | Flow’s Copy As Citation command.
Read & Edit Modes. Read modes supports spacebar for screen down and select text & spacebar for the text to be spoken.
Academic Export. Export (Author does not feature a ‘Publish’ system) with References automatically appended at the end of the document.
Author Future Features

For potential future features, please have a look at–author-future.html


Publishing & Import Analysis Modules

The Publishing & Import Analysis Modules are designed to guide the student though an analysis process when the chooses to ‘Publish’ their document, to make sure the document handed in is as good as the student is capable of writing, and the same analysis can be done by the teacher on import in order to check for basic issues:

Student Publish

The student will choose a ‘Publish’ option when done writing the paper and this will launch a series of Publish Modules, all of which the student can choose to ignore or to use. These modules include:

•  See an automatically generated summary of the document (as generated by the code in the Open Text Libraries, see below) which will show the student whether or not what was intended to get across actually comes across in the document. The student can click on any sentence in the summary to see what parts of the document contributed to that specific summary, and easily alter the document where needed
•  Check for plagiarism
•  Check writing level
•  Check citations
•  Specify what type of document/assignment this is and answer questions as to which sections correspond to which expected sections, such as a ‘Methods’ section in a science assignment

Publishing will assign unique ID has-tags to the document so that the document can be identified much in the same way a printed copy of a journal can be identified, without having to be at a specific server address.

Teacher Import Analysis

When a teacher opens a student document the document will automatically be analysed using the very same modules the student had access to when ‘Publishing’ the document and a report will be presented, where the teacher can choose to read the document or automatically reply to the student with the issues presented. The fact that both student and teacher have the same modules available should mean a higher level of work is presented and it also means that the teacher can accept other document formats and the analysis will still take place.


Commentary Layer

Implementing a layer in documents for comments and doodles and sketching, to help the reader understand the document and to communicate with the author.



Author is integrated with the other Future Text Initiatives, including:
•  Deep Citations
•  Open Text Libraries
•  Advanced Document Format
•  Time Browser Initiative


Liquid | Author Project Team

This Liquid | Author component is a collaboration between the Project Lead Frode Hegland, director of the Liquid Information Company and PhD student at the University of Southampton and advisor Vint Cerf co-inventor of the internet, Internet Evangelist at Google Inc.

Frode is the developer of the macOS Liquid | Author software application, which is the initial host application for the Open text Libraries and which will use the Advanced Open Document Format standard.