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Tinderbox: book notes (Read 43081 times)
Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #15 - Jan 08th, 2011, 6:20pm
 
This, incidentally, reminds us of a useful Tinderbox lesson: read the release notes.  They describe nice new features and additions that are easy to overlook.

For newcomers, release notes are sorted in three flavors:
  • Major (not otherwise categorized): new features, new views, new capabilities.  Everyone will want to know about these.
  • Minor: Extensions and improvements; new actions and queries. Frequent users will want to review these.
  • Details: Cosmetic fixes and improvements that you might be able to observe, but that you probably won't notice.


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Christopher Menice
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #16 - Jan 9th, 2011, 8:17am
 
Thank you Mark.  I'll be reading the release notes from here on out.  I think I'll even go back and read some previous ones.

I'm also working my way through The Tinderbox Way, but there's a lot in there.  Thanks again for the help so far.
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Annabel
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #17 - Nov 11th, 2012, 10:33am
 
Hi, I've been searching for a way to organize my book notes and wondering if Tinderbox is the most appropriate tool or if it's overkill given the relative simplicity of what I want to do (and if so, what alternative would you recommend):

–collect quotes with bibliographical and page reference. I saw from Mark' s and Ben's posts that this can be done. I'm just wondering how that works when I've accumulated notes and quotes from hundreds of books–would it be better to have one document per book or is it better to have them all under one document called "book notes" so that I can do searches between books?

–make notes with my own summaries and observations, linked to appropriate quotes as needed (I understand that this can be done as well)

–sort notes and quotes from different books by topic, be able to both make connections between ideas from different books by hand (with links or whatever) and serendipitously discover connections through some kind of intelligent search mechanism. I read about how Steven Berlin Johnson does that with DevonThink but that program seems like overkill for what I want to do, plus I like the visual tools included with Tinderbox

–be able to sort my book list by topic, author, etc.

–take bits and pieces from various notes on various books and assemble them into an outline for an essay (or book, eventually) and export it into a word processing program

–store blog posts/essays and ideas for new blog posts, sorted by topic so I can see at a glance what topic I haven't written about in a while, with links to book notes or other relevant articles or websites as needed

Thank you for indulging my total newbie questions.

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« Last Edit: Nov 11th, 2012, 11:25am by Annabel »  
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #18 - Nov 11th, 2012, 12:03pm
 
This is a great Tinderbox application.

You'll find some discussion of this sort of Tinderbox task in the forum, the old wiki, and in my blog (and other blogs) under the heading of "commonplace book", the early modern practice of copying extracts and comments about borrowed books into a personal notebook.

My suggestion would be to keep notes about related books together.  It's easy to split them apart if the document growns unwieldy, and you might well want to search related notes together.

If, on the other hand, you've got a lot of booknotes about (say) ancient Southwestern archaeology, and also have a lot of book notes about the Victorian feminist utopian novel, I don't think there's much to be gained by keeping them together.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #19 - Nov 12th, 2012, 7:29am
 
There are a lot of very open-ended questions which are best teased out into separate thread (topics) to explore in depth - I'm not clear if you're asking whether tto do these things or the mechanics of how to do them. Anyway, Mark B has answered the one/many document question. In ssence it boils down to the breadth of your data and personal choice.  Get the split wrong? It doesn't really matter. Splitting or merging Tinderbox documents is possible so if in doubt it's better to just dive in rather than get stuck in analysis paralysis and not get started.

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–make notes with my own summaries and observations, linked to appropriate quotes as needed (I understand that this can be done as well)

You can make notes and and link them to references to books (or store the reference in the note), or make notes representing books you're studying and link your commentary notes that. The 'right' way will again on your style and needs. Visually-focused people will tend to Maps as a primary view, others prefer Outline or Chart view.  The context (app view type) in which you do your main review and analysis will colour how you will want to customise your file. If you use Bookends (BE) as your database for citations, Tinderbox (TB) supports drag-drop of BE reference data.

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–be able to sort my book list by topic, author, etc.

All TB containers (notes containing other notes) and agents can sort their contents on pretty much any system attribute and any user attorbutes (the latter being those you add to your TB document). The simplest way is via a container's (or agent's) Rename dialog.

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–sort notes and quotes from different books by topic, be able to both make connections between ideas from different books by hand (with links or whatever) and serendipitously discover connections through some kind of intelligent search mechanism.

To sort by something like 'topic' you will need to decide how this is indicated. It might be a word of phrase in existing note text ($Text attribute) or it might be values you have placed in a user-created attribute. For instance you might add an attribute $Topic that you could populate and then search via agents. In making such an attribute, consider whether it will only hold one topic per note or several; for the former a String-type attribute is got whereas for the latter a Set-type attribute would be a better choice.

Quote:
–store blog posts/essays and ideas for new blog posts, sorted by topic so I can see at a glance what topic I haven't written about in a while, with links to book notes or other relevant articles or websites as needed

Sorting has already been covered - but if you want help with the mechanic of sorting do post a question in the Q&A forum

Tip: you'll find you get more/better answers by separating questions into more tightly defined threads. Posting a number of different questions in separate threads is actually a help to everyone - more posts are good - as topics can be dealt with in more detail.

Do keep the questions coming, and don't be wary of just diving into Tinderbox use - unlike many applications it doesn't penalise for not making 'correct' guesses about use as you start out. Indeed, one of it's strengths is allowing you add any necessary structure as its need becomes apparent.
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Annabel
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #20 - Nov 12th, 2012, 8:52am
 
Thanks very much, Mark B. and Mark A. I just wanted to know if those things were possible and whether or not using Tinderbox to do them was overkill. Time to go play with the program!
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #21 - Jan 28th, 2013, 6:08pm
 
I've recently begun using the built-in StartDate and EndDate to record when I start and finish reading each book. I can then use the Timeline view to get a nice visual history of my reading habits.

Here's a screenshot of this year so far...



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Steve Zeoli
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #22 - Jan 29th, 2013, 2:23pm
 
That's a brilliant idea. I am afraid that if I used this trick it would make me cry to see how long it takes me to read a book. I just finished the one I've been working on for the past three weeks!
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Martin Boycott-Brown
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #23 - Feb 8th, 2013, 7:51am
 
Hmmm. I've just counted ten books on my shelves that I've got half way through and then stopped -- one at least that I started about six years ago, if my memory serves me correctly. And then there are about five more that I started but never got beyond the first twenty pages. Somehow I don't think I will be using this idea!

Martin.
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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #24 - Feb 8th, 2013, 2:16pm
 
I confess to a similar problem with "irregular" reading habits. I mean, with TV and the Tinderbox Forum and Twitter and everything, these days who actually *finishes* magazine articles, let alone full-length books?!

To feel truly inadequate (but also glimpse other Tinderbox approaches) check out this page and this map. When I first saw that imposing map cluster–at a Tinderbox weekend before Timeline View existed–I remember asking something like, "How long did it take to read all those?" To that I received the astounding reply, "Oh, just an hour or so on the plane."

Clarification that the "hour or so" referred to the time it took to put the Map together, not to read the books, made me feel a *little* better.

Anyway, great idea to use Timeline View for something like this. Timeline for me is another one of those truly unique features of Tinderbox almost impossible to replicate elsewhere with the same combination of ease and power.
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« Last Edit: Feb 8th, 2013, 11:10pm by Sumner Gerard »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #25 - Feb 8th, 2013, 5:43pm
 
It's too easy to get up on setting both start and end. Even a single date can help. When did I read that paper? Put it in $StartDate and timeline can show back to you the order and rate of your research. YMMV: it might mean a lot to one user and nothing to another.

Still, I think the concept is interesting. The point to remember is that if you want to use a Timeline you must at minimum set $StartDate. In this context if you want to use this info you might use a prototype and make that use a rule:

$StartDate |= $Created

Thus the former is set once, and once only, to the date your note was created which is likely the date you started reading the reference. Setting $EndDate is quite optional.
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« Last Edit: Feb 9th, 2013, 6:47am by Mark Anderson »  

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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #26 - Feb 9th, 2013, 12:13am
 
@Mark A That rule is a great idea, perhaps a worthy candidate for suggestion to be default behavior. I have been puzzled to read assertions elsewhere—I think on Scrivener forums—that TB's timeline is hard to use. That's a bum rap. As you point out, for it to be up and running and immediately useful all it needs is a value for $StartDate in notes placed in a container. Things don't get much simpler than that. If $StartDate were populated with a default (that of course can be overridden, just as with the rule) this great feature would probably seem much more accessible. As it is I would guess I'm not the only one with a first encounter something like this: Choose New Timeline View from the menu, see a bunch of notes at left instead of spread out on a timeline, and think it must take a lot of work to get this thing set up so maybe I'll try it some other day, if I have time.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #27 - Feb 9th, 2013, 6:47am
 
To avoid setting every $startDate - which might be overkill you could always make a stamps with this code:

$StartDate |= $Created
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Sumner Gerard
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #28 - Feb 9th, 2013, 1:27pm
 
The stamp idea is practical for me. Thanks.  But I'm thinking probably the distinction between stamps and rules and things is lost on a lot of people trying out Tinderbox who then opine elsewhere about it being too hard to use, even to set up a timeline. Having $StartDate populated with a default would be one way to reduce the initial friction in setting up a timeline while taking nothing away from more experienced users looking to take advantage of Timeline View's fantastic multiband flexibility. I'm always happy to tinker with the great ideas for rules and stamps and action code I see here on the forum, in aTbRef and the Cookbook, etc. Prospective users, though, may rule out TB as "too hard" before realizing something like Timeline View is really *very* easy, and, as demonstrated in this thread, useful in perhaps unexpected ways.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Tinderbox: book notes
Reply #29 - Feb 9th, 2013, 3:04pm
 
You could always use an OnAdd action in your container

    $StartDate |= $Created

This will set the start date to $Created if you haven't already set it.  Hard to be easier than that.

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« Last Edit: Feb 9th, 2013, 3:04pm by Mark Bernstein »  
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