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Structure or metaphor used in info management software

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Posted by tsahar
Mar 16, 2017 at 01:26 PM


Thank you, Paul Korm and Ken. Have emailed Mark Bernstein my query. Will definitely check comparative articles about HyperCard and other similar software. Will report back to the forum if something tangible is found.


Posted by tsahar
Mar 17, 2017 at 04:58 PM


On Paul Korm’s suggestion, I wrote to Mark Bernstein who was kind enough to respond to my newbie-ish query (i.e. the first message in this thread). With his permission, I am sharing his response on this forum:

The best and most detailed exploration in (part of) this area, and one of the best reviews of any software sector, is Ted Goransom’s “About This Particular Outliner.”  It’s aging but incisive. http://www.atpm.com/Back/atpo.shtml

Personal information tools grew up in an era in which databases seemed to be the core of all information processing, and in which database theory was central to a good deal of thinking about systems.  Databases — especially network databases (cf. the work of Charlie Bachmann) — were far more influential than the UI metaphors you describe.  See, especially NoteCards (Xerox PARC, Halasz and Trigg) and the Smalltalk-80 book (Goldberg and Kay).

The Proceedings of the ACM Hypertext Conference in its early years are filled with papers in this area, many of them still worth reading.


Posted by Paul Korm
Mar 17, 2017 at 05:18 PM


It’s interesting to realize ATPM/ATPO are over 20 years old, and have been gone these five years already.  Mark is correct, in my opinion: ATPM/ATPO is a wonderful source of guidance for Mac users, despite that it is no-longer current.

Another source you might want to check into is Dave Winer at Scripting New (scripting.com).  Dave first specified RSS and the OPML standard that powered it—and was present at the creation of many outlining / notetaking / IM experiments and apps 15-20 years ago (or more).  (He claims he invented blogging.  Well, maybe.)  He’s a garrulous sort and may give you a different point of view than Mark in some ways.

A third source is Shelley Hayduk, inventor (along with her husband, Harlan Hugh) of TheBrain.


Posted by Jeffery Smith
Mar 17, 2017 at 11:20 PM


When I made the switch to Mac about a decade ago, I pored over http://www.atpm.com for weeks. I’m surprised but pleased that it is still up for others to peruse.


Posted by Hugh
Mar 18, 2017 at 12:23 PM


Jeffery Smith wrote:
When I made the switch to Mac about a decade ago, I pored over
>www.atpm.com for weeks.

So did I. Ah the Good Old Days! It was also the place where I first read contributions by people such as AmberV (now working with Keith Blount at L&L).



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