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Academic Workflow - Any Suggestion for an Application/s?

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Posted by Matthias Steffens
Feb 24, 2020 at 03:18 PM


Paul Korm wrote:
> Keypoints looks interesting, but is it different than Highlights?

The basic idea behind Keypoints is indeed similar to Highlights app, i.e. while highlighting text in a PDF, the app extracts these highlight annotations as Markdown text.

That said, there are a some major differences between the apps:

1. Keypoints stores all of its highlight notes as *individual* (Multi)Markdown notes, and each highlight note will be mirrored as an individual plaintext file on disk.

2. All notes are self-contained, i.e., for each note, Keypoints automatically adds a link to the associated PDF file, the PDF annotation info, creation date and (if possible) the bibliographic metadata from your reference manager.

3. Keypoints is a document-based app where each document can contain notes from many different PDF files. Since the generated notes are independent from each other, they can be filtered/gathered freely. When you select a note, its associated PDF file will be automatically opened in the app’s PDF preview, and the PDF will be scrolled to the location containing the original highlight/quotation.

4. Each highlight note has its own unique ID and can thus be linked to other notes (e.g., via drag & drop).

5. Besides adding your own title & comments to a note, you can also assign (via drag & drop, autocompletion, or keyboard shortcut) any keyword(s), a named color label, and/or a rating. These elements help to organize/filter your notes.

6. The organizational note elements (like labels, keywords or links to other notes/files/publications) are hot-linked/clickable and can be used to form a browseable network of notes (which can also be visualized). The app also offers buttons (and swipe gestures) for easy back+forth navigation thru your history of searches & selections.

7. Keypoints parses all recognized elements (title, quotation, page & annotation info, label, creation date, rating, keywords, links to other notes/files/publications) from the plaintext notes, and populates its data model properties with these elements. This, for example, allows to search, filter or sort by just these elements. Plus:

8. Keypoints is heavily scriptable and exposes most of its data model properties via scripting. This means that you can form advanced queries or directly set a note’s property like its title, label or rating etc (you can also do this for many notes at once). Keypoints will then automatically update the note’s text accordingly.

9. Under the hood, Keypoints has the data model of a full-blown reference manager. While this helps with fine-grained metadata imports, this currently isn’t used much. But it may allow for further bibliographic features in the future (like auto-fetching of academic PDFs), and sound integration with reference managers like Bookends, Papers or Bibdesk.

MadaboutDana wrote:

> Dang, Keypoints looks very interesting - nice website already!
> I’ve subscribed so I can get updates. Best of luck with that!

Many thanks, it’s much appreciated!