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Academic Workflow - Any Suggestion for an Application/s?

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Posted by Matthias Steffens
Feb 26, 2020 at 11:12 PM


Hi Darren,

many thanks for the motivating feedback, it’s much appreciated!

> The only thing that scares me is the use of markdown. I work with rich text because I have a hard time reading and mentally processing markup.

I see, and I understand that formatting markup can get distracting or make things more complex. However, in Keypoints, I choose plaintext as a base format for the notes since this is the most stable & future-proof format.

And adding some very simple Markdown markup (like # for the “title” heading, > for quoted text, or *emphasis*) may be all you need to write your note. In Keypoints, when you select some text in the PDF and create a new note from it, the note’s title and quotation get already created for you (in Markdown syntax).

Other note elements can be added by drag & drop or a menu command / keyboard shortcut. As an example, take a look at the text note displayed in this scrrenshot:

The note contains some quoted text that was highlighted (the text with the light blue background), a link to another note, links to publications (linked via their cite keys), a green label, a (one star) rating, and some keywords. While it’s true that all of these elements require some syntax, they can all be added via drag & drop and/or menu command / keyboard shortcut. And after insertion of an element, its markup is printed in light grey which helps to focus on the content instead.

This approach strives to have these elements both human readable AND machine readable (which I think is crucial). If the notes were only human readable instead, it would be very difficult for an app to add smart features on top of it (like, e.g., the visualization of note connections, or the direct manipulation of note elements via menu/scripting commands). IMO, the Markdown syntax is a good compromise which allows for notes that are both human readable and machine readable.

That said, I plan to offer rich text (RTF) as an export format. That way, one could push all notes to, say, DEVONthink or Scrivener and further work with the notes there.