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Off Topic - Software that can tag paragraphs

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Posted by Lucas
May 16, 2011 at 09:05 PM


DaXiong wrote:
> >If you know of anything, I’d love to hear. If I’ve made you feel good
>about yourself, cause there’s someone crazier than you out there - great! 

Well, I’m right there with you in the crazy camp—-I’ve wanted for a long time to do something like what describe, but each attempt eventually ran out of steam. Currently I’m using Tinderbox on a Mac, but as for XP software:

—InfoQube would be the most flexible and powerful option, I think, although as you said, it does involve a learning curve (similar to Tinderbox). You will have to decide whether to write paragraphs directly in the outliner or in the separate HTML pane. If you write directly in the outliner, this gives you the ability to “hoist” to specific paragraphs or mash up combinations of tagged paragraphs however you want. I tried this once and it basically worked, although it required a lot of tweaking. On the other hand, if you write in the HTML pane, it will have more of the feel of a word processor, a more flexible and powerful writing space, but you will thereby forfeit, as far as I know, a “combined view” whereby you could edit multiple paragraphs at once (unless you export them).

—ConnectedText is also very powerful, but again you will be limited in terms of a combined view. There are very powerful export options, but I never found a good way to move back and forth between editing in a combined view and editing a granular (paragraph-specific) view.

—Scrivener seems like it might hit the sweet spot, because the bar is significantly lower for getting started, and it’s one of the only pieces of software that allows editing in both combined view and granual view. But the tagging and sorting features are far more limited than in either InfoQube of ConnectedText.

—Microsoft Word: I once came up with a highly complicated scheme using columns, margin notes, Outline View, and so forth, but it turned into a big mess. But it could be worth exploring.

—Excel is also a good option, especially given that it has rudimentary outlining. When I tried it out for this purpose, however, I became frustrated with the lack of power features like smart folders and so forth, and I abandoned it at the time for InfoQube.

—OneNote also comes close in certain ways, but falls short in others. When you want to view notes that have a certain tag, for instance, it copies the notes into the new view, such that any editing you do in that view will not affect the original copies of the notes. This is a major limitation, although in other respects it’s excellent software.

—Whizfolders allows basic tagging, but also lacks editing in combined view (although a read-only combined view does exist).

—Emacs Org-Mode could also work very well, but the learning curve is a bit high.

—Finally, for what it’s worth, I would mention Sense Editor from SilvaElm, although I don’t think it offers tagging. But it might be worth encouraging the developer to add that feature, because what it does offer is a very powerful way to do outlining of individual paragraphs, while also offering, at the same time, a normal word processor view of the document.

Well, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but I hope that’s helpful.


Lucas D