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MyInfo 6 Just Released

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Posted by WSP
Apr 13, 2011 at 08:48 PM


Daly de Gagne wrote:
>WSP, like you I am a fan of MyInfo, especially now with the multiple open window and
>hoist features. I have always appreciated having the columns, which can accommodate
>various kinds of metadata.
> >I’m interested in how you use MI for academic writing,
>and would be appreciative indeed if you were able to post a brief description of your
> >Thanks.

Daly, it’s difficult to describe briefly, but here are a few major points:

First, for anything I do, I tend to accumulate a lot of references (mainly articles and books). If I think they’re items that I may want to consult for several projects, I may put them (each item a separate document) in a topic called simply “Bibliography” (by now holding several thousand items). But if they are more specialized references that are likely to be used in only one project, I put them in the topic for that project; I place them under an appropriate heading in the tree and add a “bib” tag for each document, so that I can search for bibliographical entries only in the topic if I want to. In either case, I create an attribute called “Done” (i.e. “yes” or “no”) and have a series of tags for libraries and other sources where I can consult these books and articles (e.g., “LC” for Library of Congress, “Google” for Google Books, etc.).

Then I can run a search (in the search box) that reads, let’s say, “custom:no tag:LC tag:bib”, and that will immediately give me a list of all the items I still need to see at the Library of Congress. And of course, if I wish, I can add other words or tags to that search in order to narrow it down a bit. If I have already ordered an item at the LC, I add “ordered [date]” in the text of the document, and a search on “ordered” will tell me what books and articles should be sitting (if the library gods are smiling upon me) on my LC reserve shelf.

As for more general note-taking, I try to create a tree structure that makes sense out of a lot of miscellaneous material, but unfortunately near the beginning of research project, I have only a hazy notion of how it will all be organized eventually. So I settle for a rough-and-ready system of organization as I take notes (using cloning and cross-linking to some extent), but at a later stage, when I am ready to start outlining the book/article/whatever, I create a separate topic that will reflect how the book [etc.] is actually going to be shaped. At that point I tile two open topics on the screen; on the left, my notes (usually including my bibliographical citations); on the right, an outline. In MyInfo, as you probably know, it is extremely easy to create links to a particular document in a topic or even to a particular paragraph within a document. Hence my outline (in the right panel) consists mainly of links to passages in the topic (my original notes) in the left panel.

The actual writing can then be done (if I wish) with three topics tiled on the screen: notes on the left; outline in the middle; and the final text on the right.

Incidentally, since most of my writing is historical in nature, I always create a custom date attribute. With that attribute, I can easily sort my notes (documents), no matter how they are arranged in the tree, in chronological order. I find that very helpful.

I hope this doesn’t sound too cumbersome. It works for me, because it more or less replicates (but much more efficiently) the system I used in pre-computer days. In that antedeluvian era I took all my notes on 5 x 8 cards or slips of paper and organized a piece of writing by sorting the cards into piles on the floor of my study. My study is much neater now.


Posted by WSP
Apr 13, 2011 at 09:00 PM


Mitchell Kastner wrote:

>How do you handle citations with the program?
>How is this
>program any different than Writing Outliner which is an MS Word add-in?
> >Sometimes
>the same snippet of research is relevant to more than just one topic. With a relational
>database that utilizes a tree-structure it is simple to put the same record in
>multiple folders. If I sounded harsh, you are hearing my frustration in not finding an
>outline tool built on a relational database. I cannot imagine why MS Access does not
>have that functionality. Btw: Brilliant does not have QBE (or if it does I have not
>found it) and I just have not had the time to write queries.

Mitchell, see my reply to Daly above for a more general description of how I use MyInfo.

As for your questions, I don’t think of MyInfo as primarily an outliner, though I certainly use it as one from time to time. For me, it’s mainly a note-taking program, and with its tree, its tags, and its attributes, it offers some fairly ingenious ways of organizing information. It’s possible that cross-linking between topics (something that MyInfo does very well) might solve the problem you describe, but I’m not sure. As I said before, what works for one person may not work for another.


Posted by WSP
Oct 14, 2011 at 06:28 PM


Petko, the developer, on his MyInfo blog has *very* belatedly announced the release of MyInfo 6 (which actually came out last spring). I mention this here only because the blog post provides a useful summary of the newest features.


Posted by WSP
Oct 14, 2011 at 06:29 PM


Sorry, I forgot to add the URL: http://blog.milenix.com/

WSP wrote:
>Petko, the developer, on his MyInfo blog has *very* belatedly announced the release
>of MyInfo 6 (which actually came out last spring). I mention this here only because the
>blog post provides a useful summary of the newest features.


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