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Outliner for redacting?

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Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 22, 2011 at 03:30 PM

 

Many thanks for the prompt replies. Great suggestions. Unfortunately I don’t have a Mac, so I can only explore the PC suggestions. As I’m really pressed for time, I will probably try the most intuitive software suggested, which seems to be Scrivener.

Later on I’ll try to come back to ConnectedText and Emacs and Vim. I’ve tried ConnectedText in the past, but for some reason I couldn’t get my head around it. Similarly, Emacs and Vim seem like requiring a steep learning curve. I don’t have a techie background, so I’m coming at it with more of a humanities-type of brain.

I might give Sense another try as well. I have a feeling that I haven’t quite grasped its full potential.

This is the problem with us artsy types: if the manual and help files (or even the website) are too technical in language, it becomes a turn-off… Maybe that’s why I never mastered UltraRecall…

 


Posted by JBfrom
Sep 22, 2011 at 03:47 PM

 

Emacs is impossibly forbidding unless you find the right resources, and then it’s pretty easy. I haven’t tried vim yet but would probably use an emacs minor-mode to emulate it.

Anyway here’s a resource page and video I made that teaches emacs for humanities types (skipping the programming nonsense): http://www.cyborganize.org/productivity/videos/fast-start/emacs-org-mode-installation-configuration-and-tutorial/

 


Posted by Cassius
Sep 22, 2011 at 08:14 PM

 

Inspiration can read .rtf files and convert them into Inspiration files.  The resulting outline structure will depend on the structure of your original document.

WOULDN’T IT BE EASIER JUST TO DO ALL OF IT IN WORD?  (My son, a senior video game producer, has written both a technical book and a novel, and he finds it ultimately most efficient to just do all of it in Word, along with either a file or paper listing of notes.)

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 22, 2011 at 09:15 PM

 

Cassius wrote:
>WOULDN’T IT BE EASIER JUST TO DO ALL OF IT IN WORD?  (My son, a senior video
>game producer, has written both a technical book and a novel, and he finds it
>ultimately most efficient to just do all of it in Word, along with either a file or paper
>listing of notes.)

In my case it’s not only about what is the easiest and most efficient. I’m hoping that by using the right kind of tool I will be able to get a better understanding of the content and structure of the text, so that by reducing it in size I can increase the quality of the text. Working with Word you can only see the bit that’s in front of you, while breaking it down into an outline I can get a sense of the relative importance of various sections and identify paragraphs that can be merged. Plus, I’m a CRIMPer, don’t forget…

 


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Sep 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
>1. import original Word or RTF;
>2. turn it into an outline
>based on the topic sentences (main idea) in each paragraph;


1 and 2 can be done by several mindmapping programs (MindView springs to mind as one of the best), and also the humble MyInfo. Styles should be used in paragraph titles to be correctly identified. Thereon however, none of these tools are particularly aimed at writing, so you may not find them very comfortable.

Assuming that rich text is secondary, my own choice would be Brainstorm (BrainstormSW or BrainstormWFO or whatever it is called these days :-) Here’s what I would do:

- Copy paste the whole text under a header, say ‘ORIGINAL’ in Brainstorm.

- Paste it again, under a second heading, say, ‘REDACTED’; Brainstorm will identify each identical paragraph as a ‘namesake’. Press Ctrl-A and Ctrl-N to ‘cut off’ the relationship. This way, changes to one will not be reflected to the other.

- Keep two windows open, side by side, move to each corresponding paragraph, and edit the paragraph in place.

I have done the above several times in the past; I have not found something better yet. Sense Pro can now open two documents at the time, so it may indeed be well suited for such work, but I have not tried this aspect yet.

 


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