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Clones? Cross-referencing?

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Posted by 22111
Oct 5, 2013 at 11:17 PM



From my research, text-based outliners don’t have clones (automatically updated “copies” of items in the tree; in the same tree=the same file) - none of them has, in fact.

And then, database-based outliners SOMETIMES have clones, but not all of them have.

Those that have (sometimes in their best versions only):

Ultra Recall, MyInfo, The Brain, InfoQube, ConnectedText, MyBase, Zoot
Surfulater, ADM, NoteCase, Whizfolders, InfoSelect
Chandler, KeyNote NF, OneNote, Leo, Treepad
Smereka TreeProjects (?)

Those that don’t, in spite of being database-based (but perhaps that’s my misconception in some cases):

RightNote (SQLite! has something weird, wsp called it a “virtual notes feature”, but I checked and checked again: NO clones! For its other qualities, it’s a shame it has no clones, and will probably not introduce them, because of this other feature by which they errouneously think they can avoid them)
TreeDB Notes, Tree Notes, Evernote
MyNotesKeeper (but has “bookmarks”, within the same tree)

Corrections and additions would be welcome.

(As said, NO program (of my knowledge) offers clones maintained in different databases (even within the same directory, so in theory at least, updating should be possible). This means cloning items will blow up your database, and you’ll get in troube when you try to cut off some part of the database to make it separate database: Another obstacle in your trying to separate the things you work on, from your reference material.)


It should be said that some (again, database-based only?) outliners provide cross-referencing to individual items, even in other databases.

This is an obscure feature of Ultra Recall: You can set a reference to an item within another database.

In MyInfo, you can set references to items within the same database only (?), but also to particular paragraphs of them.

I don’t know of other outliners providing linking to particular items, let alone to particular items in a different database.

Some additional info available here? I think such links could replace clones in many instances, and especially so for links to different databases. (But it should be done in a better way than UR does it: As soon as you didn’t do it for one week or so, you’ll be completely lost, it’s really complicated to do.)

Btw, in TheBrain, it does NOT seem to be possible to link to an item in another “brain”, judging by a post to this regard.

Anyway, this seems to be a subject of real interest, if you’re serious about information management.


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Oct 5, 2013 at 11:29 PM


Off the top of my head (I’ll follow up if I think pf more with the help of daylight):

(1) Brainstorm, “namesakes”, text-based, apparently it was David Tebbut (Brainstorm’s inventor) who came up with the iea before Dawe Winer, but the latter beat him to it with implementation.

(2) Evernote, Surfulater


Posted by WSP
Oct 6, 2013 at 01:11 AM


I can’t recall the exact context of my remarks about Rightnote now, but I think what I said was that RN allows “virtual notes,” an attractive feature apparently inherited from Keynote. The virtual notes are not clones or cross-references. You put a sort of placeholder for an external file (say a text file or a PDF) in your tree, and from that point onward RN treats it almost as if it’s a part of your database—you can do searches and alter that file from within Rightnote—but the virtual note is not actually absorbed into the database and does not increase its size. It’s a clever idea.

MyInfo does cross-referencing at the paragraph level (why don’t other programs?), but cross-references won’t work across “topics” (i.e. databases). Its clones work very well, but again they are restricted to a single database.

Evernote abandoned cross-references when it moved into the cloud in 2008—along with a lot of other strong features—but fairly recently, I think within the past year, cross-referencing has triumphantly returned. Since EN puts all of your stuff into a single database, you don’t have to worry about the potential problems of cross-references from one database to another. I must say that the reappearance of cross-references at last has made Evernote usable for me again, because I depend upon them for organizing and outlining.



Posted by 22111
Oct 6, 2013 at 03:39 PM


WSP, I’m not sure I did NOT mix up those “virtual items” you spoke of, and what I remember from RightNote. I last time checked it out some months ago (cannot trial such things anytime, without having a valid image, since by trialling in my running system, I would not have any chance to trial again, later on, even if I just install for one day), and did not find clones (as you say, in MI 6.0 now, clones are very well implemented, as well as in UR, for example), but something “weird” - did not take notes about it, which I should have.

Now, I try to remember from their web page, and it’s this thing, I think, “Any child notes of a folder note automatically get tagged with the note’s caption. This allows you to organize and tag at the same time.”, together with the functionality around auto-tagging, and I even remember them saying, on bits, something like - I hope I don’t falsify their opinion here - “our tagging system comes so advanced that we don’t even need clones anymore”.

Which is not right, of course, since outliner users don’t generally want the children tagged with their parent’s name, but perhaps a clone of the parent itself, in some different content, and then he will access those children by selecting the cloned parent.

As we both say, MI cannot cross-reference to different databases. But even if there is no internal functionality for it, intended by the developer of such software, it might always be possible to access individual items within such a database from the outside, meaning by some “open database abc” command line command, and then put an identifier behind this general command (and since this would be a command line command, it should also be possible from within a database of the same kind, meaning there should be some “trick” for this, even for MI, and if there is, it should be possible to trigger such a command from within any other program, and also from within MI, as an example); I suppose that in the end, for most of database-based outliners, this should be possible, with a little help from the developer, or with having a good look into the used database.

Surfulater: Since surfulater is a web-grasping specialist, this feature opens up some additional use for it. As said by me in another thread, most people too much try to enter whole web sites into their outliner, from my point of view, blocking, by this wish, too much of the respective developers’ developing effort in their trying to implement correct processing/translation of the last developments in web sites’ technology.

But why not have category and sub-category items in a “specialist” like Surfulater, putting all your web sites into that, instead of your outliner, and make the corresponding category and sub-category items in your outliner links to the corresponding Surfulater items?

So the very next question would be, is it possible to have such links into Surfulator’s immediate competitor, WebResearch (from macropool.de), too? If not, this would make Surfulater (at least in its current desktop shape) THE outstanding application for your web sites collection, with direct access from your respective outliner topics.


Posted by Daly de Gagne
Oct 6, 2013 at 03:54 PM


I believe WhizFolders has a good linking system. It seems pretty comprehensive.


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