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Clones? Cross-referencing?

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Posted by 22111
Oct 6, 2013 at 04:06 PM


For an example, a UR item would be called by this command, from ANY application that allows links in general, for example web links:


And there is a command in UR that shows the needed identifier, for your current item. So once you know how the outliner accesses its database, a similar scheme should work for any database-based outliner.

Even for people doing their work in MS Word, or within a 1-pane outliner, or any other text processor, this should be of high interest, since they could store their reference material in an outliner, and continue to do their work within the application of their choice; the same, as mentioned, for their web sites, stored in Surfulater.

And even to Evernote… Well, I would have thought EN is really well (as wsp explained here some weeks ago) for enterin info into your system, but then, that most info there will ultimately be stored in your outliner or such, so the usefulness of cross-referencing EN content is not immediately obvious. But then, if it’s easy to do, you could leave your reference material within MULTIPLE EN files, with just the indentation levels they allow (is it 2 or 3?), and just start another EN file, where in your outliner you would have started another indentation level, not available in EN.

In such a way, you could even avoid the transfer process between EN and your traditional outliner, just do one EN file for any new broad subject, then do cross-referencing between those files, and between your “main application”, be it EN, be it Word or something else, and your numerous EN reference files.

(If there is such a possibility, with their subscription model, that is. But anything should be welcome that is able to break up your 10,000 items data monster, I think.)


Posted by 22111
Oct 6, 2013 at 04:12 PM


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

Please forgive me if we share this concept, but we are always speaking of links to OTHER databases, right? Not of internal linking only, but of linking, from the outside (for example one other file of that outliner, or a third-party application) to a particular item within one other file/database of that outliner?

If you only mention internal linking capabilities (which are far from useless either), please say so.

The same applies to Surfulater and EN: We are well speaking of external linking to individual items, are we not?


Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Oct 6, 2013 at 07:34 PM


22111 wrote:
>The same applies to Surfulater and EN: We are well speaking of external
>linking to individual items, are we not?


- For Surfulater: yes. You can create links as Plain or HTML. Here’s some info from the excellent help:

Plain: sulkb://kb=MyKnowledge,Fid=5040,Rid=5068
HTML: Atlantica Blended Wing Body

Handling moved and deleted articles

External Links specify the knowledge base name, the folder the article is in and the article itself. If an article is moved from the folder it was in when an external link is created, to a different folder, Surfulater won’t find it in the original folder. When this happens, Surfulater searches the knowledge base for the article and displays it, along with a pop-up tip informing you that it has moved. You can update the external link in the source document to correct this if you want. If the article has been deleted, a message is displayed indicating the article was not found.

Locating the Knowledge Base

External links include the name of the target Knowledge Base, however they do not include the name of the folder the KB lives in. This enables KB’s to be moved to a different drive or folder and links still work.

In order for Surfulater to locate a KB specified in an external link, it must be in one of the two known locations: View|Preferences|Folder for Knowledge Bases and ‘Send To’ folders or My Documents\My Surfulater, or already be open in Surfulater.


For Evernote: Yes. However, as noted by Bill/WSP, EN only allows one database (per user account). So one cannot link from one database to another, but of course an EN database can have as many notebooks as you’d like, which for me is just as well.


Posted by jimspoon
Oct 7, 2013 at 07:36 AM


check this thread for linking to an item within a database:



Posted by 22111
Oct 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM



Jim, thank you very much of the link which I hadn’t been aware of.

Alexander, EN not bad, Surfulater perfect, I’m much more interested in this program now than I previously had been!

Brainstorm: As Alexander says, possible also (I never touched Brainstorm, since it’s plain text only; I had assumed that the very first practical implementation of clones had been within “HyperCard”, but that was simply my first encounter with that concept)

Now for the content of that OS thread:

For UR: described above; the identifier of the respective item can be copied from the attributes pane. And also, Alexander described it like this (so this “obscure UR command” is known better than I had thought here):

“Select the item you want and click (on the menu bar) Item / Copy Item Command-Line; you may have to fully expand the Item menu the first time. There’s also keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-I. You can then paste the result to the program from which you will be linking from. In UR, you can also create a Windows desktop shortcut to the item through the same menu.”

For Connected Text: It’s possible even from the outside, as Dr Andus points out at page 2.

TheBrain was positively mentioned there, but “from brain to brain” (and thus, to do it “from the outside”) does NOT seem to be possible, or simply the posters here did not find the “trick” to do it, and the developers did not share the info:


OneNote: Possible even from the outside, as Steven Zeoli points out.

Surfulater again: On page 2, Dr Andus gives the details for it: perfect!

“Mindjet, EssentialPim and GemX do-Organizer can do that with their own protocols” ???
I don’t know about EssentialPim and GemX-Do (which is a “very colored” program to put it mildly), but for MindJet, I’m in doubt, since I tried in vain (but then assuming, perhaps too soon, it wasn’t possible); what MindJet can do, is linking to other files in general (but not necessarily to specific items in other MindJet files).

What I CAN say is, EssentialPim is buggy, and the developer doesn’t answer mails asking about those bugs even when described in detail, and there is no forum or such, so EP is one of those program where there is no help but the one the developer is willing to give out; for a perspective, UR’s “help” might appear very cold, but whenever a bug is brought to their attention, they see to it immediately, sort of “question of honor” to them.

Zoot: Details on page 3: perfect! on top, the details, and then Dr Andus makes a comparison, and then Alexander (pages 3 and 4) gives a hint what to do for UR’s absolute links.

So much for my thinking I had brought up a new subject! Sorry!


As for relative vs. absolute links, I think as soon as you do the link from the outside, not from within one outliner file to another outliner file of the same outliner program, this problem will always present itself? Or do I think too short her?

I could think of not activating those links directly, but intercepting them by a macro, which puts the content of a variable into the link path, but this would mean of course that your “system” only runs in the very specific environment you create for yourself.


Yesterday, I said, “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”.

Well, I think that’s right, in general, but there is an additional problem to referencing to / cloning a sub-heading within a different context:

In many circumstances, you would NOT want to have ALL those children put into the second context, but only some of them. Let’s say you have a sub-heading with 12 children; you clone the sub-heading. In its original/main context, all these children are useful, “in their right place”. But in this secondary context, only the children 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 will be of any meaning, and in a possible third context, it’s only the children 2, 4, 5, 7 and again 8 and 10 will be useful.

Nobody ever has found a valid solution to this problem; sometimes,  I cut up then this 12-item sub-tree into two sub-trees, for “of general interest” and “of interest only here, but not in the second context I need the other sub-group, too”, but this is far from elegant, a lot of fuss, and certainly not a valid approach if this occurs often.

On the other hand, an automatic tagging system like in RightNote would than tag all 12 children identically, and then, you would de-tag some of them, which even creates more chaos than my approach described above.

Selecting just some of your items here, in order to do individual cloning to that second context, does not seem to be smart either, since in many cases you will add additional items, later on, to the principal location, and what about those if they there, you cannot see which items there you will have cloned to a second location (let alone a third one), from there, and which ones are unique there?

In UR at least, the clone, AND the original item are assigned a special icon, indicating it’s cloned state, so this is a big help here, but only if you clone individual items from this sub-heading; if you clone the sub-heading instead, there is no such indication for individual items then for their respective usefulness within that second context, so when doing work there, you always have to check for their content - you could do something about their respective titles, of course.

In this respect, it is worth mentioning that in MyInfo and some time ago at least, additions/changes to the child items of such a cloned sub-heading were NOT replicated to the second location of the cloned sub-heading, when in UR, this replication of sub-tree is realized in all circumstances.

I don’t know to what extend other outliner users face these problems in their practical work, but I regularly do. Let me give an example: You have lots of (legal) rulings, sorted in groups and sub-groups; then, you have legal cases. Now, in many such cases, a whole group of rulings apply, but with the exception of some of them, exactly as in the above example.

If only 2 or 3 out of 12 or 15 rulings apply, you would clone those individually, but if 6 or 7 out of 12 apply, you would be tempted to clone the respective sub-heading, and then you have the above-described problem that some of its content will NOT apply.

Perhaps these considerations will give way to a better understand why outlining PLUS TAGGING might be a very good idea for some uses, or outlining plus simili-tagging by putting keywords into “attributes”.

If somebody has some ideas/experience on this, I would be very thankful for him to share them.


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