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Hierarchies or Networks?

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Jul 20, 2021 at 07:46 AM

 

I agree with @Alexander – hierarchies are more intuitively useful, for some reason.

Having said which, I love the idea of combining hierarchies with a mindmap-like approach: some of the best mindmappers (e.g. XMind) can support mini-outlines or mini-tables in nodes.

I think mindmapping is evolving in much the same way as the recent evolution in task managers: developers have realised that support for graphics, tags and fonts is not enough, and that what users really want is to manage large quantities of information using a variety of methods. The explosion of support for extensive notes in regularly upgraded modern task managers (notably TickTick, Pagico, Todoist and NotePlan) has been interesting to watch – rich-text notes and attached documents have become standard fare, allowing people to put together complete project management “hubs” in a single app. Adding different views is the next step: three of those apps offer various calendar views, and three of them also offer kanban views.

Mindmapping is the next step, perhaps.

 


Posted by BrainTool
Jul 20, 2021 at 07:35 PM

 

Thanks folks, this is good food for thought.

I agree that some combination of hierarchy and cross linking is whats needed. You can certainly create hierarchies with bidirectional links in Roam et al as @Luhmann says, and any note taker tool will have nested bullets somewhere. However like @Alexander and @MadaboutDana, I personally tend to think of the hierarchy as primary. That said, like @James, sometimes I like to change the orientation of the hierarchy (eg instead of Projects:BrainTool:Resources:Chrome-Extensions:page.html I might want to see Resources:BrainTool:Chrome-Extensions:page.html).

My thought for BrainTool in the long run is to combine the notions of Topics (aka outliner headings), Tags *and* bidirectional Links. Each Topic is also a Tag and tags are inherited along the topic tree. Making a link between two topics basically adds the other topics tags to its linked counterpart. I can model this nicely in org-mode with the existing tags and links syntax.

So if I save a web page under Projects:BrainTool:Resources:Chrome-Extensions and then link it to the topic Resources:Healthcare:Standards:FHIR then the saved web page and associated notes will be tagged with all combinations of those Topics and (optionally) ‘cloned’ to show up in both places in the tree. BTW Roam and Obsidian support ‘transclusion’ which is, I think, just a fancy name for cloning.

I think the above can make sense in the context of categorizing data and taking notes as you work in a browser in a hierarchical fashion but also support the kind of UIs and visualizations you see in those networked tools. (BTW @Luhmann I like the look of Logseq, I had not realized it was based on org. Maybe I can do an easy integration.)

PS @Stephen I’d forgotten outlinersoftware was in the video! It has become one of my regular reads as BrainTool has started to take shape, so it deserves its moment in the spotlight!

 


Posted by MadaboutDana
Jul 21, 2021 at 07:58 AM

 

Interesting; you’re describing something like Excel’s PivotTable function, but for hierarchical setups. Challenging!

Many of us are still mourning the untimely death of the hierarchical outliner par excellence, Tree2, which – while it didn’t do PivotTables as such – could extend outlines horizontally as well as vertically. The resulting flexibility was unprecedented. Dashword (also macOS) is a more recent attempt to do more or less the same thing, and is worth a look, not least because you can organise your horizontal outlines in named columns (they disappear in “vertical” view, but reappear when you switch back to “horizontal” view).

Cheers,
Bill

 


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