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Overview Notes

Jason wrote in another thread:
In what situation would you want to link a note to multiple PDFs?
When reading, writing, or working on a manuscript or grant application, I would love to have a single source of information (i.e., a note) about a specific topic. For example, currently I have 15 notes, one for each study/pdf, where I comment that placebo analgesia reduced pain and was associated with brain regions XYZ. I would rather have a single note where the same comment is associated with all 15 PDFs. Does that make any sense? In some ways I guess my idea is somewhat similar to a smart group, but that still doesn’t fit the need I am trying to describe.

This is an important use case that I'd like to cover with Keypoints. I call the feature "overview notes". I'm not there yet, but I think that these overview notes could work nicely for this case.

What is an overview note?

An overview note collects individual notes for a certain topic or project, and organizes them into an outline.

In other words, overview notes are basically structure/summary notes which focus on a specific topic or writing project, and which gather pointers to other notes or knowledge elements (like publications, authors, keywords, labels, files, etc). So an overview note allows you to group & summarize individual notes belonging to a specific topic, and to organize them into a hierarchical outline.

Topical overview notes can then serve as a nice overview (sic) and entry point for that topic.

In addition, you can also use overview notes to structure your next writing project. For such a writing project, the overview note would contain an outline of all of its sections (i.e., all headings and subheadings). And each section would contain links to individual notes or other knowledge elements which you'd like to include, cite or discuss within that section. The overview note then becomes your starting point and guide to write your paper.

Here's an example for a topical overview note:

In the above example, the first list contains links to three individual notes. These notes all belong to the same topic and were thus grouped into an overview note.

The second list contains links to other knowledge elements (in this case, one citekey and some keywords). All notes belonging to these knowledge elements would get included by this overview note. You could then compile overview notes so that the compiled output would include all the individual notes linked by this overview note.

In the above example, I've envisioned elements on a single line to form AND queries whereas elements on multiple lines would be connected with OR. For example, take the second list from the above sample overview note:

- all notes from [#Granskog++2005Scales]
- keywords [@Baltic Sea] [@meteoric ice] ![@ice physics]
- compare with [@Antarctic] [@atmospheric input]

Internally, this list would be converted into this (pseudo) query:

Code: Select all

WHERE (citekey CONTAINS "Granskog++2005Scales")

        OR (keywords CONTAINS ("Baltic Sea" AND "meteoric ice" AND NOT "ice physics"))

        OR (keywords CONTAINS ("Antarctic" AND "atmospheric input"))

I plan to offer a filter column for notes. I.e., you could list your notes in the app's filter column (on the left of the main window), and selecting one or more notes there would display all of its "related" notes in the main notes list. This Notes filter column could display your overview notes. And if the Notes filter column would be an outline (aka tree) view, one could click a toggle to select any of the overview note's sub-queries (such as "all notes from [#Granskog++2005Scales]") in order to just see the notes matching this sub-query.

The outline view could be even used to reorder the sub-sections and sub-queries of the overview note.

That's the idea in theory, at least. I'm not yet sure if this can be implemented so that it's performant enough (esp. with overview notes that include many regular notes.

Anyways, I'm interested to hear your thoughts about this feature idea.

Thanks, Matthias
Last edited by msteffens on 26-Jun-2019, 13:23, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed some typos
Site Admin
Posts: 30
Joined: 17-May-2017, 14:28

Re: Overview Notes

Here's an alternate suggestion to the above (which may be easier to understand & implement):

In an overview note (aka structure note), you'd be able to specify notes for inclusion by wrapping their note ID or query with {{...}}. This would be somewhat similar to the MultiMarkdown transclusion syntax.

If some overview note(s) then get rendered in a note(s) preview or exported, the contents of notes specified via transclusion links (i.e. {{...}}) would get included with the output. Similarly, selecting an overview note in the Notes filter column would display all of its "transcluded" notes in the main notes list.

Example links for notes to be included via transclusion:
  • include a note by its ID: {{1B09-FQDQ-TBPE}}
  • include all notes matched by a query (aka "search link"): {{temperature "[@ice physics]" !Arctic}}

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