6.0559 Rs: Note-Taking and Bibliographic Software (2/86)

Mon, 1 Mar 1993 14:25:50 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 6, No. 0559. Monday, 1 Mar 1993.

(1) Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1993 21:46:41 -0500 (57 lines)
From: mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca (W. McCarty)
Subject: note-taking software

(2) Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1993 10:31:31 -0500 (29 lines)
From: stigle@cs.unca.edu
Subject: Bibliographic Software

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1993 21:46:41 -0500
From: mccarty@epas.utoronto.ca (W. McCarty)
Subject: note-taking software

The best commercial note-taking software I know is Endnote Plus. This
software is wiser than its own manual, which does not make its genius
visible. In Endnote (for Mac and MS-DOS) you can design your own input
templates as well as those for output, which means that, for example,
you can specify a note as the entity instead of a book, article,
collection of essays, etc. One of the first things I did with EndNote
was to define as structure like this:

Quotation or summary of source
Commentary on source
Reference Location

I then imported about 2000 notes previously taken with software I
wrote some years ago. Then I designed a series of output templates
that allowed me to generate various transformations of the notes with
Nota Bene codes automatically inserted. Very little effort on my part
was called for.

We have yet to see, however, anything as good as NoteCards, written by
a trio of computer scientists at Xerox PARC several years ago but
never ported to common platforms. For reasons I do not fully
understand, the challenging problem of designing an adequate
note-keeping system has not attracted the interest it deserves. One
part of the answer may be that note-taking is a very individual
matter, another that computer screens of common platforms are not
nearly large enough to allow for an adequate work space. Still, such
limitations should not inhibit research. A significant part of this
research is sociological, that is, investigating in detail how
scholars take notes. The authors of NoteCards were very clever, but as
far as I know they did very little if any sociological investigation
beforehand. They did try out the system on a graduate student in
modern political-military history, but one student is hardly enough.

Here at Toronto a colleague of mine has developed a rather interesting
piece of note-keeping software for Macintosh, but it is still
unfinished and so unavailable to the public at large. (He is free to
correct me on this point.) In the process of designing the software,
he and I interviewed a dozen local researchers, and so discovered how
individual note-keeping habits actually are. The diversity did not
inhibit us, but it did suggest that a much more professionally
conducted sociological survey might be done on a larger group.
Perhaps such a survey has been done, in which case I would be glad to
hear of it. In any case, much very interesting cross-disciplinary work
would seem to be awaiting the right set of people.

Further discussion, particularly if it is more enlightened that this
dark soul can manage, would I'm sure be welcome to the assembled

Willard McCarty

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------43----
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1993 10:31:31 -0500
From: stigle@cs.unca.edu
Subject: Bibliographic Software

In response to Chuck Taylor's request for information on bibliographic
and note-taking software, I have fairly detailed information about
Pro-Cite, EndNote Plus, and Reference Manager available in three
separate files of about 10KB apiece, which I can either post to
the Humanist or send in response to requests by email. I
am working on a similar file for Papyrus, which is a bibliographic program
someone interested in extensive note-taking might want to consider.
Papyrus allows you to attach an unlimited number of notecards
to each reference. Each notecard can have a title, keywords,
a reference back to a specific passage (page number, line number,
section number, or whatever) in the original reference, as
well as up to 8000 characters of notes. Papyrus is available
from Research Software Design in Portland, OR. They do have
an email address: RSD@Applelink.apple.com, and have been quite
prompt in replying to questions or requests for more information
by email.

Sue Stigleman
University of North Carolina at Asheville