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Old 12-07-2004, 11:39 AM
srdiamond srdiamond is online now
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Join Date: 11-23-2004
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 126
Yes, that's an interesting use I hadn't considered. I had been thinking of UR as a database, not a "writing tool." But a hierarchy of documents could be part of a process of modular writing, as in programs devoted to such a process like ndx Cards, Miss LonelyNotes, or even Writers Blocks. To turn UR to that end, supplanting these other programs, I would await UR's upgrading its export capabilities.

One thing UR does offer to help remember what you are trying to build is the notes card attached to every item. I Would suppose one of its purposes is to annotate the nature of the links.

What is very important, it seems to me, is to have some concept of the data structure intended. I can imagine many users including myself connecting away in the hope that some structure will emerge inductively. I think this will only work within some constraints that the user rationally imposes. The difference between the programs UR and Idea!, coming back to what's to me the most useful contrast because of their basic similarity, is that Idea!'s developer is apparently in the knowledge management field and seems to have built constraints into the program to avoid creating useless structures. UR, if I can speculate, was written by a crack programmer who provided the means to implement whatever structure the user desires.

To make the need for system concrete, consider even something so trivial as the relationship between a document and its sources. Which is parent and which is child. Logically, it makes sense either way. Does it make a practical difference which way one does it? I don't know, at least not without fiddling, although it occurs to me that if the hierarchical relationship is something other than set inclusion--in other words, the hierarchy is used to model some relationship not inherently hierarchical--then the mapping is arbitrary and equivalent, whichever side is called parent and which child. The point here is that the user must make a conscious choice about even simple matters, although fortunately, many of these choices, once made, will seem natural and inevitable.

Originally posted by PureMoxie, quoted selectively herein

Let's imagine I am writing a proposal. Each draft of the proposal could be a document and also have as children links to other documents that I refer to when building the proposal (spreadsheets, etc.). Each item, whether a document or otherwise, can "live" with the other items it relates to, one or many times.

The only trouble I have with the basic approach of linking manually is that I must remember what sort of structures I am trying to build. Saved search items relieve some of this burden. Still, manual linking is not quite to the level of "assignment" in Zoot, where you build in some initial structure and then it's very easy to "link" items to certain concepts without needing to navigate around a tree.
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