tcahill
Perhaps this forum is the right place to start detailing strategies for making the best use of the metadata capabilities built into PB.

So begin with, is it better to have most or all of your keywords, types, etc figured out in advance of populating your plex, to ensure that the knowledge is entered consistently? -- I've never been able to get very far with this approach myself. For me, it seems too easy to get bogged down in definitions before the data has had a chance to "express" itself. I also sometimes get stuck on how arbitrary lables can be -- no sooner do I define two distinct lables, when all the subsequent thoughts seem to be somewhere in the middle of my labels.

So then there is the other approach: which is to just start plugging away. Then, when the mess starts to get out of hand, start pruning and linking and labling and colorizing to force some clarity to the patterns that one seems to recognize as the plex grows.

If one has a mastery of a subject, they may very well have a clearly defined ontology to apply to the plex. More often, I'm in the process of personal discovery, slogging through material that is new to me (very, very rarely do I find it is new to everybody).

As an aside, I find while I'm writing this that I really miss PB3's search tab. It was so handy to see all the thought types sorted in the drop-down list, all the file attachments of a certain type that could be called up just be selecting each type in turn. Perhaps that feature will return? I was just referring to some of my old brain files to review the thought-types I had deployed.

As another aside, I used to be pretty quick at doing bulk changes by having the properties tab in one window, and the plex sorted by type. As long as the thought type window was highlighted, you could rapidly change many thoughts in sequence by scrolling through them and hitting the appropriate keystroke the right number of times. I've got to see if I can still do this with version 4.

So coming back to where I started: does anyone have any contributions regarding how they have used types, keywords, etc?
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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Spacenexus
Some great observations Timothy. I think i've experienced similar issues to you. The natural desire to have a completely organised framework from the start versus our inability to predict needs as the brain grows. I tend to be an anal overorganiser myself, but a long time ago i learnt to relax and submitted to the organic nature of the brain's approach. If comparing to more linear information systems where an item of data may be buried in directory structures etc, iretrievable at the best of times, then even with 99% efficiency the brain works very well. I allow for a bit of 'fuzziness' in organisation as that's the way we naturally work. It is literally once or twice per year that i don't find an item of information that i'm looking for in the brain!

I've not used keywords so much myself. I like the facility and when i have used it it is extremely useful. I certainly get value from the thought types and link types. Thought types are themes and i've used link types for temporal information (past, present, future, priority).

I started off with about 6 thought types after a bit of forethought when the feature first appeared, then added more as the need arose, now having 15. I'll list them here and it would be nice to see how others have used thought types:

Academic - courses (6)
Action - things to do, thoughts or docs to action (35)
Active Accounts - member websites etc (39)
Active Affiliations - clubs and societies a member of (7)
Archive - old thoughts not wanting to delete (47)
Event - events, conferences, shows etc (98)
Topend - How, why, what, where, when, who contextual framework (7)
Person - people (926)
Reading List - books, docs to read (84)
Reference Document - key documents so they stand out (271)
Reference Website - key websites so they stand out (74)
Routine - daily, routine activities things to do (like recurrance in outlook) (6)
Software - shortcuts to start programs (98)
Strategy - top level thoughts (17)
Study - encyclopedic thoughts on variety of topics (48)

Out of 34,000 thoughts there are only a few hundred typed, but for almost every active thought i select there are thoughts of some type visible, so the value is immense.

I like the new facility in PB4 of being able to add individual labels, as the thought type is already understood from the colour, it allows further clarification of context.

Anyone else care to share their thought types? I hope my list sparks some ideas and I'm curious to learn of how others are using thought and link types.

cheers Jim


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Carnevale

tcahill wrote:

...
As another aside, I used to be pretty quick at doing bulk changes by having the properties tab in one window, and the plex sorted by type. As long as the thought type window was highlighted, you could rapidly change many thoughts in sequence by scrolling through them and hitting the appropriate keystroke the right number of times.

...


Hi Timothy,
I dont undestand what you mean here. Can you please explain?
I can not find in PB3 any option to sort the plex by type.

Kine regards,
Mario
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tcahill
Sorry if my example wasn't too clear. In fact you are right, you cannot explicitly set PB3 to sort in the plex by type. However, if you set in Options --> Display Properties --> Order by "Name", PB will sort first by type, then by name in the plex.

This is very handy. Using this, you can rapidly change the properties of many thoughts.

1) Open the properties tab and locate the thought types drop-down list, (just under the thought name field in the properties tab). Click the drop down list icon for thought types and re-select the current thought type. This causes the thought type field to be active.

2) Back in the plex, position your mouse cursor over the last thought of the type you'd like to modify. (Notice that the thought type properties field remains active, even when you activate different thoughts.)

3) Now, without moving your mouse, type the first letter of the thought type you would like to change the thought to. The thought will take on that thought type and it will move in the plex to the appropriate position under the parent thought for that thought type. The thoughts have all shifted position in the plex, and the next thought of the thought type is now under the mouse.

4) Without clicking, jiggle your mouse. This makes the thought under the mouse and it's thought type active.

5) go to step 3 and repeat as many times as necessary.

But what if you have more than one thought type beginning with the same letter? No problem! Just count the relative position of the desired thought type. Say you have four thought types each begining with the letter B, and your desired thought type is the 3rd one. Just type the letter b three times quickly. If you are quick enough, the thought will wait long enough for you to key through the type alternatives before it jumps off to it's new position in the plex.

Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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tcahill
I've just checked. You can still do this procedure in PB version 4.x Woops! Nope. PB 4 doesn't sort by type first! Rats.
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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Carnevale

OK. Timothy,
It is clear now. It works very wel in PB3. Thanks.

As for now I dont see any reason to go using PB4.
I think that the developers just do not have considered to go on in the development with PB3 and its XML-maps --a sort of network model of database without JAVA. The system have now too many dependencies from third parties, and the memory usage is huge.

And I think, IMHO, they have made a mistake.

Regards,

PS. sorry for my english.

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scoutee
OK, can you please put this in layman's terms....i am so sorry for not picking this up. mainly started using Personal Brain on my home PC.

"It is better to be a soldier´s widow than a coward´s wife"
"The onset of bayonets in the hands of the valiant is irresistible"
"Semper Fidelis"
"Always Faithful"
"Veni, Vidi, Vici"
(I came, I saw, I conqured)
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scoutee

OK, i think i figured it out. i made the same thought types that you have. (sorry for the copying, but work smart not hard saying). so far i am on the right path, but please post more on this topic so this noobe can learn and grow. thanks the noobe

"It is better to be a soldier´s widow than a coward´s wife"
"The onset of bayonets in the hands of the valiant is irresistible"
"Semper Fidelis"
"Always Faithful"
"Veni, Vidi, Vici"
(I came, I saw, I conqured)
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ShelleyHayduk
Interesting examples on Thought types. Here's my 2 cents.

Think of Thought types as another level of categorization of a specific Thought group or " visual post-its" for your Thoughts

You can use Thought types for people, concepts and even most used or favorite items.

See my posting under Business re-org for Thought types for people networks
http://forums.thebrain.com/tool/post/thebrain/vpost?id=1705913

Other really basic but very useful examples are creating Thought types for key items within a list. For instance in my Web references section in my HUGE PersonalBrain   I have a Thought type for "good flash reference" This way when I can immediately see while looking at all my educational site listings a couple of them that I really like for a particular use (flash design) that stand out for me.
Shelley
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ShelleyHayduk
I also use Thought Types to indicate deal cycle or probability of close. So I can easily identify all the types of deals I'm working.

For example, I might have my Brain organized my vertical markets that I sell to. For instance: High Tech, Government, Medical, Life Sciences etc. Then under each vertical a listing of all relevant prospects with links to all related supporting documents. Now these prospects can be organized by project phase if you are in client services or deal phase if you are a sales person.

For instance the Thought Types could be:

New Prospect 5%
Proposal Sent 25%
Custom Demo or Prototype Completed 50%
Contract reviewed 80%
 
This way sales people can classify their prospect by the likelihood of deal closure or phase in their sales cycle.
 
The at glance value and immediate recognition of Thought Type information should not be underestimated. If someone out of the blue calls you. You can do an instant Thought activation and boom your Brain takes you their information, but where the Thought type comes to play is that you can now instantly see where you are in a deal phase with them...just by the color or a quick mouse over of that Thought.

This also holds true for my last example on Web references. (See my above post) I created those "good flash reference" Thought Types because occasionally I would have impromptu meetings with our Web developers. Rather than launching every Web site to see the flash animations on the Web site, I can immediately hone in the two most applicable ones for our project.

 
 
Shelley
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mlapointe
I find thought types and keywords very useful.  But which ones you choose really depend on the kind of work you do.  Mine, for an ad agency, include things like Estimate, Working Art, Planning Documents (for schedules and creative briefs), and Concepts.   I'll often change the thought types when the project changes, for example, Project-Active will eventually become Project-Archive.  The list grew very organically.

Keywords (now called "Tags") are things like the client name, the project name, the version number, and the job number.

I find that I don't have to add types or tags for every Thought in order for these features to be useful.  For example, if I give types and keywords to the main Thoughts for an ad campaign, I can still find a shot of a bicycle we thought about using on a postcard pretty quickly, even if that particular image has neither a type nor tags.





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rtimmer
I have been using PersonalBrain since version 1.7 and slowly the use of types has changed over time. I have moved away from freely associating thoughts and rather use PersonalBrain as a tool for structured thinking using concepts from topic maps.
 
I now have the following types: facet, locator, occurrence, organization, person, project (active), project (completed), tool, topic
 
In my PersonalBrain all documents are typed as occurrences. These occurrences are linked to thoughts that are typed as topics. In this way the topics become a kind of index to my documents. The types person, organization, and tool are special occurrences, so that using the report function I quickly make an index of subjects (topics), organizations, persons, and tools (either frequently used programs on my PC or useful tools on the Internet.
 
To further enhance these indexes I use some techniques that are similar to the construction of a thesuarus. The topic facet is used to group a list of subcategories of a topic. For example under the topic markets, I have the thought markets, by industry (using the comma instruction) typed as a facet.
 
I alos have link types: generic, instance, partitive. These links are only used in child-parent relationships because they have a direction. They are used in buidling hierarchies. Jump links do not have a direction and are not typed. I use them similar to the RT relationship in a thesausrus.
 
I am very keen to make sure that my hierarchies are trule hierarchies. Occurrence are always the last child in a hierarchy. As a result my brain file has many small hierarchies with lots of jump relations.
 
the topic structure floats on top of the occurrences. This topic structure is becoming a reflection of what I know and how I see the world. I am keen to make sure that each thought in the topic structure is a single concept. The topics in my brainfile are my preferred terms for these concepts. I put synonyms in the notes of the topic, so that the search function will come up with the right concept independent of which synonym I use during a search.
 
The topics project (active) and project (complete) are special topics that link to my file system where I keep folders for each project. Using the report tab in PersonalBrain I can than quickly list all the projects that are active. I use this during my weekly review following the GTD methodology.
 
I'd like to learn how other members of this forum are using their PersonalBrain. It is a flexible and very powerful tool. It helps me a lot in structuring my work.
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RLPopeIII
For me, it depends on what type of brain I am creating, if I use Thought/Link Types and/or keywords.

For my PIM (Personal Information Management) Brain, I don't use types at all.  I am adding information too quickly to type thoughts or use keywords.  Also, my thoughts are all over the place (I guess like my physical brain ) and I don't even think I could type them.

For PB's that I create for structured projects or presentation, I normally use a robust type/Keyword system.  In this case, I try to layout my types and Keywords very carefully before I begin.  Again, I tend to rapidly add thoughts and don't want to slow down to create thought types on the fly or have restructure types because I did not have a good plan from the beginning.


Good luck,


Ren Pope
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JO3Y
after poking around here a bit, my earlier post about ORM probably really belongs here.

http://forums.thebrain.com/tool/post/thebrain/vpost?id=2099980


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ShelleyHayduk
 We will be covering Thought Types, super types and keyword labels on our 202 session tomorrow at 10:30 am Pacific time, Sept 27

http://www.thebrain.com/#-123

Let the Thought typing begin!
Shelley
Shelley
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