jotapa
TB is an interesting data store for disparate content types but falls short on capabilities to analyze and leverage the stored content. This feature suggestion tries to address the issue and make TB a more useful tool for researchers like me, students and other knowledge professionals.

I am assuming that TB9 will offer embedded file viewers because I noticed the activation option in preferences.

We will need that TB9 offers an embedded PDF reader with comments/notes editing and highlighting capabilities like Acrobat Reader offers. 

Let's imagine that we capture and store a PDF document as a Thought - a technical white paper, for example.

I start reading the PDF in the TB9 reader. When I find relevant information, TB9 will offer the ability to select a text section (image too if possible) - we will call it a "CITATION". We will then have the options to:
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1) Simply highlight the citation with color or underline in the PDF stored in TB9.
2) Copy the citation to the Thought notes box with a format like:

-------------------------------
Citation Title - Page 4, line 34

This is sample test captured from an imaginary PDF file stored in TB9. It is exactly as in the PDF file.
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There must be an entry field to define the Citation Title. If we press the Citation Title link in the notes box, we should be taken to the exact page and line in the PDF file - using TB9 reader/viewer.

3) Create a new Thought as child of the PDF Thought that should have the Citation Title as the Thought Name and offer options to define the Type and Tags, as usual. The citation text (the selected text in the PDF) should appear as notes in this new Thought.

4) Link the Citation to an existing Thought in TB9. This is the most tricky option because we would have Thoughts connected to content inside another thought.

It is very useful because often we have a large document and if we link a thought, or several thoughts to it, will not help us understand the connection - the document might have dozens or hundreds of pages and each thought might only need to link to one specific paragraph, table or image, for example.
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Throughout a PDF file, we should be able to create multiple citations, copying them to the notes box in the format above, or create/link multiple thoughts in the brain.

In the end, we would have in the notes box a summary (the most important citations) of the PDF document - useful to study/research an essay, for example. Obviously, we would also be able to add our notes (in the notes box) right next to the Citations we captured.

Additionally, we should be able to enter comments/notes in the PDF file - like we can do in Acrobat Reader. Those comments should have the option to be replicated in the notes box of the PDF thought, and could also include links to other thoughts/tags/types in the brain, to provide additional context and navigation options the next time we read the document.

Finally, we should be able to search Citations, or select the documents/citations that connect to a specific thought.

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Not sure if the idea is clear but I think it would make The Brain a very powerful tools for researchers, students and knowledge professionals in general.

It would be the best of many worlds - content capture like Zotero, PDF reading and commenting like Acrobat reader, Citations management like Qiqqa or Mendeley, mind/concept mapping like The Brain. No other tool in the market blends all of these capabilities.

By the way, did I mention that this concept should be extended to other content types too? Imagine creating a thought connected to a video - at 5m23s - so we can go back and watch the right section of the teacher lecture, or connect a thought to one specific PowerPoint slide, or Excel Cell... you got the idea.

Thanks for reading the full post. That must have been difficult!   :-)  Hope you agree it makes sense.

Regards,
Joao Tapadinhas
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mcaton
Joao,

Thanks for posting.  To address some of your questions:

Yes, the 'file preview' feature is already working in the Mac version.

File editing (or citations) will not be possible within the app - but I'll write this up (as well as hyperlinks/bookmarks to the source) as a feature request.

To be clear: Content can always be copied or manually entered into your Thought Notes - regardless of whether the thought also has file attachments.  The Notes are not lost when an attachment is added.  So yes, you can manually "include links to other thoughts/tags/types in the brain, to provide additional context and navigation options the next time we read the document."

Thank you,
Matt
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perry
I'd appreciate the ability to link to a PDF bookmark / page / comment / etc.

Most PDF programmes (and others like MS Word) have command-line parameters to set the viewport when the document opens: it would be great if TB allowed the creation of links that allowed parameters. That would allow a link like: pdf-programme.exe /A page=10&comment=452fde0e-fd22-457c-84aa-2cf5bed5a349 pdf-document.pdf which you could insert into the Notes and would take you to the specific comment / page / bookmark.

Personally I think adding features in TB that enable it to work hand-in-hand with other software (eg editors: I'd never want TB to be my image editor, but I'm more than happy to have TB launch my image editor [smile] )
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DrBop

Joao,

I am grateful to you for raising these suggestions. Yes, it would be wonderful if TheBrain worked this way for those of us who manage serious volumes of digital information.

In the broad spectrum of the app's users, I believe we may represent but a tiny sliver, but I have no empirical basis for that assessment. It could well be the opposite!

That said, I wonder if the good folks at TheBrain organization might accommodate a knowledge exchange among us — such as a dedicated knowledge work section within this Forum. We could use the forum to share useful tips, stratagems, and work-arounds related to managing voluminous digital information in TheBrain.

This would allow on-point peer-to-peer sharing of helpful practices for digital information using TheBrain as it is, while adapting to what it becomes.

As we hope and wait for TheBrain to become the ideal, we could be making the most of it more efficiently to our niche needs.

I expect this modest accommodation won't require considerable allocation of engineering resources or require a long lead time to implement.

Please. Thank you.

Don

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Moltaire
Love these ideas - i read a ton of PDFs, store them in my brain, and would love to be able to citate from them. I think the general principle I would like to see is the integration of as many features as possible which allow me to stay in my brain - pdf readers/editors, videos players, web browsers, text file editors, image editors etc.
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mcaton
PDF citations seems popular!  Documented (and +1'd a few times...)

Thanks,
Matt
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advisors
DrBop wrote:

That said, I wonder if the good folks at TheBrain organization might accommodate a knowledge exchange among us — such as a dedicated knowledge work section within this Forum. We could use the forum to share useful tips, stratagems, and work-arounds related to managing voluminous digital information in TheBrain.

Please. Thank you.

Don



+1
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jotapa
This product description was taken from http://www.docear.org

  1. single-section user-interface that allows the most comprehensive organization of your literature. With Docear, you can sort documents into categories; you can sort annotations (comments, bookmarks, and highlighted text from PDFs) into categories; you can sort annotations within PDFs; and you can view multiple annotations of multiple documents, in multiple categories – at once.
  2. A ‘literature suite concept‘ that combines several tools in a single application (pdf management, reference management, mind mapping, …). This allows you to draft your own papers, assignments, thesis, etc. directly in Docear and copy annotations and references from your collection directly into your draft.

These would be my dream requirements for The Brain. Docear promises to deliver - and does it to a certain extent - but doesn't offer the scale and flexibility of TB.

The citation/reference management space - tightly coupled with the academic world but also relevant for any research activity - is quite big and continues to grow. This could be an opportunity for TB.

I'm sure the team is already looking into it for a future release. Hope it comes with 9.x

Regards,
Joao

 
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Moltaire
Highly recommend the staff watch the presentation video about docear. I just discovered it and the highlight/annotation etc capabilities are brilliant.

Docear Teaser Video (v1.1)
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pthompson
Thanks for sharing. We'll take a look.
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perry
I agree: Docear looks awesome in the video!

Being Free and Open Source is also amazing...
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