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What do you use to organize your writing?


I have a very practical question concerning hypertext. When I'm trying to
write some paper, I'd like to have a tool which lets me collect and
organize notes and later on transfer them to a hypertext (let's say in
HTML) or a continuous text. (I wrote my M.Sc. thesis on concepts of using
the ideas of Xanadu to aid in the process of writing itself, but never got
round to write even the smallest tool; see
http://wwwisg.CS.Uni-Magdeburg.De/~josch/Transactions.pdf for the thesis,
which is in German.)

If Xanadu were available, that would be the right tool. But before that
appears, I would be quite happy with some kind of personal notes organizing
utility, which don't even have to support publishing, if they only let me
export text. I've tried some outline programs like More and the outlining
facility of Microsoft Word, but those are too rigid and also don't support
the rewriting of notes (although newer versions of Word seem to have

I'd like to collect small notes, group them and rework them into some
bigger text. I'd like to be able to use the same notes for various
projects. It would also be cool to paste together parts of longer texts
into new ones, which links from the parts back to their origin. But
transclusion doesn't seem to be available in most hypertext systems.

Do you have similar needs? What kind of tools do you use? Some Rolodex-like
software? Maybe some home-made Hypercard stack? Or maybe that hypertext
system Palimpsest by the Australian  company Western Civilisation (s.
http://www.westciv.com.au/ )? I have a Mac sitting at my desk but wouldn't
mind using Windows or X if the software was right. I'd like to have a GUI,
though, so I don't know if I should go and try Zigzag. (I once failed at
installing cures for Perl. Should I try again?)

If I can't find some software, maybe I'll get around and slap something
together in Smalltalk, when I'm done writing the paper I am sitting at
right now.


Jochen Schneider                            Tel.: +49 391 67-1 14 04
Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg   (Lab.: +49 391 67-1 20 24)
Fakultaet fuer Informatik                    Fax: +49 391 67-1 11 64
Institut fuer Simulation und Graphik
P.O. Box 4120                        Universitaetsplatz 2, Zi. D 404

39016 Magdeburg
Germany                        E-Mail: josch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
WWW Homepage:       http://isgwww.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/isg/josch.html
Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool. - The Residents