Anyone who has kept a paper journal for more than a few months knows the headache and irritation of looking for a particular piece that they remember writing. The inner conversation goes something like this: I remember writing it at my sister’s house—let’s see, I visited her last February—or was it during the visit of two years ago—in which case it was April, when I was just getting back from the trip to the city with the kids, or maybe… no….I think that was after we had stopped to visit her after the weekend that we had gone to the basketball game—that was spring break? Yes, I think it was spring break, I had sprained my ankle and I hadn’t remembered to bring my journal on that trip, so I think I wrote on a legal pad; I kind of remember tearing out the pages and stapling together—along with the napkin that I wrote upon at that diner that had great pies—I stapled them together and put them in the file cabinet upstairs—filed under hmmm….was that in the “me” file or under “good ideas for later” file or maybe I just left in the “In” box on my desk for things I still want to file…Grrrrrr… I know it’s here someplace….
Sound familiar? If so, you’ll immediately see the wisdom of assigning topics to journal entries and passages, so you can quickly and efficiently pinpoint the particular information for which you are searching.
In last month’s newsletter we discussed how to assign topics to entire journal entries and to passages of entries. The main purpose of these indexing features is to be able to find particular writings.
The Journal Explorer is central to performing any searches within LifeJournal. The Journal Explorer can be hidden and displayed by clicking the “Explorer” button on the application toolbar. Docked on the bottom of the LifeJournal window, the Journal Explorer can be resized by clicking and dragging its upper edge.
The right pane of the Explorer lists the journal entries; double clicking an entry opens it. The listing of the journal entry shows the date and time it was written, the title, the journal type, and the topics assigned to it. You can sort those columns A-Z or Z-A by clicking on the labels at the tops of the columns.
Among the four tabs on the left pane is one called “topics.” This quick filtering mechanism lets you find journal entries by using only one search criterion, so you can use this feature for searching by only ONE topic. When you select a topic on the left pane, all journal entries which have that topic assigned to it—either as a passage, or the entire entry—will appear on the right.
Advanced Search is another searching mechanism. You can access it from the toolbar by clicking the “search” button. You can use multiple search criteria with Advanced Search, for example, searching by multiple topics; or by date and topic; or by date, topic and journal type. Select the search criteria (click the “+” to the left of the topics to display subtopics) that you want to use and then click the “Search” button. The list of entries that meet the search conditions will appear in the right pane of the Journal Explorer.
Remember that in last month’s newsletter I described how to assign topics to particular passages of entries, not just whole entries. The following explains how you can retrieve those highlighted passages:
Open the Advanced Search dialog, you’ll see that under the topics section (in the middle panel) there is a checkbox that says “Retrieve Highlighted Passages Only.” If you select this option in addition to selecting topics, and then click the “Search” button, a “Highlighted Passages Search Result” window will appear with all the highlighted passages that meet the search criteria.
This window has an “Insert into Journal Entry” button which, when clicked, will create a Daily Journal entry with the contents of the search results. Every highlighted passage within a journal entry which meets your search criteria appears under the title and date of the journal entry where it was written. The entries are listed in reverse chronological order. Additionally, the titles are hyperlinks that when clicked will open the journal entry itself—so you can see the context in which the passage was written.
When might you want to assign topics to passages? When you want to track a particular issue that you are working on—such as a relationship with a friend or spouse or work colleague. Or if you are a teacher you might want to track the progress of a student. Or if you are a writer you may want to save snippets of particularly good writing. Or if you are a researcher you can takes notes about various aspects of your subject and assign topics to them as you are doing the research. The possibilities are limitless.
Once you understand how quickly and efficiently you can retrieve particular writings by assigning topics to entries and passages, you’ll use this tool often. I recommend that after you finish writing your journal entry you go back and look for meaningful and pithy sentences and paragraphs that contain the “gold” of the entry; then you can go back and easily mine them later.
At the bottom of the topics section in the Advanced Search dialog box is some text: “Entries containing Any/All selected topics.” (The “any” or “all” choice selection is made through a dropdown menu.) You might use this additional criterion when you are including more than one topic in setting the search criteria.
Let’s say you are looking for all entries that contain information about exercise and about your bad back. If you do a search for entries containing any selected topic—say “exercise” and “back”—you will get a list of all entries that you wrote about that contain EITHER something about exercise, or something about your back, or both. If you search for entries containing all selected topics, then the results will include entries that contain BOTH topics “exercise” and “back.” Using the “any” criteria elicits broader results than does the “all” criteria.
You can also use the any/all search criteria for retrieving highlighted passages: You can search for highlighted passages that have any of the selected multiple topics assigned to them; or you can narrow the search by requiring that the passages must have all selected topics—in which case only highlighted passages that have every topic selected assigned to the passage will appear in the results window.
Tip: Stopping Highlighting
When you insert the cursor into a highlighted passage, the block of color behind the text appears. Any new text that you add to that passage will automatically have the same topic assigned to it as the surrounding text. If you want to stop highlighting the new text you are adding, press the “F12” key or the “Esc” (Escape) key. The highlighting (or assigning for a topic to the text) will stop.
We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.—Anias Nin
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” –George Bernard Shaw
“Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.”—Ansel Adams
How to Purchase LifeJournal or LifeJournal for Educators, or Upgrade to Version 2.0
You can purchase LifeJournal 2 (or upgrade to version 2.0) either by:
-Ordering LifeJournal online; ordering LifeJournal for Educators online.
Chronicles Software Company
To learn more about upgrading to LifeJournal, go to our June 2005 newsletter.
If you have friends or colleagues who would enjoy this newsletter, invite them to subscribe. We request that you keep the broadcast intact, including our contact and copyright information.
©Chronicles Software Company, 2005. All rights reserved.