I’ve never been one for buying gadgets. I’m a bit of a minimalist. To me, a knife is a knife is a knife. My husband, however, thinks differently and enjoys high quality tools. Recently he bought one of those sleek, beautifully balanced, sharp knives at a fancy kitchen store. At first I teased him about the “fancy-shmancy” knife. Then I started using it when he wasn’t in the kitchen. Now, when we’re cooking together he notices that I always choose that knife to chop vegetables. You know what? He’s right. Going out of the way to get the right tool for the job makes the task easier, more efficient, and yes—I admit it—even more fun.
One of the major challenges of efficiently using a journal is to locate specific entries that you have written in the past. LifeJournal has the high quality, precise, and powerful tools to help you quickly find the writings you are looking for. And further, LifeJournal has the tools to bring together entries and passages scattered throughout your journal that have common threads, juxtaposing some of your pieces, allowing you to more easily see patterns, make connections, and draw conclusions.
With LifeJournal you can skillfully slice, dice, and re-combine your writings in a two part process: You have to first prepare your journal by assigning topics to entries and passages, so that you are then able to perform powerful searches. This month’s newsletter explains the first part—using LifeJournal’s tools for assigning topics. Next month, in October, we’ll discuss the tools to perform powerful searches.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Assigning Topics: A Powerful Tool for Later Searching
ASSIGNING TOPICS: A Powerful Tool for Later Searching for Entries
The one critical piece of information to understand about assigning topics is that you can (1) assign a topic to an entire journal entry, or (2) assign a topic to a passage in an entry.
To assign a topic to an entire entry, open the journal entry and click the appropriate topic in the Topics List. The Topics List is in the bottom portion of the sidebar to the right of the journal entry. (If the Topics sidebar is not displayed, click the “Topics” tab on the top of the sidebar.) You’ll see that the topic that you clicked in the Topic List now is listed in the Entry Topics list above it. It has a “bookmark” icon next to it, which shows that that topic is assigned to the whole journal entry.
To assign a topic to a passage in a journal entry, open a journal entry and select the passage: that is, with your mouse, click and drag over the text that you want to assign a topic. Click the topic that you’d like to assign and the text will become highlighted (a color will appear behind the text). You’ll also notice that the topic now appears in the Entry Topics list with a highlight icon. If you click on “Show None” in the Entry Topics list, the highlighting will disappear. If you click on the topic again that you just assigned to the passage, the highlighting will show.
You can assign more than one topic to an entry or to a passage. Just repeat the process as needed with each topic of your choosing.
If you want to remove the assignment of a topic from an entry, right click the topic in the Entry List and click “Remove Topic from Entry.” If you want to remove the assignment of a topic from all the passages in an entry, right click on the topic in the Entry List and select “Remove Topic from All Passages in Entry.” If you want to remove the assignment of a topic from just one passage in an entry (and keep the topic assigned to other passages), first select the passage (by clicking and dragging your mouse over it) and then click the “Remove Highlight from Selected Passage” button in the journal toolbar. The “Remove Highlight from Selected Passage” button looks like an upside down pencil and is the right-most button in the journal toolbar.
Editing the Topics List
When you open LifeJournal for the first time, you’ll see that there is a default list of topics in the journal entry sidebar, which gives you a range of topics that you might want to include. It’s important that you customize the Topics List to reflect your world, so you’ll want to remove or add some topics, and perhaps rename others.
Note that the topics are organized in levels or branches, with subtopics or lower branches, and sub-subtopics or even lower branches. A “+” sign to the left of a topic indicates that it has subtopics; when clicked the subtopics are displayed. To add, remove, or rename a topic (or subtopic), right click it and a context menu appears. You can then select “add new,” “remove,” or “rename.” The “remove” and “rename” commands are self-explanatory.
The “add new” command will open a dialog box where you can enter the name of a subtopic to the topic that you right clicked on, unless you check the “Make Top Branch” option. When you select “Make Top Branch” you will be creating a new highest level topic or branch. There won’t be a “+” next to the top branch if you haven’t created any subtopics.
The cool part of assigning topics is that you don’t have to assign topics until AFTER you have finished writing your journal entry. So, you can write naturally, staying in the flow of your writing, without having to alter your writing process to accommodate the software. This design is not rocket science, but the ability to assign topics after writing an entry is unparalleled in journal or diary software. So just open a journal entry and start writing.
When you are finished writing, go back and re-read what you have written. If a majority of the entry is about one or two topics, assign them (bookmark) to the entire entry. If you find that there are a couple of very meaningful or insightful sentences or paragraphs that you think would be worth reading again in the future, select the text and assign a topic(s) (highlight) to it.
“Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools”
“Man is a tool-using Animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.”—Thomas Carlyle
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” –Peter F. Drucker
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.
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