Suggestions for improved use in research environments

Tell us what could be improved in MyInfo
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Coolrat
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:52 am

Suggestions for improved use in research environments

Post by Coolrat »

I have used MyInfo for my personal projects and work since 2011. Recently I began to find it invaluable in my work as a research analyst and I have a number of suggestions for improvements.


1. Clarifying use of drag and drop vs “ATTACHMENTS” feature.

There’s some confusion about:
  • 1. dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo

    2. using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature in[/

    After dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo:
    • the original document title is maintained.
      The viewing pane displays the contents of the document.
    While this is convenient, the text formatting in the viewing pane appears to be somewhat different than the original .docx document.
    Does this mean the document has now been altered? If I were to Export the “Net Zero working group minutes Aug 18 2021.docx” will the formatting be different from the original?

    It seems a bit confusing that the WORD icon in front of the document name suggest that the file is still a .docx file. Perhaps MyInfo should add a suffix to the file name or change the icon so users will know that it is no longer an original WORD document in .docx format?

    Is it correct that using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature will attach the original document which remains unaltered by MyInfo?
    Thus, I am wondering about workflow. In order to view the documents conveniently, perhaps its best to drag them into MyInfo (into a folder in a tree as shown in the screenshot), and then attach the original if I want to store an unaltered copy as well.


    2. Have the original document display in the Viewing Pane, but have a note-taking pane directly below

    Currently if I drag and drop PDF files into MyInfo, they are displayed in the viewing pane, but a note pane also appears below where users can write notes about the document.
    While this is very convenient, it only seems to work with PDF documents. If I drag and drop a WORD or ODT document into the tree, the document is shown in the Viewing Pane be viewed, but the Note Pane below is missing.
    It would be preferable to have the Note Pane available regardless of which type of document (word, pdf, odt, powerpoint) are dragged into the tree.

    3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

    Most of my colleagues involved in research need to make comments/annotations on documents. As I read a document in WORD, LibreOffice, or PDFs, I always highlight sections of text and add comments/annotations. Is there a way to include this ability in MyInfo. It would be very useful indeed to be able to add annotations to anything that appears in the Viewing Pane ie) webclipping attachments, webclippings (editable), PDFs, .docx etc.

    4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
    Over the years, I expected that one of the big note-taking applications would eventually include the ability to add keywords to sections of text/parargraphs and be able to create reports that show all instances of a specific keyword(s) in the database.

    I am bamboozled as to why more users do not request QDA functionality.
    Arguably there should be very strong demand for affordable QDA –enabled software.

    I have been following the development of the "hottest" new notetakers (Logseq, RoamResearch, Athens and many others) that are attracting considerable attention and new users/subscribers because of their ability to "backlink" documents (create hyperlinks between documents or blocks of text). However, it seems that these applications are not doing anything particularly astonishing. The approach of using tiny blocks of text assigned to keywords etc which are then linked to other blocks of text rather seems like a weaker approach than that used by QDA software: allow users to inter-link ideas and concepts by assigning code/keywords to selections of text.

    Nearly all of the problems regarding cataloguing and searching of files in my current and previous job would be resolved by QDA functionality: being able to link sections of one document with sections in another through the use of keywords. Whenever I tell department management that the problems with creating inter-relationships among data is entirely possible in QDA software, they are amazed- very few people ever think of it because this type of feature is oddly very rare. For most tasks at work, we need to be able to use keywords to link sections of text among numerous documents. The current hyperlinking capabilities of MyInfo (being able to link one document to another) are not fine-grained enough: Creating linkages between long 25 page documents is often of limited use if only one or two paragraphs are closely related. However, being able to link paragraphs containing similar themes/ideas would be useful indeed.

    For some ideas on how this might be done, please consider examining:
    • open-source QDA application QualCoder. It has been in development for less than 2 years, but has been progressing rapidly.
      MaxQDA is a good example of an industry-leading QDA features and UI.
      Qiqqa, an open source project that has many features of a QDA, but is mainly a tool for annotating PDF files. https://github.com/jimmejardine/qiqqa-open-source. Qiqqa has implemented interesting ways of allowing users to add keywords to sections of PDFs and then create reports by querying the keywords. Its brilliant software, but hobbled by a lack of developers and the fact it is not cross-platform.

    5. Exporting a file with right-click context menu.
    Many users will often need to export a document quickly to share with others. It would be very useful to have a fast and clear method to right click on a note, or a tree (including several notes). Currently the EXPORT function is somewhat awkward. I’m still not sure of the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text, Both.

    6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
    When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.

    7. Problems with displaying cloned PDFs in MyInfo 7

    I finally figured out how to clone notes, but found that cloned PDFs are not appearing in the viewing pane. See this screenshot:
    Cloning ordinary notes and screenclippings works as expected. PDFs however do not work.

    Also, why is the “Paste as Clone” only available by selecting EDIT – PASTE ADVANCED and is not available using the right-click context menu?

    It seems that it would be more intuitive to include ADVANCED PASTE, and PASTE AS CLONE as an option in the right-click menu.

    -----------------------------------------------


    Thank you for your attention to these suggestions. I hope they are of some use.
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am I have used MyInfo for my personal projects and work since 2011. Recently I began to find it invaluable in my work as a research analyst and I have a number of suggestions for improvements.

1. Clarifying use of drag and drop vs “ATTACHMENTS” feature.

There’s some confusion about:
  • 1. dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo

    2. using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature in[/

    After dragging and dropping WORD documents into MyInfo:
    • the original document title is maintained.
      The viewing pane displays the contents of the document.
    While this is convenient, the text formatting in the viewing pane appears to be somewhat different than the original .docx document.
    Does this mean the document has now been altered? If I were to Export the “Net Zero working group minutes Aug 18 2021.docx” will the formatting be different from the original?
Having the same impression.
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am It seems a bit confusing that the WORD icon in front of the document name suggest that the file is still a .docx file. Perhaps MyInfo should add a suffix to the file name or change the icon so users will know that it is no longer an original WORD document in .docx format?

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Is it correct that using the menu INSERT -- ATTACHMENTS feature will attach the original document which remains unaltered by MyInfo?

Yes
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Thus, I am wondering about workflow. In order to view the documents conveniently, perhaps its best to drag them into MyInfo (into a folder in a tree as shown in the screenshot), and then attach the original if I want to store an unaltered copy as well.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 2. Have the original document display in the Viewing Pane, but have a note-taking pane directly below

Currently if I drag and drop PDF files into MyInfo, they are displayed in the viewing pane, but a note pane also appears below where users can write notes about the document.
While this is very convenient, it only seems to work with PDF documents. If I drag and drop a WORD or ODT document into the tree, the document is shown in the Viewing Pane be viewed, but the Note Pane below is missing.
It would be preferable to have the Note Pane available regardless of which type of document (word, pdf, odt, powerpoint) are dragged into the tree.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

Most of my colleagues involved in research need to make comments/annotations on documents. As I read a document in WORD, LibreOffice, or PDFs, I always highlight sections of text and add comments/annotations. Is there a way to include this ability in MyInfo. It would be very useful indeed to be able to add annotations to anything that appears in the Viewing Pane ie) webclipping attachments, webclippings (editable), PDFs, .docx etc.

+1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
Over the years, I expected that one of the big note-taking applications would eventually include the ability to add keywords to sections of text/parargraphs and be able to create reports that show all instances of a specific keyword(s) in the database.

I am bamboozled as to why more users do not request QDA functionality.
Arguably there should be very strong demand for affordable QDA –enabled software.

For me it would be conceptualize it as (meta)tagging of text elements, but for the concept +1
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 5. Exporting a file with right-click context menu.
Many users will often need to export a document quickly to share with others. It would be very useful to have a fast and clear method to right click on a note, or a tree (including several notes). Currently the EXPORT function is somewhat awkward. I’m still not sure of the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text, Both.

+1 for the idea; however in my perception a customization feature for the context menu. And yes the function of the radio buttons related to TOPIC SECTION: Tree, Text is somewhat confusing
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.


Me preferring a floating color picker (you can make the highlighting tool be afloat in LibreOffice and MS word). The move the cursor up to toolbar is indeed cumbersome (lots distance to travel on screen) and I mostly use different colors, so I have to click the expand drop down too..
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 7. Problems with displaying cloned PDFs in MyInfo 7

I finally figured out how to clone notes, but found that cloned PDFs are not appearing in the viewing pane. See this screenshot:
Cloning ordinary notes and screenclippings works as expected. PDFs however do not work.

I don't reproduce this here
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am Also, why is the “Paste as Clone” only available by selecting EDIT – PASTE ADVANCED and is not available using the right-click context menu?

It seems that it would be more intuitive to include ADVANCED PASTE, and PASTE AS CLONE as an option in the right-click menu.

Not that use clones very often, but yes it's buried within the dialog.
cadudesun
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:34 pm

Post by cadudesun »

Wow. Very nice suggestions!
I second all of them, but I'd like to emphasize two, and make reference to a previous suggestion of mine related to the thread.
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.

6. Right-click popup menu for highlighting colours.
When I read documents in MyInfo, I use highlighting colours for important blocks of text. Currently, to use the highlighter, I must move the cursor up to the top of the screen, select the colour I want. A better design would be to have a highlight menu available on the right-click context menu. WORD offers this choice - convenient indeed.
Any QDA related functionality, mainly the possibility to tag/code selected text within same note, and retrieve it later would be outstanding.

While QDA functionality is highly welcomed, it sounds that better highlighting colours/workflow would be faster and simpler to implement initially. The Word/OneNote context menu is an excellent approach. Other two and even complementary approaches could be:

- Extended highlighting colors directly available on the toolbar, showing core colors like yellow, green, blue, orange, and red.
I've attached a sketch made over MyInfo interface:
MyInfo Highlighting Toolbar.png
MyInfo Highlighting Toolbar.png (23.39 KiB) Viewed 3224 times


- Highlighting colors pops-up on the mouse cursor as soon as text is selected, showing core colors.
On this link there is a screen-recording with some further references of a Chrome extension.
As shown there, when a highlighting is added, a small visual indication on the right - next to the scrollbar - appears. And you can navigate directly to the highlighted parts of the text.
Some functionality like that could be resourceful on the note text editor, as well as when using MyInfo web clipper.


To finish, just mentioning a suggestion I already did that seems related to the thread.
"Links to" functionalities like the "backlinks" ones - MyInfo Community Forums:
viewtopic.php?t=7535

Cheers!
meerak915
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:48 am

Post by meerak915 »

I concur with several of OP's points:
3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file
4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
Points 3 & 4 share some common similarities, namely the capacity to take meta-notes or create meta-tags of notes or smaller blocks of information (Paragraphs, sentences, etc). MyInfo already provides a degree of taking meta-notes (of which are part of my attraction to the product). First off, we can create bookmarks of webpages or upload PDFs, and both will include a text pane alongside the viewpane of the original document (Can we do this for more objects?). Secondly we can keyword-tag our notes. Thirdly, i've had mixed success with linking notes to each other. The Keyword suggestion of #4 and the annotations/comments of #3 sounds like potential extensions of these existing systems in that we're adding additional meta-attributes to the existing elements: Text notes or keywords assigned a document -> text notes or keywords assigned to a paragraph or sentence. Either/or both empowers users significantly in that they'd allow use to more finely annotate and tag our notes than currently capable; and a finer toolset significantly improves our narrowing and searching for those annotations and keywords. Similarly i know we can link notes to each other; but, as OP suggested, tracing back-links, and linking keywords are incredibly powerful features.

Additionally, that brings back the demand for tools to better analyze that meta-data (QDA). Presently we can search and lookup keywords for tagged noted; but, any reporting or customization on top of that would be amazing, and especially powerful for the varied uses of myinfo. OP suggested research environments; but, in my education/comp-sci/literature usage, I see value here too. Educational linking of keyword concepts and back-linking would turn my school/study-notes and my software/technology notes into encyclopedias. Similarly, introduction of this for literary usage (like world building or plot crafting for tabletop games or novels) would empower us to reverse engineer or lookup our linked keyword concepts like plot-points, mcguffins, and NPCs.
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

cadudesun wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:26 pm Image
+1
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Telesto wrote: Fri Dec 17, 2021 9:50 am
cadudesun wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:26 pm Image
Multiple approaches:
* Last used highlighting colors in list in toolbar
* Right click context menu -> Highlight to pick a color
* Floating panel showing all colors
Clipboard04.jpg
Clipboard04.jpg (27.83 KiB) Viewed 2681 times
* Attaching shortcuts to highlighting colors
* Another - panel - listing highlighting colors. Ideally with a column to label those, as a reminder how the color coding scheme should be used.
* Character Styles (reference: Format -> Apply Styles in RightNote). Would give the most flexibility (you can play with font, font size, type font etc). A shortcut being attached to a style. And still liking a panel listing all custom Character Style with preview
Clipboard02.jpg
Clipboard02.jpg (30.08 KiB) Viewed 2681 times
Coolrat
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:52 am

Post by Coolrat »

Hi Everyone,
I'm very pleased to hear that Petko will release MyInfo 8 in the next few months.

A survey was recently released asking us for our most-needed features.

For at least 5 years, I have been hoping that MyInfo would include the features (noted in my original post above):

3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.

My "wish list" still stands. Most of the new generation of note-taking tools (Obsidian, RoamResearch) etc all beat-around-the-bush by implementing various systems for achieving what QDA software like HyperResearch or MaxQDA can easily accomplish- allow the user to add keywords to anything (any block of text, image etc), add notes to anything, and have robust search tools that allow users to find everything easily.

I use these QDA applications daily, and am quite sure that, for most purposes, MyInfo could easily replace them if only it included these additional features. While I'm sure adding these features is very technically complex, they would transform MyInfo into an very powerful research tool indeed and address a market need for affordable QDA software. (most QDA applications are very costly).

Thanks to everyone for your support and comments regarding these features!
I have one other wish that I've been harping about for 10 years- that MyInfo be offered as a native Linux port! That would be icing on the cake!
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Coolrat wrote: Thu Jan 12, 2023 4:38 pm For at least 5 years, I have been hoping that MyInfo would include the features (noted in my original post above):

3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

4. QDA (Qualitative Data Analysis) functionality.
+1
Coolrat
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:52 am

Post by Coolrat »

Thanks Telesto.
I am very much looking forward to the release of version 8.
I hope some of the QDA features, and cross platform compatibility will make an appearance. :D
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Coolrat wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:30 pm Thanks Telesto.
I am very much looking forward to the release of version 8.
I hope some of the QDA features, and cross platform compatibility will make an appearance. :D
I don't expect QDA features or platform compatibility being addressed in 8.0; it would be a surprise.

My guess: some kind of theming support, a navigator viewtopic.php?p=15339&hilit=panel+TOC#p15339, a feature listed from the poll and a couple of bug fixes. We will see..
Telesto
Posts: 3367
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:32 pm

Post by Telesto »

Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 2. Have the original document display in the Viewing Pane, but have a note-taking pane directly below

Currently if I drag and drop PDF files into MyInfo, they are displayed in the viewing pane, but a note pane also appears below where users can write notes about the document.
While this is very convenient, it only seems to work with PDF documents. If I drag and drop a WORD or ODT document into the tree, the document is shown in the Viewing Pane be viewed, but the Note Pane below is missing.
It would be preferable to have the Note Pane available regardless of which type of document (word, pdf, odt, powerpoint) are dragged into the tree.
There is a need for a Note Pane (for any format). However, not so fond of the note panel below is the PDF. Reduces the visible area of the PDF. I personally more in favor of side-by-side. I essence what Scrivener does (see screenshot). The synopsis field is also something like.
ABC3.jpg
ABC3.jpg (283.67 KiB) Viewed 2444 times
Coolrat wrote: Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:32 am 3. Ability to add annotations/notes to sections of text in any file

Most of my colleagues involved in research need to make comments/annotations on documents. As I read a document in WORD, LibreOffice, or PDFs, I always highlight sections of text and add comments/annotations. Is there a way to include this ability in MyInfo. It would be very useful indeed to be able to add annotations to anything that appears in the Viewing Pane ie) webclipping attachments, webclippings (editable), PDFs, .docx etc.
Regarding to PDF. Currently MyInfo is capable of showing a preview. You can't apply highlighting directly in PDF, but you need to open the file externally (annoyance A) and well it blocks MyInfo as a whole (annoyance B). I like some embedded basic PDF editing features
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