Tinderbox Forum

Roam Research - interesting approach to note taking

I set my default links display to “linear” precisely because Tinderbox displays these double links as a single link with an arrow on each end. So this option eliminates a lot of noise from busy maps. My experience is that non-linear links draw so as to create two distinct link lines on the map, one in each direction, often curving in different directions towards their target.


Yes, this has been a fantastic addition to Tinderbox, which really enhances its application as a Zettelkasten (which concept itself appears to be gaining increasing momentum at the moment among knowledge workers.)

I was wondering whether the functionality couldn’t be further augmented by the addition of link contextualisation. This is something Roam does very well, allowing one to see the surrounding sentence/paragraph within which the link was contained, from the note that has been linked to. I like Andy Matuschak’s thoughts on the matter (can’t provide link as a new user I assume):

“Systems which display backlinks to a node permit a new behavior: you can define a new node extensionally (rather than intensionally) by simply linking to it from many other nodes—even before it has any content […] This effect requires contextual backlinks: a simple list of backlinks won’t implicitly define a node very effectively.”

Even providing a bit more context when hovering over a link in the new links pane would be really beneficial for the connection-forming and sense-making processes.

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I seem to have stopped at 8.1.1 (409) and not noticed the recent developments. My sub expired at some point, but these recent advances have made me re-think my daily (but trivial, in the mathematical sense) Tinderbox use for history of medicine research so I am upgrading today.

I should mention though that after a brief dalliance with Roam I found that if I adopted and adapted both the Daily Notes and the link to Pages ideas, the functions I needed were already present in Scrivener - which provides auto back-links, for example, for all of the links to a particular page.

As Scrivener and Tinderbox interact so nicely I’m looking forward to trying some experimental uses for both while this cv sequestering continues.

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The hover-preview trick is an old Ben Shneiderman idea. It’s not perfect, but I think it might be handy. We do something like this for the suggested links list.

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How far back?

I think it’s in the paper with Alan Borning, which would have been ~1986. Intl J Man-Machine, I think. But that’s a pure shot at venture – can’t really check properly away from the office.

Landow’s 1987 paper on the rhetoric of arrival and departure also seems pertinent, and I think he does mention the idea of seeing some sort of a preview of what the destination will offer. Of course, Landow is very much aware that the destination might want to tempt the reader, or wish to seek out readers who don’t (yet) know they want to read it…

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Thanks. // On the main thread again, does the search & retrieval of context present a loading inimical to existing structures. IOW, regardless of the idea (which is good!) does this load a desktop app? By comparison, Roam seems to be on a large back-end database so has more capacity for always-on scanning.

I’m wondering to what extent the needs of some of the zettelkasten-focused ideas fit well for a broader hypertextual tool. It’s easy for us to ask for things, but delivery may be harder or come at cost to other valued features, thus the question.

Random aside: I’ve been in a book club with Alan this winter. Fun to see his name pop up here.

A post was split to a new topic: Adding new attributes - selecting a data type

Mirroring the suggested links functionality would be perfect. Instead of the whole note, an n amount of preceding and succeeding characters could be displayed with the link text as locus.

Regarding effects on load, I would have thought a desktop app in general would be even more performant than a web-based one, but I’m no software engineer, and I’m sure such considerations hinge on a whole suite of mitigating circumstances.

I’m curious about what zettelkasten ideas wouldn’t fit within a broader hypertextual tool, or what tool but a hypertextual one would be perfect suited to implement zettelkasten ideas. Luhmann’s method (or whoever truly originated the concept) practically sounds like hypertext in analogue.

I’m certainly no expert though, would love to hear more from you all who are well-versed in hypertext lore.

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The ability to move data in any way you please, and without ever destroying the original source,…is what I’ve been looking for my entire existence. Bi-directional linking is absolute brilliance. Embedding any type of information - regardless of structure, form, or arrangement - in any and as many locations as…pfff, my goodness. Knowledge graphing & esotericism are the key concepts here. In the context of knowledge organization, there is nothing that comes even close. However, still a long way to go before it becomes fully functional.