I am trying to make more use of Tinderbox in my work, and it struck me that a useful thing for me to do was to create a Tbx specifically for the purpose of examining and thinking about what I am doing – or trying to do. I put notes in it about what sorts of prototypes and tags I might need, and how to organise my data. In a sense, the Tbx becomes the template for the work I will do. I have shamelessly poached from Mark Anderson’s starter Tbx, and altered some of the prototypes to suit my needs, as well as copying some I had before. The same applies to agents and stamps I will find useful.
But I have also found myself thinking about the flow of my work (I avoid writing “workflow” because I find that word slips past me too easily and I don’t think about what it means). In my case, the centre of everything has to be my bibliographic database (in Bookends in my case). Absolutely anything that might be considered a “source” goes into Bookends. Web pages, for example, I always print to pdf, as that freezes the content to what it was when I found it. I would do the same with emails, or anything else I could think of. I keep all these pdfs as attachments to references in Bookends, which stores them in a folder, renamed to Author -Year- Title. That folder is indexed by DEVONthink Pro Office. That gives me a solid base for my source documents, and two apps in which I can find them (and they are the same documents in each program – no scattering). At the moment I am using the practice of dragging references from Bookends into a Container simply called “References”. Each reference itself becomes a container inside which I put any notes or quotes relating to that work. So pdfs go in Bookends, but are available in DEVONthink, while my jottings and observations are in Tinderbox.
In my own “journey” with Tinderbox, I’ve found it useful to think about the prototypes first, and make ones that have “Attribute Overkill” – i.e. probably more attributes than I need, but I’ll get rid of the ones I don’t use at a later date. I think if I had a mixture of discordant prototypes I would just make ones in the new file that had all of the fields of the old ones and then use stamps to move the data to whichever field I decided was the one I wanted to use. But I’m not clever enough to use more than agricultural solutions to these problems.
For me, the key to making sense of things (insofar as I can) is to make liberal use of metadata in Tinderbox. At the top of every note I make I put a line which is “tags = §freud §psychoanalysis §hypnosis” or similar. I have a stamp kindly provided by Pat which copies those tags to the $Tags attribute. Using the Attributes Browser or Agents, I can find pretty much any combination I want. For something I am trying to write, I will just add “§chapter_1” or whatever to the tags at the top of the note. My Agent finds all the stuff related to Chapter 1, and then I have to think about what to do with it.
I’m not sure how much that helps, but I’m coming to look upon Agents as one of the most useful tools in the program. They do the heavy lifting, and one can tweak things afterwards. The great thing about using metadata to categorise notes is that it doesn’t matter where they are physically – you can still find them and gather them together.
I trust you will get much better contributions than this from other people!