I’ve mentioned before an idea that Peter Flynn once put in my head. As I write this, I am taking a break from writing a manuscript (that is late!) using NeoOffice and Zotero. It all works fairly well, but I’m struck that the two together feel rather heavy. Consider the workflow if I need to add a citation and associated information:
- try to remember where I saw some information; go to Zotero to find it
- go back to NeoOffice to add content.
- go back to Zotero to insert the citation
While each time I do this the process is fairly quick, if you multiply it by a hundred it becomes a significant waste of time. More importantly, it’s a distraction. Writing is hard enough to be distracted by interruptions of this sort.
OK, so back to the idea:
Peter once mentioned Remembrance Agent. A screenshot with its emacs front-end:
So the idea here is a service scans the content you are working on, sends it to a backend, which looks through emails, document and bibliographic references to find items of potential relevance, presenting it to the user for quick-and-easy access.
So here’s my thought: with all of the innovations in new Ajax-y applications, shouldn’t it possible to do something like this with web applications?
I’m starting to wonder about a nice web editor for academics: something stripped down and simple (but extensible) like the Mac application WriteRoom, that used a simple Markdown-like syntax, and which could plug-in to a bibliographic service a la Remembrance Agent.