As part of my research I continually have great ideas and want to take notes.With time my note taking has evolved, from using pen and paper to using MS Word. Even though storing data in Word files looks pretty, it is slow to load and even slower to navigate. The jump from paper to text enabled searching within each document, and more recently, with desktop search software it is possible to search your computer from your browser. efficiently
Writing your notes in Hypertext enables you to cross-link documents , but editing and publishing to a webserver is time consuming and sometimes complicated. Wikidpad is the next evolution. A cross between a wiki and a notepad style text editor. Pages created in Wikidpad can either be kept on your computer, published on the web or as I will show you, easily stored on your mobile phone or PDA.
This is Wikidpad, files are both edited and viewed in the same application.The pane on the left shows the tree of files and their relations the pane on the right shows part of my Cushing’s entry.
Adding a page to Wikidpad
Last night I saw an interesting case of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), so I did a few web searches and consulted my favourite texts and wanted to make some notes about it.
Creating the page. I classify venous thrombosis as a primarily neurological disorder and so will create a page initially off my basic neurology page.
I did this by navigating to my Neurology page and typing [Sinus Venous Thrombosis], Wikidpad needs to know that I want this to be a link to a new page. There are 2 ways to let Wikidpad know that this is a link rather than simply a piece of text. One way is to make the words camel-case style, that is to joint 2 words and capitalise the second word eg SinusVenousThrombosis or enclose the link in square brackets. Now I have placed my link if I click on it it will create a new wiki-page.
This new page automatically shows up on the tree on the left under neurology. You can see that the name of the page has already been entered on the top of the wiki page on the right pane and has been set as bold. You can make text bold either by prefixing it with to + signs, or by selecting it and clicking bold on the toolbar. I am now going to add some notes which can easily include bullet points, or links to the web.
To add notes simply click on the pane and type away. To make a bullet list either click on the bullet list icon or just start each line with a *. To add a link to another wikipage simply type the name of the other page in CamelCase or enclose it in square brackets.
Here is the completed page with bullet points and relevant links.
The real power of wikidpad of course is when you start linking your pages together.
Exporting WikidPad Pages
I currently export my wikidpad pages to html format (The format used for the world wide web) so my notes can be easily viewed on my phone, but these could easily be uploaded to a website. This can be done either as a single html file, which can be slow on mobile phones, or a set of html files.
Here the sinus venous thrombosis page can be seen on my mobile, yes the screen is small but it is quick enough to be usable on the wards or in clinic if you don’t have Internet access.
Searching your Wiki
Google desktop is my current favourite desktop search solution, and luckily both the .wiki files and the html files produced by wikidpad are indexed, so those notes are really easy to find.
- Microsoft OneNote: I had a trial copy of the 2003 version of this a year or so ago, its now been updated to 2007. The collaborative working features in 2003 were good though it was a large install and runs quite slow on my machine. Oh yeah it costs around Â£79.
- Key Note RTF rather than Html output, but is freeware and looks pretty.
- Evernote Commercial and free offerings of the same program, for USD 29.99 you get synchronisation features and more.