Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Nested Personal Wiki?

From the department of nonsense: Use Word's Outline View as a Nested Personal Wiki. "Rather than keep multiple files, to-do lists, and longer notes on something coming up, consider using a Word file in the "Outline View" to create a nested, expandable personal wiki-style organizer."

I get that it is one file. I also get that this one file is an outline (which has collapsible and expandable levels, as all outliners do). I also get the personal and expandable part.

I don't get what would make this a "wiki -style organizer." This characteisation of a simple word outline amounts to willful obfuscation. It has absolutely nothing to do with a wiki. This in itself does not make it a bad idea. Just as a car might not be a bad idea, calling it a "boat" certainly is.

I like outliners and I like wikis. I am very interested in how they can (or cannot) be combined. This entry says absolutely nothing about this issue—or anything that would be intrinsically interesting to anyone. Doesn't everyone already know that the MS-Word Outline, like any outliner, can be used for to-do lists, and longer notes? and why use MS-Word's clunky outlining feature at that?

5 comments:

jphbr said...

I think the point of the article is that MS Word outline levels are collapsible. As a result, the information content under each level (itself possibly containing sub levels) can be expanded in-place, rather than laterally à la wiki via interlinked files or web pages.

Even if the terminology is not correct, assimilating MS Word Outline mode to an in-situ wiki is not such a bad analogy. The analogy can be furthered by having outline headers be hyperlinks (which is easily accomplished using drag-and-drop).

With time, I've found that MS Word can be a good deal more creative than given credit for.

MK said...

I think it is a very bad analogy. And this has nothing to do with what MS-word can or cannot do!

jphbr said...

You wrote: "why use MS-Word's clunky outlining feature?"

Learn how to use Styles. It's worth it.

MK said...

To say it again, the point I made about the nonsense of identifying collapsible outlines with wiki-links was quite independent of whether MS-word has a good or bad outliner. The two things are very different.

I use both an outliner and a personal wiki.

I used to use MS-Word for many, too many, years; wrote two books with it and used styles, of course.

I use Atlantis now and use styles with it. It also has better outlining. They are not collapsible.

If I want collapsible outlines I use an outliner. I still like Tkoutline (but use the outliner in ConnectedText more). I also have many models in Brainstorm.

Roland said...

Hi, I am an absolute word lover (See my post on my long love affair with the thing http://www.wordonwiki.com/blogs/2008/12/i%E2%80%99m-love-msword)

However, when it comes to finding a combination of 1/ personal 2/ wiki and 3/fast, I'd go for the Getting Things Done version of http://www.tiddlywiki.com.

See it here: http://nathanbowers.com/gtdtw/

- Roland