"Bookmarks" should be renamed "Resources"

Mi
Micha
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Mon May 04, 2020 6:27 pm Post

lunk wrote:
Micha wrote:Imagine you're writing a lengthy document such as a thesis, report, novel.
- - -
it's likely that you want to be able to easily and quickly tag, retrieve and review bits of text of the document that you're creating.
- - -
That lengthy document is already likely split into several chapters and sections, with each section likely a file of its own in Scrivener.
Now imagine having to work with not just a 100 files, each equating to a section within a chapter, say, but 300, or 400 or whatever number of separate files you end up with once you've split all your documents so that you can attach label/s and/or keyword/s to those individual files.

Yes? If you split it hierarchially, i.e split your chapter in sub-sections, and then split your sections into sub-documents, and possibly split those as well into sub-sub-documents, etc, Scrivener is built to handle that for you so you don't really have to bother about the number of files it creates on the HD. You simply use scrivenings mode on whatever level you like and view it like one piece of text while you write. With or without dividers showing the movement through the text.

I honestly don't see the problem. Why does it matter how Scrivener internally handles your text? :shock:


Hi lunk,

You're forcing me to think clearly about how I work here, but I'll give it my best shot and try and and answer your question :)

The long and short of it is that Scrivener may be able to deal with that number of files, but I cannot. At least not during an important phase of writing.

I go through different phases when I'm writing: researching, writing, editing, and the problem is two-fold:
1- this is not a sequential process where I start with research, then write, and finally edit my stuff. It's an iterative process where I step through any of those phases in almost any order, and then I repeat at least several times in probably a different order.
2 - and this is where the rub comes in - I work very differently, and I therefore have different tool requirements, depending on whether I'm writing or editing (let's make this simpler and forget about research for today).

The draft folder in my binder is often structured with one folder per chapter, and within each folder I generally have a file per section or scene (depending on whether it's non-/fiction.)

If I'm in 'creative' mode (I'm eternally hopefully that one day I'll be truly inspired!), then I tend to work in a top-down/high-level mode and I really do not want to be distracted. And, seeing many files in my binder for what is conceptually one section or scene I find very jarring (and yes, I realise it could be just me).
In any case, I want the equivalent of one sheet of paper for the current section/scene that I'm working on, on which to dump those words before If forget them .

I also know that if I wanted to I could hide the binder, and use continuous mode to see all text within all those files.
But it just doesn't work for me...I need a good (for me) balance between seeing the structure and detail. Having my 3-tier structure at hand is sufficient for me most of the time. Most of the time I don't want to see the detail at which I'm tagging words/sentences in files. BUT, when I need to see that detail then it really is very important to me that I can see it quickly and conveniently....usually I'm editing at that stage, and wanting to make sure I've figuratively dotted ever i and crossed every t etc, throughout the whole report/book/thesis.

Please note that I'm not saying that I NEVER go beyond a three-level structure for my writing (where the top level is the book/report/thesis, the second level is the folder/chapter level, and third level is the files within a chapter that make up sections/scenes).
If I were writing non-fiction, and I had sub-sections, then I probably WOULD have separate files per sub-section (and even lower levels depending on how long or complex those sub-sub/...sections were).

However, to my mind that is very different to my requirement to track certain themes or threads throughout my document. I may want to track these themes/threads in this way (ie tagging text as opposed to whole files), for both fiction or non-fiction writing.

I'm sorry I cannot explain this better. I realise that this is very personal way of working, and that not everyone will have the same process or requirements as I do.
But I really would like something that allows me to do what I want without my having to manage it to the nth degree...which is what splitting my files into a huge number would entail.
And even if I did split my sections/scenes to the nth degree - it still wouldn't work particularly well for me. Usually I want to tag just a few words or a sentences. I would either need a file that contained JUST those few words or sentences, or else I would also have to highlight/colour the text of those words or sentences so that when I'm looking for them, I can see them immediately...that is way too much work.

Please also note that THIS reply is NOT me pushing for this requirement to be added to a future implementation list.
I've already done that (and I don't see anything wrong with asking).
This is me trying to answer lunk's question as to why splitting files doesn't work for me.

Good day/evening all.
Michelle.

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kewms
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Mon May 04, 2020 6:59 pm Post

Note that you can collapse the Binder or any portion of it. That is, you can show only the top three levels (or whatever) while still having whatever level of structure you want below that, and combine any single section into a single Scrivenings view.

I'm a little confused by the idea that Scrivenings mode is a distraction in itself. If you want, you can hide the separators between files to such a degree that people sometimes don't even realize that they're there.

It also seems to me that there are (at least) two different use cases being discussed in this thread, and they have different requirements.

If you want to tag sections of text with a specific theme in order to extract them and view them sequentially ... that's exactly the need that Scrivener itself, and keywords, and Collections, and Scrivenings mode and all the rest were designed to address. Trying to do that *without* splitting documents into pieces is essentially trying to create a completely separate approach that duplicates a major piece of Scrivener's core functionality. Again, I don't speak for the developer, but I have a very hard time visualizing a business case that justifies the enormous development effort that would require.

If, on the other hand, you simply want to drop an "anchor point" into a document so that you can jump to that point later -- the classic definition of a "bookmark" -- I'm not sure why you need finer granularity than a "normal" outline, possibly combined with the existing Comment/Annotation functionality. I mean, a traditional bookmark (or index or ToC reference) in a printed book drops you in the middle of a two-page spread, spanning 600 words or more. "Anchored" bookmarks on web pages similarly usually correspond to major sections, as do cross references in programs like Word. The original request seems to call for much more granularity than any similar tool offers.

Katherine
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Mon May 04, 2020 8:10 pm Post

Micha wrote:Usually I want to tag just a few words or a sentences. I would either need a file that contained JUST those few words or sentences, or else I would also have to highlight/colour the text of those words or sentences so that when I'm looking for them.


Hey, Michelle.

If I understand things right, you are looking for a way to tag / bookmark a limited number of words in longer text files and then have those words easily grouped / accessed.

According to the developer, the text system that Scrivener uses is simply unable to do that (and no amount of programming can change this limitation, unless Scrivener was rewritten to use a completely different text system) other than through the workarounds / methods outlined in this thread already.

It’s not that the request won’t be implemented out of choice; it’s that it can’t be implemented because the text system doesn’t offer any way of allowing the request to be implemented.

viewtopic.php?p=313683#p313683

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lunk
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Mon May 04, 2020 8:57 pm Post

JimRac wrote:Well, sure, maybe if you're on a Mac. And maybe if you're on Windows and you use a scroll wheel to navigate Scrivenings.

Huh? In what way would having the text as one long single document be better than having the same text consisting of 100 sub-documents looking as a continuous text thanks to scrivenings mode?
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, running different OS.
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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lunk
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Mon May 04, 2020 9:07 pm Post

Micha wrote:seeing many files in my binder for what is conceptually one section or scene I find very jarring

And why would you do that? Like Katherine writes, collapse the binder! If you only want to see the chapters, show only the chapters! If you want one more level, show that level! And if you suddenly want to see the deepest level of granularity for one section, expand that section!

That’s the beauty of Scrivener - you don’t have to see all the text or all the levels at once, if you don’t want to. Let Scrivener show you only what you want to see - in the Binder, in the Editor, in the Outline.
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, running different OS.
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

Ji
JimRac
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Mon May 04, 2020 9:23 pm Post

lunk wrote:
JimRac wrote:Well, sure, maybe if you're on a Mac. And maybe if you're on Windows and you use a scroll wheel to navigate Scrivenings.

Huh? In what way would having the text as one long single document be better than having the same text consisting of 100 sub-documents looking as a continuous text thanks to scrivenings mode?
Because if you're on Windows like I am, page up/page down doesn't work in Scrivenings mode. And I use page up/page down to navigate text within docs. Did you read my post which I linked to above? It explains my challenges with Scrivenings mode, which leads to my reluctance to break bigger docs into smaller docs, which leads to my desire for text to text linking. Scrivener's design philosophy of smaller discrete docs is wonderful. I wish I could make more use of it than I do.
I’m just a customer.

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Randall Lee Reetz
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Mon May 04, 2020 10:35 pm Post

Here, I am using the string "===" as my special bookmark search string. To leave a bookmark I am selecting a string of text in a document, opening the inspector, clicking on the comments tab, clicking the plus "+" icon, and typing the equals "=" key three times, and then, if I want, following that bookmark string with a note to myself.

Then I did a search using the binder search bar above the binder, for that same string I've chosen as my comments bookmark string ("===").

Then I clicked on that little down pointing carrot next to the magnifying glass icon in the binder search field and choose "Save Search as Collection". I named it "=== Bookmarks".

Thereafter, I can just click on my "=== Bookmarks" collection to see a list of all the documents in my binder that I have created a comment or comment for that I've designated as a bookmark by including the special string "===".

Once my bookmarks list appears, I can click on any of the listed documents, which will bring that document into the editor with each of the "===" commented strings highlighted. I can click on any of these linked strings to be taken to that bookmark comment in question (shown now in the inspector), or I can open the inspector, and click on the inspector's comments tab, to see a full list of the comments I've assigned to stings within that document. Unfortunately, Scrivener doesn't link your binder search to the inspector's comments list, so there is no indication of which comments contain your special bookmarks string (in my case, "===").

As it is difficult to see which of your comments contain your bookmarks string, you might want to decide always to place this string at the very start of your comment.

I choose the string "===" for several reasons. First, it is an unlikely series of characters to appear in a comment unless I have placed it there. Second, I don't have to use another modifier key (shift, control, command, options) to make the char "=" so it is quick and easy. Third, it is a char that is easy to see, especially in sequence. I thought of using the • (option 8) char, because it is so obvious to the eye "•••", but I'd prefer not having to use two keys and two hands to type that sequence. You might choose otherwise. Also, there is nothing special about the number of chars you choose to use as your comments bookmark search string. I've used three chars but you can use any string length you want so long as it is easy and quick to type, easy to remember, is a string that won't appear in your comments accidentally, and is easy to spot in your inspector's comments list,

Once you've set up your search for your comments bookmarks string as a collection, you can simply click on that collection to review your bookmarks as they appear within your project. The found list the collection brings up in the binder area can be sorted by date, document name, or binder order (binder order appears to be the default sort). To sort the list, click on the little downward pointing carrot under the collection name. However, of course it would be ideal if you could sort your bookmarks by the date you created them not the date the document you attached your bookmarks to was created. Be even nicer if you could set due dates, create reminders, or timers, and assign priorities to your bookmarks and sort by any of these attributes.

Now, it is important to know that comments always reference a string of text within a document. If you create a comment without selecting a string or placing your cursor within the text of a document, the comment is assigned to the end of your document. If you want to leave a bookmark for a document itself (not a string within a document), you might want instead to use the Notes metadata instead of Comments. To do this, click on the document you would like to bookmark in total, open the inspector, and click on the inspector's Notes tab (the little two ring clipboard icon at the far right of the inspector's icon bar). At the top of the Notes inspector is the area reserved for "Synopsys". Underneath the Synopsys you will find "Notes". Click in the notes field and type your bookmarks string "===" (the same one you chose for Comments bookmarks). However, this method isn't perfect as Scrivener's collection search results don't show you where your special search string was found (text, notes, comments, keywords, etc.). To get around this, I have set up a second Collection that searches for the same string ("===") but only in notes. I have called this collection "=== Notes Bookmarks".

An alternative means of leaving bookmarks at the document granularity is to set up a new custom meta-data, as text, and to type your bookmark string ("===") into it (followed by a short note to yourself). This method allows you to see (and place) your bookmarks while in the outlines view mode.

Lots of options, all of them work (as workarounds), none of them ideal.
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Randall Lee Reetz
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Mon May 04, 2020 10:52 pm Post

However… there is a problem with the bookmarks method I have just shown. Because Scrivener does not allow the user to limit a binder search to "Comments" only (as it does for "Notes"), any collection designated to find all incidences of your designated bookmarks string (I've used "===") will bring up any document that has your bookmarks string in either the notes or the comments metadata.

It might be wise therefor to use a one search string for whole document notes bookmarks (say "\\\""and another string for in-document comments bookmarks ("===").

Yet another complication.
What matters is what matters, knowing what matters and how to know it matters the most.

Ji
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Tue May 05, 2020 12:31 am Post

Randall,

Thank you for taking the time to circle back and provide your findings.

Jim
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Randall Lee Reetz
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Tue May 05, 2020 2:05 am Post

What does it mean when there is no option to "Edit" one of my own posts or replies?
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Randall Lee Reetz
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Tue May 05, 2020 2:09 am Post

Here you can see that I have set up collection binder searches for both notes bookmarks (with the string "\\\" and comments bookmarks (with the string "==="). The notes bookmarks are for bookmarks addressing entire binder documents (text and folders), the comments bookmarks are for bookmarks addressing specific locations and strings within the text of documents. The first screenshot shows the search-where settings for the notes bookmarks collection where I have specified "Notes" as the target content for the search.
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JimRac
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Tue May 05, 2020 2:34 am Post

Randall Lee Reetz wrote:What does it mean when there is no option to "Edit" one of my own posts or replies?
You have a limited amount of time to go back and edit your posts, 5 - 10 minutes, something like that. After that, they're locked.
I’m just a customer.

Mi
Micha
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Tue May 05, 2020 9:24 am Post

Hi All,
and thanks for your posts.

Login, thanks for the pointer.

Katherine, lunk, I'm afraid that just because you don't see the need for tagging specific words or sentences, it doesn't mean it's not a genuine requirement by some.

Even if I split, I still need to highlight those specific words or sentences to see them immediately (unless, as I've said before, I have some files just a sentence or an expression long - really?!?! :shock: ).
It MIGHT be workable if I did that just once. But imagine a living/developing document (a lengthy book/thesis) where at some point I might edit heavily and now I need to review and redo what will be highlighted/split or not...and I have to go over some more splitting or merging and highlighting and...and gosh, that really is not what I should be spending my time on.

Yes, I have noted and do know about the binder's ability to collapse/expand, etc etc.
And that you may be able to 'hide' almost everything whenever you want.
But the management of all those itsy bitsy little files over the course of a book's lifetime is...just...have I said nightmare already?

As for other tools who seem to do exactly this ... you may be interested in granthika: https://granthika.co
I say 'seem' because I haven't yet looked at it properly, but perhaps their demos or descriptions of this feature may describe it much better than I have been able to.

Please note that when we ask/ed for this feature, we weren't all newbies.
Some of those who asked have used Scrivener extensively and considered different sticky plaster solutions.
I suspect that all of those who asked knew exactly what they wanted.

So please don't tell me that what I need is not a real need.
Or that your way of meeting my need is good enough for me.
I'll be the judge of that.

Yes, Scrivener may be beautiful - but like the love of my life (my partner), it's not perfect. At least, not for me.

I still love Scrivener. Whether in future I'll be using it for all my writing I don't know.
After I've finished my current work I'll explore it some more to see if I can't find a more convenient approach than the one I currently use (using comments with specific starter words/strings to indicate particular themes/threads...it's not a bad way of 'tagging' but the review of retrieved files in a collection is not very convenient).

I'm sorry if this post sounds rather terse. Please don't take it personally.
But it's clear I'm not describing what I need well enough, it's clear nothing can or will be done about this, and so it seems pointless to go on and on about it.

I'm still very grateful to you all - team and forum users - for all support and for sharing your knowledge and experience.
But I don't think I have anything more useful to say...so I'll get back to using Scrivener instead of writing about it :)

Take care all,
Michelle.

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EndlessLoop
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Fri May 08, 2020 1:11 am Post

Micha wrote:Katherine, lunk, I'm afraid that just because you don't see the need for tagging specific words or sentences, it doesn't mean it's not a genuine requirement by some.


It doesn't go all the way that the original requester has suggested (like being sortable, for instance), but one thing I'd like to see is for the comments in the inspector to behave like this:
COMMENTS.png
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That way, when you have one document or multiple documents selected, you could see at a glance what text (or at least the first few words) the comment pertained to, and be able to find out what document it was in without clicking on it.

Any possibilities for this?

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Randall Lee Reetz
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Sat May 09, 2020 8:32 pm Post

Thanks to all who have braved the strange Scrivener bulldog league to argue for obvious and rational improvements to Scrivener.

Randall Lee Reetz
What matters is what matters, knowing what matters and how to know it matters the most.