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Suggestions for Word Plugin - A more robust tool

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Suggestions for Word Plugin - A more robust tool

Postby ethno » 2015-06-23 20:38

Hi.

My wish is related to my post here (thread is locked now): https://support.citavi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=85&t=11125&sid=e79990058d63eb5f8d0ae14a1aefc71a. That thread spoke to my overall desire to see more control over the way that we manage our knowledge items from WITHIN Word (using the Citavi plugin). Right now, it is the case that if I insert a knowledge item as a quote or at least as a citation, I get a green "check" mark on the item. That, for now, is the ONLY way that I have to manipulate those items in any meaningful way within the plugin. This is despite the fact that the two most important steps (for me anyway) in working toward a publication (and using Citavi in that effort) is (1) reviewing the literature via obtaining, reading, and annotating PDFs of articles, etc., and (2) working with the "fruit" of that long labor within Word using the plugin.

In my case (and I'm not unusual, I would think, for a scholar), I may have many (possibly hundreds) of knowledge items related to a project. Regardless, my points/desire would hold true even if working with merely dozens of items in the plugin while in Word. With all of the items that I have--even working in a hierarchical manner through the plugin according to my Categories arrangement, I find myself (naturally) wanting to "keep track" of what I'm doing at any given time and, especially, to have a way to say "I've used that item" at the very least (my original thread). For now, I've been collapsing sections of the hierarchy when I'm done with them. However, as soon as I switch views (such as going back to Citavi for something or other such acts, not sure which exactly right now), I find that Citavi has expanded the hierarchy again. Thus, I have lost any information that having closed some sections of the hierarchy holds for me.

So, in that example, I would like the ability to "lock" a collapsed portion of the hierarchy. It may, in my usage, be a way to say "I"m done with that bit" or, perhaps, "I am not using that bit (now, or at all." This would be in addition to checking individual items as I go (which is more discrete for items within a section of the hiearchy).

Of course, I could see many more (if technically feasible) additions to the plugin that might make it similar to how we use the main Citavi application. I'm not saying that we need to duplicate things. For example, as I'm working in Word, I do at times recognize that I need/want to go back to a source and modify a knowledge item, a reference entry, and/or some other bit of information. That's fine and I see that (mostly) the plugin will update the information that I have changed. However, and here is the KEY point:

The relationship that I have with the knowledge items in the Word plugin is NOT the same as I have to those items in Citavi itself given the fact that while I've collected the information in Citavi (as well as processed it in a variety of ways that does, I know, signify analysis/interpretation), in WORD I am USING that information to make an coherent argument out of that information. Thus, for example, I'm having ideas about the particular way in which this information is coming together that is unique to that particular writing. So, having (again at the least) a way to mark certain items according to a (perhaps) set of drop down items that say (again) things like "I've used this item" or (most useful) "Connect this item with ..." and then a way to specify some other item (whether or not this was a dynamic link that updated if the hierarchy changes).

At any rate, do you get my points? Citavi is immensely helpful. Revolutionary in some respects. The application itself and it's integration with Word are a marvel. However, the plugin is still short in what I see as the fundamental mission of the developers, which is to not only to "manage references" (at which it is probably unparalleled) but also to "organize (your) knowledge." On the latter element, I think that we MUST consider the Word plugin an ESSENTIAL part of the effort because it is THROUGH that writing that one has the experience that helps develop awareness and understanding at the heart of knowledge. So, I would advocate very strongly for concentrating development on making the plugin an even more robust tool for continuing the mission of Citavi. As it stands now, it is a very, very helpful tool--but does come up short for the limitations of manipulating the items collected there in ways that I have suggested. IMHO, of course.

Thanks for ALL of your good work Team Citavi!

Brian
ethno
 

Re: Suggestions for Word Plugin - A more robust tool

Postby Jennifer Schultz » 2015-06-24 16:02

Hi Brian,

Many thanks for the detailed description of the feature you'd like to see. Have you considered using groups to organize items in the way you described? Groups were designed with exactly this type of non-hierarchical categorization in mind. Groups are not yet available as a view in the Word Add-In, but you could right-click a knowledge item you just inserted in the Word Add-In, select Edit in Citavi, and then add the group to the knowledge item.

I would imagine that it should be fairly trivial for us to add groups as a view in the Word Add-In and will submit this as a Wish List request. Our developers are quite busy at the moment, though, so it could still be a while before we're able to implement this feature.

Thanks again for the excellent suggestion!

Best regards,
Jennifer
Jennifer Schultz
Citavi Customer Service
 

Re: Suggestions for Word Plugin - A more robust tool

Postby ethno » 2015-06-24 17:33

Hi, Jennifer. Thank you for your quick reply. As you note, Groups are not (yet) available in the Word Add-In. It wouldn't help as much as I would like to organize items in Citavi ptself. In part because, again, the relationship that I have with the items in Word is not the same as what I have with them in Citavi. Altering their associations (via assigning items to groups, for example) in Citavi isn't specific to the Word document in which I'm working (which for me represents a particular publication). At any rate, I could see Groups helping, overall. They would certainly be a very useful addition--even if only part of what I'm looking for.

On my other concern: This wouldn't address the issue of the hierarchy expanding even though I've collapsed portions of it. That's another aspect of "control" that the user doesn't have, but arguably should--if possible.

I should also add that while I DO like that I can jump to a spot in the document by clicking on the associated (if any) knowledge item or citation in the Add-In, I find it troublesome that quite often I will be working through my hierarchy of items and making decisions (which, again, is where it'd be nice to be able to some how annotate/group/assign) about how/when I want to use different items next in my unfolding document and THEN I've clicked on something only to have the cursor jump to a new spot in the document (where I don't want to be). Conversely, I will be on an item in the Add-In and ready to work with it, but then go to my document and click where I want to work and have the focus LOST in the hierarchy as Citavi jumps to the associated item. Do you know what I mean? Basically, this hyper-linking (if that's the right term) is both blessing and curse in equal measure without any way (that I know of) to control it.

At any rate, keep up the good work!

Cheers,

Brian
ethno
 

Re: Suggestions for Word Plugin - A more robust tool

Postby Jennifer Schultz » 2015-06-25 09:22

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the additional comments and clarification! You're right that the groups wouldn't be document-specific, but you could name them in a way that would show they relate to one publication only. I mention this because adding a Groups view in the Word Add-In is, from a technical point of view, a fairly easy improvement we could make to the Word Add-In.

I've added your wish for saved category view settings and the ability to turn off the linking feature to our wish list in additional to a general item with your comments about wanting to mark and group knowledge items in the Word Add-In in a document-specific way. As already stated in my previous answer, our developers currently have a lot on their plates with the web version we're working on, so it could be a while yet before we're able to consider any of these improvements for development.

Thanks again for the very detailed description of what you're looking for. Hearing about our user's preferred methods of working is invaluable information for us and helps immensely in planning future versions!

Best regards,
Jennifer
Jennifer Schultz
Citavi Customer Service
 


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