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Research with Biblioscape

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Just after writing the article on note-taking, I found a software application that can help one take, organize and process notes with a computer. I have discussed some information managers in this website but not one of these come close to Biblioscape which started out as an organizer for bibliographical references. Biblioscape version 8 has a text editor, a very simple graphics editor (for creating charts) and in the Professional and Librarian editions can also function as a draft outliner with word processing functionalities.

Biblioscape: What is it?

 Biblioscape-scr

Biblioscape is a research information manager. It is designed

  • for researchers working in different fields
  • to take in notes of different kinds
  • to facilitate gathering data through the web or from traditional sources (e.g. the library)
  • to help organize those notes through categories, links
  • to help the researcher retrieve those notes
  • to process the data like a word processor (given the type of license one has purchased)

Features I Like about Biblioscape

  1. It is easy to use. It just took me a few minutes to figure out how to use it and afterwards produced a 1,000 word article with it.
  2. Associating notes to categories and linking one note to another.
  3. The Rich Text Format (RTF) note editor.
  4. The possibility of browsing the web using Biblioscape’s native browser and capturing data from a webpage for automatic inclusion in one’s notes.
  5. The possibility of creating different kinds of notes: whether text notes and reference notes which one can then associate with one another.
  6. In the professional edition, to collect notes into an outline and export it or print it out.
  7. The interface icons that makes the classification of notes easy.
  8. The ability to take in graphics that are pasted onto a note.
  9. Outline creation and one-click draft generation
  10. Quick search and retrieval of data.

How I’ve Managed Three Articles with Biblioscape

To date, I have already created two articles from Biblioscape which I installed in my computer about five days ago. It is not the first notes manager I’ve come across. What makes Biblioscape different from other index-card-like note managers is its ability to integrate in one user interface all its features. Biblioscape is not difficult to learn. If one has worked with index cards and notebooks while doing research, the software makes research doubly easy: first, it compresses the work area into a small space. Second, it makes the retrieval of data very quick. I don’t have to explain how Biblioscape makes the workspace small. After all one needs only a laptop that covers a few square inch of space to use the software. The retrieval system of Biblioscape is a combination of both traditional and contemporary methods. The contemporary method is through the use of a search engine. Biblioscape has a very fast search engine that makes a list of data depending on a keyword. The traditional means is something that the software allows through “Collections” and “Categories”.

Biblioscape_fig1-2

One begins note-taking through a “Collection” within a “Container”. A “Container” is like a mega–folder that can contain another “Container”, “Notes”, “Task Lists”, and “References” and others. A “Notes Collection” is like a smaller folder that would contain the notes for a particular topic or subject. This is your basic index cards collection. In Biblioscape, it can contain a variety of content: a quotation, a paraphrase, a summary, a claim, an evidence for a claim, etc. A “Task Collection” would be the researcher’s notes for following-up certain ideas. The “Reference Collection” would be for the books, magazines or documents that one makes use of in one’s paper.

Biblioscape-notecat

When one creates a note, one begins from a particular collection. Biblioscape automatically creates a link between Collection and individual note. Once the note is saved, it will appear each time the Collection from which it was created is clicked.

Biblioscape also allows the association of this note to a “Category” that one creates. Categories (or Taxonomy) can be colorcoded so that one can easily see a note with more than one category associations. Thus a card I created about “Food Restrictions” in Acts 15 can be linked to a category I created under “Apologetics” and another one under “NT (New Testament)”. This would make manual retrieval easier later on.

Biblioscape and Word Processing

Biblioscape-draft

Unfortunately, the word processing functionality is available only for the Librarian and Professional edition. After one has gathered enough notes and is now ready to put together a paper, one need only to go to “Compositon”, pick up the notes from the “Categories” to which to the notes are associated, create an outline and click “Generate Draft.” From there, one can continue to edit one’s work on the interface of Biblioscape or export the draft into an RTF file for editing in another more powerful Word Processor like MS Office Word or Open Office.

Personal Evaluation and Rating

Biblioscape is one real research information manager. It is designed to work with a lot of data and intended to be used for serious work. Still however, it has room for a lot of improvements.

  1. Although one can create charts through it, one cannot create graphic files with it. It would be a great help Biblioscape has a graphic editor — even if it were as simple as WinPaint — so that one can associate notes with sketches or drawings.
  2. Word processing is only possible through the Librarian and Professional editions which are quite expensive.
  3. Customization is very limited. One cannot add more colors nor icons to the Categories, nor can one add to the Note-types.
  4. It is still buggy at some points. Sometimes, an item under one category appears in another as if it were linked to it. When one tries to remove the link, Biblioscape gives an error message saying in effect that one can remove links only in linked items.

Given these limitations, I would give Biblioscape a rating of 7 out of a possible 10.

Check out Biblioscape at its website.

Originally posted 2009-05-16 00:20:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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