The paper that I’m currently working on is giving me a moment of “gee I wish Goby was built-out enough to use for this”, so I’m going to record the use-case so I can keep it in mind when I’m in the weeds of working on the interface later on:

I have just gotten finished reading a collection of texts by different authors. The exercise has left me feeling ready to generate a list of “themes” which serve several purposes:

  • they allow me to find patterns between the texts: different ways in which the same idea or problem is being articulated, and which I could use my paper to compare
  • they allow me to group passages and quotes that I can draw upon while writing, some of which belong to multiple themes. This gives me an impetus to revisit each text as well.
  • they can be related with one another, so I have a more holistic view of my topic and how different lines of argument support one another
  • they can be related back to the authors, so I can get a sense of how their worldviews stand in relation to one another

This is a mapping task too complex to be done, at least in a conveniently and orderly fashion, using a simple tagging or mind-mapping tool.

Ironically the subject of the paper is in part the idea that you can’t perfectly crystallize ideas in representative logical relations, as I seem to be advocating here. But I have never seen Goby as a project of accurately representing reality; rather, the act of ordering ideas and assets in this way is a pathway, a “disposable ladder” if you will, to greater and clearer understanding.

Nico Chilla