* To Do Lists / Work Management: What External Apps may people use?

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To Do Lists / Work Management: What External Apps may people use?

Post by davidf » 24 Apr 2019 12:44

There has been a three page (so far) thread developing on the New Wish List Requests Forum headed A simple to-do list.

This has developed into a slightly wider discussion of means of managing our genealogical work.

Some of us are trying to develop actions from this under the general headings of:
  1. Updated Knowledgebase content for the major work-arounds
  2. A short summary of external todo list applications that users have found useful - possibly linked to user contributed notes about workflows for working with specific applications (is that within scope of fhug?)
  3. Suggestions for improvements to work-arounds that might be required
  4. Suggestions for enhancements to FH
This topic is addressing (2) above, under the following headings.
ColeValleyGirl wrote: I suspect the final result in the KnowledgeBase ought to focus on
  1. the advantages and disadvantage of using an external app; plus
  2. tips and tricks for integrating it with FH.
  3. A simple example plugin -- or more likely some code snippets -- for whatever integration is possible would be a good idea as well.

Absolutely we can't tackle "1001 todo applications" and even if we did, we'd miss somebody's favourite -- so examples are they way to go, but I'd definitely include some sort of Note-taking application like OneNote as well as at least one calendaring/to-do app. I'm not sure we'll get many user-contributed workflows but let's structure stuff in the Knowledgebase so that anyone who wants to contribute one can do so?

So if someone is making extensive use of a particular application to manage their genealogical tasks where the application has a particular function that marks it out as different to the run of the mill to do list, could they add details?

Under the above headings of particular interest is why an application is better or worse than using some of the work-arounds or features within FH.
In terms of integration, this probably arises from a personal work-flow rather than software integration
It may well be that there are areas where "if only a certain feature" was available in FH (or the application under consideration) the two applications could be made to work together better (possibly as Ancestral Sources works with FH).

If there is sufficient interest we can update the knowledge base to help others.

I will add a couple in the near future.
Running FH 6.2.7. Under Wine on Linux (Lubuntu 18.04 LTS)

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Re: To Do Lists / Work Management: What External Apps may people use?

Post by davidf » 24 Apr 2019 14:21

Use of Zim for genealogical Work Management
The advantages and disadvantage of using an external app
I have found myself using this application more and more to help manage various genealogical projects that I find myself jumping between. The loose "wiki" structure helps enable this and the ability to embed "to do tasks" into my notes as they arise is to me particularly useful. This is not the sort of functionality that I would expect to see incorporated into FH.
A screen shot of some work I am doing into an episode in my late mother's life possibly gives a hint as to how it helps.
Zim1.jpg (235.63 KiB) Viewed 1761 times
Features of particular interest to genealogists
  • The hierarchical index pane on the left - allowing a separate page for each "project"
  • Under the index pane there is a tags pane which I do not yet use but it allows tagging like in a blog
  • The main pane which allows extensive structured note taking - the editor is as comprehensive as this forum's with links, images, bold, italic etc, but also with a heirarchy of headings which facilitates
  • A table of contents for the page (top right) - which toggles on and off. This helps jump to relevant sections of the page.
  • The main edit pages will also hold tables - unfortunately the paste function does not for instance allow you to paste tabular information (e.g. FreeBMD or FindMyPast) directly into a table.
  • A sort line feature - highlight a block of lines and select sort! So you can alphabeticalise lists or sort them by date (provided of course the date is at the begining of the line in yyyy-mm-dd format!)
  • Within the main page the ability to add a todo list item in the context of the note - you just type square brackets followed by the item. It then formats into a check box which allows the user to mark when an item is done.
  • In the icon bar at the top there is an icon which brings up a task list (shown in the image above) in a separate window which lists all outstanding tasks in the wiki. Clicking on a task in the task list takes you to it in the relevant page.
  • Also on the top icon bar is a calendar icon - which creates a journal page per day
  • In the right hand margin there is a label backlinks which will open another pane (like the index pane) listing all those pages which link into the pages
Tips and tricks for integrating it with FH.
The screen shot above is of a fairly well controlled element of a project. Elsewhere it is much less structured. I might list a whole lot of people who for instance might be a parent of an individual and then as I work through the list add notes indicating evidence for or against before transferring my conclusions to FH.
The workflow tends to be to have a browser doing my search for sources, Zim holding my research plan and recording what I am doing and how I get to my conclusions (and what is outstanding), and FH open to record my conclusions and provide already known information. I take my laptop to archives so interfacing to other devices is not important to me. Given the "standard" format of the underlying files, I suspect others will be able to find applications for tablets and smartphones which could read those files.
Integration is unfortunately minimal - Mainly cut and paste. The actual Zim files are text files - one per page in what I think is a version of Markdown format and these can be exported "At the moment exporting to HTML and LaTeX is supported, as well as the Markdown and RST text formats."
A simple example plugin -- or more likely some code snippets -- for whatever integration is possible would be a good idea as well.
The plugin that I would most like - which I have mentioned elsewhere is the ability in FH to right click on a record and select "create to clipboard a hyperlink to this record", which I could then paste into Zim (or other applications). The Thunderlink addin for the email client Thunderbird does something very similar - with the right click offering a short set of format options.

Zim was originally a Linux program but is also available for Windows. Like many programs of Linux origin it is freeware. I have not had problems with stability. It seems to autosave to the underlying files, but Ctrl-S forces a save if required. Given the simplicity of the files I would not anticipate data corruption problems.
Running FH 6.2.7. Under Wine on Linux (Lubuntu 18.04 LTS)

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Re: To Do Lists / Work Management: What External Apps may people use?

Post by E Wilcock » 26 Apr 2019 17:47

I use Evernote for anything I need to remember to do. House, garden, clothes etc. Evernote free is now limited for use on only two devices.
In the days when Evernote was free for many devices, there was a detailed blog or lecture from USA on how it could be used for genealogy. I switched to One note and then back again - the actual program doesnt matter that much. So long as it is cloud based and on my phone.

For documents in archives I use Zotero. Zotero is a free bibliography program. Bibliography software used to be massively expensive for anyone who did not have university membership and Zotero is the first class solution.

I keep a separate folder in Zotero called Archive list in which I list documents. There are fields for the Archive and the file number. Users sometimes complain that Zotero is not well designed to list archive files. But it works for me.

If I need to read a file I add a note "To read" followed by my own abbreviation for the archive. Zotero has an ultra efficient search across all fields, so I type in "To read Kew" and that produces a list of all the files and file numbers I plan to read at the National Archive and then, if one has a reader's ticket, one can order them up in advance.

Similarly in my Zotero Bibliography folder, I list books or publications with the name of the Library and the shelf number and I can use a text search to call up anything I have marked to read in the British Library or elsewhere.
Zotero is designed for citing references. So it is easy to copy and paste sources into fh.

Zotero can be used to make full notes on books and it will hold long text documents and pdf's. But I dont use it that way. Because notes can get buried. Whereas with Zim, one can see the hierarchy of notes.

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Re: To Do Lists / Work Management: What External Apps may people use?

Post by steveflanuk » 13 May 2019 20:57

I use a mixture of 2 web apps to help with my research and to-do lists.

My research/to-do list is in Trello (https://trello.com/home). Trello is based on Kanban boards. Each board can have a number of columns, with each column having any number of cards (basically virtual index cards) which can hold, not just notes, but also checklists, attachments, etc.

For example, I have a list for topics I have created on my local society forum, with a link to that topic. I have other lists including research notes (linked to Notejoy notes) and to-do items. Cards can be moved up and down columns, so I have things I'm currently working on at the top of each list, plus cards can be moved from list to list.

There is a user guide (https://trello.com/guide. These links talk about using Trello for genealogical research (http://familyhistorydaily.com/genealogy ... genealogy/, https://itsallrelativenz.wordpress.com/ ... genealogy/ and http://www.ancestrypaths.com/tips-and-t ... ng-trello/). The major plus point for me was that Trello has an android app which I can link to my genealogy board so I can refer to it when doing research at the local library and so forth. The app also lets me update these notes which I can then view at home on my laptop.

For any notes I need to take, I use Notejoy (https://notejoy.com), mainly because I can link it directly from a Trello card and it also has a free android app - like Trello, as well as some useful formatting options in the notes.

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