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Scientific work with Craft
How Hook interconnects Craft and Skim to support your research with an efficient workflow.
Today we talk about a somewhat more specialized topic though part of everyday life for knowledge workers. We read articles or scientific papers on a specific topic and want to capture important information and link it to existing knowledge.
Usually, we do this by having the document on one side of the screen and your note-taking application on the other side. You mark relevant passages and make suitable notes and connections as you go through the document.
Many of you make these notes and annotations in the reference document (e.g., the PDF). However, from my point of view, this is not a good approach. You bury your notes and can't find them later easily by search. Additionally, it cannot be linked well to other notes. The possibilities for annotations are limited. While upgraded PDF reading applications (e.g. LiquidText) are available, I like to have all my thoughts in one central place.
Craft itself has no such feature built-in yet. Therefore, we need a bit of glue.
I manage the scientific papers relevant to me in Bookends. The tool helps me with storing, referencing, automatic metadata search and also has a well-functioning mobile app.
To view the PDFs, I resort to Skim. A small, stable, and fast open-source project that supports "deep linking." Deep linking means the possibility of directly addressing text passages in the PDF via URL. This is what we need to connect our notes and the source.
The last building block we need is "Hook." This small program creates links between different applications at the touch of a button. We can use it to connect Skim and Craft.
If we want to reference a particular passage in Skim, we select it with the mouse and press Shift+Cmd+Space to open the Hook dialog.
Now we can copy the selection and the corresponding link into Craft.
With Craft's multiple options, we can now enrich that with our thoughts and notes because it is now a real craft page.
After we have gone like this through our papers, we now have a neat list of citations, associated notes, and links to more information.
If we click on the reference under the respective quote, we end up directly in the PDF in the right place. Awesome, isn’t it?
If you want, you can watch the whole thing again in the video.
Let me know if you like this article and video. If there are any specific other topics around knowledge management that you are interested in, please leave a comment below.
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