Notes from the past…

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Last week’s research activities

Again, not much research this week. Too much blogging! Did get to look at my Carroll ancestors from the San Saba area, found out that my first cousin three-times-removed, Monroe S Carroll, was president of Baylor University in Waco during the 1960′s. Found a lot of stuff on him, now gotta put it in my database. Looks like several of the Carrolls were involved in higher education in Texas during the early 20th century. More later on Mr. Monroe…


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Hand in Hand: TiddlyWiki in the cloud

According to Wikipedia, “a wiki is a website that allows for the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include community websites, corporate intranets, knowledge management systems, and note services. The software can also be used for personal notetaking.”

TiddlyWiki is a wiki with a twist: it uses the tiddler, a name given to a unit of microcontent. Tiddlers are special in that they are created from multiple words (usually two) run together, then become links to that particular interest. The word TiddlyWiki is a tiddler, as is MainMenu and UserGuide. Not only does TiddlyWiki have the coolest name, but it is also supremely useful as a notetaking platform.

TiddlyWiki is open-source software that is normally downloaded to one’s hard drive and then opened and edited in a web browser. The resulting file is stored locally.

I have used TiddlyWiki for some time now for my research notes and am generally pretty pleased with it, with one exception: I would like to be able to store my notes in the “cloud”, both for security and for convenience. TiddlySpot exists for that purpose and allows you to download your TiddlyWiki, edit it, and then upload it back to Tiddlyspot.

Recently another way of implementing TiddlyWiki online has appeared. With TiddlySpace, there is no need for my notes to travel back-and-forth between my living room and the Cumulus:

  • Organise your stuff with links and tags- Link and tag your tiddlers to help you organise them. Tiddlers live on the web and each one has a cool URI making sharing easy.
  • Tailor your space with apps- TiddlySpace comes with a set of apps for creating and managing your tiddlers. You can create or reuse new apps for new experiences.
  • Collaborate and Share with Others- With a simple model for sharing, distributing and adapting your content TiddlySpace makes it easy to collaborate with others.
  • An evolution of TiddlyWiki- TiddlySpace builds on the tried and tested tiddler model introduced by TiddlyWiki by moving tiddlers to the web.
  • Simple API for Developers- Developers can customise, integrate and extend TiddlySpace by using its extensive and well-designed set of APIs.
  • Free and Open Source- The source code of TiddlySpace is available under an open source license so anyone can use it and improve it.

TiddlySpace is somewhat Beta, very much a work in progress. Still, it has a lot of potential as a method of maintaining one’s research notes and could thus become an essential part of the genealogical research toolbox.

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#31WBGB: Develop an Editorial Calendar

31 Weeks ButtonIt is Week 12 for Tonia’s 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog Challenge and this week’s assignment is to create a blog-posting schedule or editorial calendar. A great idea, as the more structure for me, the better!

Benefits of an Editorial Calendar

Putting all your ideas into a schedule may seem too structured or a waste of time, but it really will help you build a better blog.

  • Never again be stuck thinking, “What am I going to write about”
  • Free up your mind to do the actual writing
  • Help you organize your time (emphasis mine)
  • Give consistency to your blog (emphasis mine)
  • Allow you to identify trends and lulls in your content

My work schedule is hectic and unpredictable (I’m always on call), so I need all the help I can get with time management, as it concerns my research and blogging (among other things). And better time management should naturally lead to an improved consistency of my blog.

The most obvious (to me) type of format to use for my editorial calendar is Google Calendar.

I wouldn’t be able to find my butt with both hands (as my Mom used to say) without Google Calendar! I use it to keep up with bills, appts, pretty much anything I need to remember. I have been using it for years, am very comfortable with it, and most important, it works for me.

So I’ve created my editorial calendar, and it’s not set in concrete: a separate Google Calendar, just for blog posts, 4 per week, with email alerts 3 days in advance. (Note to self: if I don’t post exactly according to this schedule, the world WILL NOT END.)

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And what will I write about on these “post days”?

  • Monday- Last Week’s Research
  • Wednesday- What’s New in the world of genealogy
  • Friday- 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog assignments
  • Saturday/Sunday- Hand In Hand technology and my genealogical research

Again, this schedule is flexible, and if there is something I want to write about on “off days”, I can certainly do so.

Now, to set this new editorial calendar into action, I have scheduled this post for Friday, Sep 23 at 9AM.