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Keeping reference material learned during projects Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I think there are definatly enough good "archival" and "note taking" systems for OSX. (I'm quite fond of DevonThink for archiving). I would rather not bog down my task program (OF, always open) with my archival program, which has a LOT of data and is only open a few times a day.

The key will be interoperability between programs. Fortunately DevonThink and other make extensive use of the services menu, the applescript menu, and PDF services from the print dialouge. If Omni hooks up flexible printing options, it should be a no brainer to sent your data and nots to a more permanent app when you are done.

No reference archives in OmniFocus please! My data is chunky enough!
Originally Posted by milkshake
It could mean the difference between having all your stuff in one place, or divided over several apps.
This thread has caused me to notice a quite significant difference between the way kGTD and Omni Focus determine whether actions are 'available' and thus can be made into Next Actions.

kGTD seems happy to 'skip over' actions which don't have any context assigned. Thus, if the top action in the list is one without a context, kGTD goes ahead and sets the next action in the list as the Next Action. (I've uploaded a snapshot showing how kGTD handles this.)

By contrast, OmniFocus does _not_ seem willing to make an action the 'Next Action' if there is an action above it in the list, even if that action has no context. (Again, I've uploaded an attachment showing how OF handles the same situation.)

This is a big deal for me, because after trying to use kGTD as just an 'action manager' and keep project support materials in another app, I found that it works much better for me to be able to put support and background materials right into kGTD among the actions. I'd really hate to have to try to go back to separating actions from 'reference materials'.

I know people's brains work differently, but the comments on this thread show that some number of users seem to want to to have the option to be able to keep 'non-action items' in OF as I do.

I've sent a message to the support ninjas asking whether toggling this behavior (whether to allow OF to 'skip over' actions without contexts and make the next action with a context be the 'Next Action') could perhaps be set as a preference in OF.

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I use a Wiki, and plonk URLs into notes. In iGTD, there is a dedicated URL field for this purpose. Wiki means I can do everything else I need there.
Originally Posted by Grail
I use a Wiki, and plonk URLs into notes. In iGTD, there is a dedicated URL field for this purpose. Wiki means I can do everything else I need there.
Interesting... is the Wiki public? Can you post a link?
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean
Interesting... is the Wiki public?
No, it's just an installation of TWiki on my home network, which I happen to have access to from anywhere on the Internet. It contains stuff I don't want other people to see - the Wiki is also my "corporate memory" for want of a better word.

This option won't work for people who don't have constant Internet access (the iPhone on the subway example).

I also use Trac for tasks that are entirely oriented around changes to source code (and any task that contains source code + other work is actually two tasks, break it down). Once a task is recorded in Trac (or any other external task tracking system), the item disappears from the GTD system (it might be referred to by items such as "Document third-party database structure for Trac #356"). Trac includes a wiki system for storing reference material specific to the code base being tracked in Trac.

All I track in iGTD are project names and actions to be taken on those projects - I got lured into storing notes in iGTD a while back and have since regretted it due to the fact that five or six tasks will contain notes of relevance to one client or project, and I end up wasting time searching iGTD for those notes. GTD is a process management paradigm, not a contact management system or a project management methhodology. You wouldn't use a hammer to pull a cork out of a bottle of wine, neither should you use a task tracking system to keep hold of reference material related to a client or project.

TheDave himself says to store all reference material outside your work folders. Check page 36 of the paperback version - the "Workflow Diagram - Organizing" and accompanying text specifically state that if "stuff" you add to your system is non-actionable material that may be of use to you later, move it to your reference filling system.

So if someone from OmniGroup is here, please I beg you, don't make it easy for people to attach scads of material to tasks scattered throughout the OmniFocus database. Instead make it really easy to link to multiple external items (just like iGTD does) - this will link to the user's own reference filing system.
Originally Posted by Grail
Instead make it really easy to link to multiple external items (just like iGTD does) - this will link to the user's own reference filing system.
I'm definitely in this camp. I already have apps for reference data. A link to it is what I want.
The problem with this, of course, is that tasks would have to link to individual entries in the user's system to be useful. For all systems, for all users. We clearly cannot expect this unless we got OmniThink ;-)

But if the alternative is being able to reference just single files (as you can to using URLs) and not pages of content, I'd rather have reference material in OF itself.

Having no way of tying such material in -- and in such a way that it's different from tasks (a "note+" task with an RTF note field does not cut it) -- would be problematic.

In my current model I link from the project extended notes (kGTD) to a folder with the same name under a projects folder (I should really write an applescript to do this!)

It is in this folder that I keep project support materials like my mindmap(s), massive PPTs, aliases to stuff in my electronic reference system and URLs supporting the project.

I also keep notes on the project defining principles and defining outlandish success, and some key dates if needed.

So I'm hoping that I can put an alias in notes for a project!
what happens when you move you OmniFocus data from your home computer to your work computer?

Do half of the links break?
Originally Posted by SpiralOcean
what happens when you move you OmniFocus data from your home computer to your work computer?

Do half of the links break?
Indeed - this is a big potential problem. This is one of my pet peeves with DevonThink.

Though I have yet to get my hands on OF, I would strongly vote for keeping reference materials out of the GTD workflow manager. After all in a manual system, as I understand it, TheDave (tm) has separate reference files from his lists (although obviously his lists might contain pointers to files).

You know, it would be a neat app (maybe someone already has this) to be able to generate "hash codes" for individual files or folders and then to tag them with these "hash codes" (which obviously would need to be long enough so as to have some high probability of being unique) so that a machine independent search for a specific hash code tag would always generate the same file.

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