Preserving Context in Digital Writing: Creating Bi-Directional Linkages to Enhance Productivity


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 11, 2023

4 min read


Preserving Context in Digital Writing: Creating Bi-Directional Linkages to Enhance Productivity

In the world of digital writing, the ability to preserve context is crucial for effective communication and productivity. It involves creating bi-directional linkages between various products such as original source material, stand-alone notes, and documents intended for sharing with others. By utilizing digital tools and information sources, we can achieve this goal and create valuable sources that transcend individual projects.

One concept that has proven to be useful in understanding and describing this workflow is that of context. When we highlight and make notes, they exist within the context of the original sources. This means that at a later point in time, we can use the associated link with a smart note to return to the original document and locate the specific information we need. The idea behind a smart note is that it should be understandable on its own, allowing for easy reference and retrieval.

As we progress through the writing process, the reliance on the context of the previous source diminishes, and our own interpretation and speculation take center stage. However, the accumulation of annotated PDFs and other products over time necessitates a secure storage solution. For many, iCloud provides the necessary measure of security, ensuring that our generated products are preserved and accessible when needed.

When it comes to highlighting and annotation, context plays a vital role. These processes connect personal additions to specific locations within the source text, enhancing our understanding and facilitating future reference. Tools like Zotero and Highlights offer options for creating files in various formats, and one popular choice is markdown. Markdown text files have the advantage of not aging out of usefulness, making them a valuable asset for long-term productivity.

Both Zotero and Highlights embed information about the location of highlights and notes within the original document. This means that when exporting notes to platforms like Obsidian, a link is included, allowing users to access the original text in which the highlight or note was embedded. This seamless integration between highlighting and annotation tools and note-taking platforms enhances the overall workflow and ensures that context is preserved throughout the writing process.

Now, let's shift gears and explore the concept of the personality of a product. When building social products, it is crucial for customers to perceive the app as fun. Fun is a basic feeling that a product must evoke to ensure its success. Interestingly, the personality of a product often depends on the leader of the product team. The leader's vision, values, and approach shape the overall personality of the product.

Defining the personality of a product is subjective and can vary among team members. It is important to gather input from teammates to understand their perceptions and insights. By asking them to describe the personality of the product in a few words, you can gain valuable perspectives that can help refine and enhance your product's overall identity.

In conclusion, preserving context in digital writing and understanding the personality of your product are both essential for productivity and success. To make the most of these concepts, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Invest in digital tools that allow for seamless integration and preservation of context. Whether it's using platforms like Obsidian, Zotero, or Highlights, find the tools that align with your workflow and make it easy to link, retrieve, and reference information.
  • 2. Foster a collaborative environment where team members can openly discuss and contribute to defining the personality of the product. By understanding different perspectives, you can create a well-rounded and appealing product that resonates with your target audience.
  • 3. Regularly revisit and update your notes and highlights to ensure they remain relevant and useful over time. As your understanding and interpretation evolve, it's important to keep your digital writing organized and up to date.

By incorporating these tips into your digital writing and product development processes, you can enhance productivity, collaboration, and overall success. Preserve context, define the personality of your product, and watch as your work becomes more impactful and meaningful.

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