Howto create structured research documents with 'Books' (revised)

In the past few months TNL has gone through significant changes. Although many of those are not visible on the surface straight away, they constitute great improvements of the site. Key changes have been made especially in regard to this forum topic about books and bibliographic references.

If you go to create content -- book page
you can create a new book page either on the top level of navigation or under some existing second layer such as 'Documentation' or 'Readers' or 'Waves and Code' which are at the time of writing the three top level links for books.

A book page is nothing else than a static page which is linked in a hierarchical structure to other static pages. You give it a title, select one of the categories and / or create a new one under the 'topic' vocabulary and then put your actual content in the body of the book page. Here take care to select the right Input format. For a beginning, filtered html will just do fine.

If it is your first page, the 'weight' pop-up menu can be kept at 0. Later this will take on a crucial function.

if you want to add an image or a 'related link' then just do so. You can also ignore those menu options. scroll to the bottom, the only menu option you should look at is 'publishing options'. Here you can decide if your book page should be published on the front page or not. If you are certain that you want to share your page with the wider public, then go ahead. Otherwise un-tick the 'published to front page' option. Then choose preview or submit and here you go, you have created a book page.

Once you have created your first page, you can scroll to the bottom of it and simply click on 'add child page'. You will get a menu which is exactly the same as the one you got via create content -- add book page. If you add now a second page, this page will automatically show up in a navigation menu below the first page.

However, if you have a more complex structure with nested hierarchies between pages, you will have to consider the weighting. by selecting a weight from -15 to +15 you select where the page shows up in the navigation. if you have a lot of pages which need organising this will probably take some trial and error. However, in principle this is easy and you cant break anything which cant be repaired equally quickly.

So far we have just used the built in book function. Part of the fun is that you can invite other people to edit your book pages for collaborative writing projects. If you make significant edits to a page, either your own page or the page of somebody else, select 'create new revision' at the bottom menu under 'publishing options'. This will later allow you two things: to move backward in time through revisions of the page, and to 'diff' revisions. Diff means that you can compare changes between the last two versions, which comes in handy if you do some collaborative text editing.

If you are used to complex text editing programs such as MS Word or Open Office, you will probably enjoy the Footnote and Biblio functions. In your text in a book page, you can us the fn tag <fn>and what you write in between the tags will appear as an automatically numbered footnote, but don't forget the end tag </fn>

Almost analogue to that works the bib tag. If you want to refer from within your text to a bibliographic reference, use
<bib> and </bib> whereby in between the tags you have to put the citekey. You can only use bib if your reference exists in the biblio reference database of tnl. To do that, go to create content -- biblio and add a reference, which can be anything from book to article to journal, etc. Once you have entered your reference a citekey will automatically be generated (you could also enter one by hand). the automatically generated citekey is just a number. Put this number between bib tags and it will again create an automatically numbered endnote which will contain your reference.

Enjoy your footnotes and bibs, admin 26.06.2008

-------------------------starts old entry-----------------------------------

well, this is the question, innit? I am not sure to have the answer yet but I would like to develop it collaboratively with you.

I suggest to use the module 'books' in drupal to create structured research areas with agreed hierarchies between terms so that all of us can identify with those structures and feel comfortable in using them.

But when i started to think about an actual structure for 'books' i cam immedeately across taxonomical problems.

I would like to take it slowly and discuss those hierarchies with you.

For now I have added the term 'documentation' thinking it would be good to have some very high level terminology. continuing like this you could have


continuing with this logic the first entry "waves and code" is wrong as it would have to come under research. then also waves and code have to be separated as obviously this way of putting it together is a pet book
idea of me but not a generic structure for research .

this could be a possible structure


in this hierarchy my "waves and code" could be a 'project' or I could
file the actual text 45rpm under 'papers'. which other categories could
there be? a 'study' or 'research reports'?

but the basic question:

is it feasible or necessary at all to have so many hierarchies, or
is it okay to have just one layer of actual research projects? if we
have layers, then how many?

and the multi-hierarchy problem: 'notes' could relate to publications as
well as projects

should we add a category 'materials' which refers to images and
audiovisual means of documentation relating to a research project?




I would like to work collaboratively, taking it slowly with things like hierarchies is a good thing, that way we may get it right.
So, my first thoughts were that research should be in its own section as a lot of things we do with our phds or creative jobs is research. an outcome is a different thing. ars electronica was a project which is now finished (outcome)? your waves and code is still research? I’m not sure why you have a documentation section; for me documentation is something that supports a project/outcome/research, so that hierarchy does not make sense to me.

I think it is good to keep these book headings quite generic to stop confusion. So projects, manuals, research makes sense, there could be more discussion on other sections when that is appropriate eg fiction, prose. I would not however have a heading for notes, as notes are used for everything. That to me is something that is in our research journals or part of a specific book. This and other sub-section could be defined like … notes: written thoughts on concepts, mind-maps, diaries, research journals. Supporting documentation: audio, video, transcriptions, photography. Papers: 'presentation notes' that propose new thought or unpublished items that have been part of a conference. Publications: mini outcomes as part of a larger project. would publications be part of a download area, or if it was apublication in the making, would it not be part of research or something else eg. fiction?

however there are alot of issues here, like are these sections communal and would that get confused? what would make them any different to what we have now? What is interesting to me however, is the potential of this idea, and the collaboration angle in respect of communal research. in my opinion, research in its traditional stance is counter productive to community. I am already surrounded by 'traditional' research groups, the 'researchers' not really having any say or knowing what is going on in the larger scheme of their ‘group’.

a last thought, materials suggest to me things that i would use to make something, like plastic and wood...or even hardware such as recording equipment...but maybe i'm just not thinking laterally enough.


developing a taxonomy tree

I think this could get long but nevertheless try to reply.
by including documentations and manuals I am implying that there are other forms of 'books' on this site which dont relate directly to PhD research such as project doicumentations an dmanuals. - this clearly does not fall under research. people could post anything, such as poetry or sci-fi short stories.

regarding ars electronica I agree, that was a project opened and closed. my PhD benefits a little bit from it (of having done the whole old habermas again), but apart from that this documentation is also separatre from research. it is a project which happened and is closed now. by giving it a book page it can be permanently made available.

at the same time you are right of course, there might be 'documentations' whihc relate directly to research projects. it is really getting very ambiguous.

maybe this form of documentation we can call 'research materials'.
documentations - which relate to PhD relevant research. of course this
distinction between 'documentation' and 'research materials' is a bit
artificial. i am open for suggestions.

I agree also that we write notes mostly in our research journals, but as nicely
unsystematic we and the world are, we also write notes attached to
images, audio and bibliographic references.

I think the book pages are a way of collecting all that together and
crossreferencing it. for me the 'book' is the container where we work
towards the final written thesis. it is something that lasts, it does
not change, by which I mean it is not chronological, a book page once
put there stays there at the same place.

At the same time book can also be used for a tentative chapter design.

For indstance, if we look at one research subject in detail, then we would have

the science of electromagnetism
history of science of electromagnetism
histpory of social adoption
most common applications
art using em, historical
art using em, current
aerologists (artists using antennae)

this is now not really a well thought through structure but it shows the
potential: I can create such a backbone of astructure and fill it with notes and materials, until maybe it becomes a publishable text finally.

there are some areas or elements which you would need to
cover in quite a few PhDs with similar subjectsm, such as history of science, etc
where it would make sense to share chapters and also collectively write them.

however, these are areas which are also covered by wikipedia usually, so in a way this could create problems about charges of lack of originality or even plagiarism.

technically I think it is no problem to marj authorship also in shared spaces.
I think rather than keeping discussing we should start building taxonomy trees in books and fill them with research materials.

more books

i was not doubting the description of 'books' and i am aware that there are different forms of books, hence my mention of fiction, prose ect. what i was questioning was the naming of these books eg documentation, which i find odd. i think it is rather 'projects' with a documentation section (whether this project is finished or not does not matter) and research with a documentation section, fiction, prose, manuals ect. a matter of language really.

well lets plant a tree then



Sorry to be so insistent but this particular instance of documentation is neither reserach nnor anything else but stands alone. however, I think kit is not worth getting worked up over one item. we really should make a taxonomy for one particular subject. But we could do this here in the forum before wasting semiotic space in the books section.

in this forum you need to use the html tag <pre> and </pre> and everything in between will keep its formatting so that hierarchies are recognizable (you have to change the input format to 'full html' to make this work.

I suppose it is best to start with something concrete. For me the waves project is an ongoing research project, but it is very broad and i am admittedly a bit "swimming" at the moment (of clourse it is waves;-) I also have this other project wihc gave this website its name - so that the project has been renamed.

It is The Culture of Open Sources for which I have done many interviews which are mostly unpublished or in un digestible form. So how could we structure this?

Title: The Culture of Open Sources
        The origins of the free software movement
        The origin of the term hacker and the hacker ethic
        Decentralization and bottom up movements
        Gift Economies?
                   Forms of collaboration
                   weak link collaboration
         Free and Open Source Licences
         The Linux success story
Summary of the findings of my study
          Hacker Way of Learning
          The Way of the Hacker - motivations
          The politics of code 
          Innovation / The Future / Chances and Risks
Theoretic Context
           Free collaboration
           Marx' critique of alienation and the general intellect
           The informational labour discussion
           Precarity and the Creative Class
           The Hacker and autonomous Marxism or Workerism
           From Workerism to Hackerism
           Concepts of Freedom
Appendix: The Interviews
          Introductions and Transcripts

Interestingly, this tree already shows some problems. I think I need some introduction, otherwise it makes no sense going directly into the results of my study. But, if as a part of this introduction I go already into theoretic concepts of collaboration I take away too much from the theoretic part. Also, missing is any methodological reflection on the study, and its deficits and where I need to dig more.