[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[O] Using org-mode for Research and Notetaking

From: Florian Beck
Subject: [O] Using org-mode for Research and Notetaking
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2011 21:55:23 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

[My main goal is to take research notes and write texts. I have little
interest in the todo/agenda part of org-mode, which I understand is its
main focus, so bear this in mind.]

Previously I have been using muse-mode for publishing and a home brew
system for organising my notes. Now I thought, I would give org-mode a
try. I had some 3500 short notes which I converted into a 8.5M org-file
with said 3500 heavily tagged entries. Also created a 500k org file from
my bibtex file. These two plus a couple of shorter files are my

Speed is quite ok, surprisingly. `org-columns' in the big file is a
no-go, of course (overlays!). The agenda commands work fine (I have few
entries with todo-keywords, but they are in every file.)

So far so good. Tables, integration of latex fragments: great stuff. I
like the outlining capabilities but used most of them via
`org-struct-mode' already. Especially impressed with babel. Wow!

A couple of questions and observations, first impressions really:

 1. Publishing (I have only tested pdf) works pretty well. Obviously, or
 so I would have thought, I don't want to see todo-keywords and TAGs in
 the output. How do I get rid of them?

 2. Tags are SLOW (no doubt due to my 8.5M file). Completion takes
 minutes. I fixed that by adding all my (hundreds of) tags to
 `org-tag-alist' and restricting capture to »%g«, checking only the
 current file. `org-id-find' is slow as well and so will be property
 completions, I guess. How about caching the data and update on saving
 an org-agenda file?

 3. By default, tags cannot contain spaces or commas. I rectified that
 with an ugly hack in `org-set-tags-to', which replaces spaces with
 ?\x2008 (punctuation space), and setting it to word syntax. Also, many
 long tags display ugly. How about showing only the first twenty
 characters and show the rest via help echo?

 4. muse-mode has this nice feature that it easily allows you to define
 your own <tags> like
 <i-am-learning-kanji-so-better-display-this-big>…</…> or
 <a-citation-the-way-i-like-it>…</…>; not only for export but also for
 fontification. Can I do something similar in org-mode?

 5. According to the manual »TODO items are an integral part of the
 notes file«. I like that, but I do not find it so. TODO items are
 headings which I find somewhat confusing: My files are either articles
 to be (with the appropriate headlines) or notes where headlines usually
 formulate the topic the note is about. Todo items, on the other hand,
 would be »clarify the paragraph«, »check what X says about Y«, »add
 more sources«, etc. As it is TODOs are not integrated but stand out,
 breaking the structure of the file. How about allowing TODO items in
 comments? This would seem much more natural to me: a TODO item should
 not be part of your text but disappear when it is done.

Florian Beck

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]