A new version of ConnectedText (the personal or desktop wiki that I use as my main notes database and qualitative data analysis tool) was released last week. The complete list of new features, improvements and other changes is here. I have been using the beta version for some months now but I still haven’t had time to try everything out yet. Nevertheless, here is a list of the new features that I find the most significant from my perspective as an academic researcher and writer.
- Floating windows – now it’s possible to see multiple topics (CT’s word for “document”) in freely positionable windows, while editing another topic. You can also preview the topic you are editing, if you wish.
- Named blocks – effectively a qualitative data analysis feature to mark up passages and gather them in another topic. It expands CT’s abilities as a CAQDAS alternative, although to run it on big projects one would need a powerful computer (but isn’t that the case with most CAQDAS?). I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of this new feature, but I’m excited about the possibilities.
- Table of Contents pane – acquired some outlining capabilities, as it now works as a two-pane outliner in conjunction with the edit window. One is able to edit headings in the TOC pane and use keyboard shortcuts to move them around, and their associated text will also move with them in the editor pane.
- Outliner pane – one is now able to drop files and folders onto the tree, and save outlines as templates to be used in the edit window. Ctrl+C and Crtl+V shortcuts are now working within the Outliner.
- Ability to disable inclusions (transclusions) for a project (a CT database), which enable faster navigation of complex projects with long daisy-chains of inclusions that require a lot of processing time.
- Navigator – ability to remove nodes (topics) from the Navigator view allows for purposeful analysis of the network relationships between linked topics (by eliminating unimportant links from the picture, to reduce ‘noise’). I also like the new “Back” button, which allows you to backtrack in the network tree if you had wandered too far down into a branch.
- Auto-numbering (legal numbering) of headings in the editor.
- Conversion of imported OPML outline headings into hierarchical bullet-point outline in the editor.
Here is Manfred Kuehn’s selection of his favourite new features in CT v. 6.