Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Scratch Pads

In the past I've blogged about the need for a scratch pad to assist in genealogical research. It is near impossible to do family history without some type of scratch pad to write down clues, organize your thoughts, do date math, build a timeline, draw a hypothetical pedigree, some potential sources I've found, etc. It would be great if these scratch pads could be persisted in the context of my current research.

Recently a colleague pointed me to an implementation of a scratch pad that is a good example of what could be implemented in a family history application. The scratch pad is implemented off to the right side of the search interface for MSN's Live Search. You can hide or show the scratch pad, drag search results onto the scratch pad and create groups of search results on a scratch pad. The next time you come back you can easily see the items you put on the scratch pad. Clicking on one of the items loads it in the main frame of the window.

There are many features you would want to add to make this useable for genealogy. For starters, the ability to add notes to the items on the scratch pad and to associate scratch pad items with people in your pedigree.

Take a look for yourself: http://search.msn.com/images/results.aspx#imagesize=all&q=pac-man

3 comments:

Ben Crowder said...

I haven't looked at it closely yet, but Google Notebook might do the same sort of thing (I think).

Dan Lawyer said...

Google notebook is similar in that it allows you to capture content that you see on the web, annotate it, and group it. I prefer it to the MSN Scratch Pad because it becomes part of your browser rather than just a feature of a particular search interface.

ClipMarks.com also has an interesting solution for organizing what your find on the web.

Blake Christensen said...

A scratch pad in a genealogy program makes sense for when you are searching around for facts during the analysis phase. That is if the program is fact oriented as opposed to conclusion oriented. It is the beginnings to the solution to a problem I have been pondering for a while.