It’s all about hyperlinks!

If I was forced to choose the single most important element of my workflow then my answer would be the creation and usage of hyperlinks. We are all accustomed of using hyperlinks in the World Wide Web but I have observed that the usage of them in the personal mode of working is quite rare.

A classic but somewhat outdated form of link is the bibliography reference that is commonly used in academic texts. Its main disadvantage is that you need a lot of time and energy to actually find and use the referred passage. Nowadays a different situation is possible by using hyperlinks.  

I chose to use MediaWiki, DevonThink and Latex because they make the cross-linkage of my notes, my sources and my writings very easy and fast.

Specifically lets say you have A and B wiki pages. If you want to create a hyperlink from A to B you just have to write [[B]] in the wiki text. The whole process is very well documented in the MediaWiki help page about links.

The respective linking process with DevonThink is not well known and I think it is quite important. I even believe this capability of DevonThink to be a reason for academic researchers to switch to Mac computers!

The DevonThink program assigns a custom Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for every file that is imported or indexed to it. An example of this URL is the following:

“x-devonthink-item://6632BE51-AEDF-42F9-9CFD-BFED462EBC33″

Moreover, in the case of a pdf file, a different URL is assigned to every single page of it. This URL takes the form:

“x-devonthink-item://BB2D2CDA-0BCA-4F72-8C8E-64B49CA12839?page=0″

As a result when you want to refer to the twenty fifth page of a pdf document you just have to use the URL:

“x-devonthink-item://BB2D2CDA-0BCA-4F72-8C8E-64B49CA12839?page=24″

Notice that the page number in the URL is 24 and not 25 as the index base that is used by DevonThink is zero and not one.

You can send this URL to the clipboard by clicking “Copy Page Link” in the contextual menu.

Then you can use this link in order to create a hyperlink to the exact pdf page! As a result all your bibliography references can be transformed to live links to the respective pages. No more you have to hunt down the source of a quotation!

There is only one but…

Not every word processor accepts the DevonThink links, the most prominent of them… Word.  This is an additional reason that I do not use Word…

Some programs that are fully compatible with the DevonThink links are the following:

In the above programs after you paste a DevonThink link you do not see the raw URL but the name of the linked file!

Then you can edit the link as you like…

Be careful only not to start the editing from the first or the last character of the file name.
You can even edit the DevonThink link if you want to refer to a different page of the same pdf file.

But the best thing is that you can use DevonThink link inside MediaWiki pages and Latex. If you want to learn how read my next post…

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