Discussing: What is the Research Cabinet?
What is the Research Cabinet?
04 Jul 10 10:39 AM
In honor of HASA's 8th birthday, a new feature, the Research Cabinet, has been launched.
The Research Cabinet is a place where any member can collect links to things on HASA and other sites in one place, organize them into notebooks and add your own notes.
As of the launch, this is what you can click and add to your cabinet:
- Character Bios
- Timeline Events
- Saved text searches
- Links to any outside site or any specific page in HASA
Inside your Cabinet, you can create Notebooks and Research Notes. A Notebook is just a set of links you've grouped together. A Research Note looks a lot like a story chapter, with a title and a big space for text. The stuff you've added to your cabinet then gets added to notebooks and research notes.
The fun part about the Research Cabinet is you don't have to create your notebooks and research notes right away. You can add items to your Cabinet first, then worry about organizing them later. In fact, if you just want to put things into the Cabinet and not bother with notebooks and notes, that's OK too!
For example, I have two very different research interests - Denethor and Shire Hobbits. While I was writing Hands of the King, I kept going to Resources and looking up stuff like descriptions of places, birth and death dates, information on things such as the palantiri, and timeline events. It was a pain to have to remember which entries had which information. I'd either have to search for the pages or else add bookmarks to my browser - which meant I didn't have the same set of bookmarks on all computers.
The Research Cabinet fixes this.
Now all I have to do is go once through the Research Library entries, and click Add this [Bio/Event/Place/Thing] to research cabinet", and I quickly create a set of all the links I need. To see this button, log in to HASA, go to a Research Library entry page, such as Imrahil's Bio or the Place entry for Rivendell, and locate the "Research Cabinet" menu bar in the right-hand column. I can now add Imrahil's bio directly to the Research Cabinet by clicking the first button. If I want to organize on the fly, I can use the other buttons. Because I have notebooks, I can add directly to a Notebook, or even to a Research Note page. One click, the page refreshes, and Imrahil will be linked. I can even add a Notebook or a Research Page right there.
I have two Notebooks - Gondor Research and Shire Stories. This matches my two areas of writing, about Denethor and about Hobbits. I've also created some Research Notes - Bilbo, Frodo and Denethor - that correspond to some of the main characters I'm working with. I've added dozens of items to the notebooks and linked key item directly to my Research Notes. When I have a thought about a character, I just log in to HASA, go to my Cabinet, click on the Research Note "Edit" button, and type it in. Since it's just a note for me, it doesn't have to make sense for anyone else.
When I'm writing, I just open up my browser to view the Notebook holding all the notes and links for what I'm working on. Need to check that details about Bilbo? Click the Bio link to Bilbo. Want to run the saved search on "denethor AND boromir AND faramir"? Click the saved search link. Need to look at the document I posted for the beta readers to review? Click the URL link to my Skydrive folder where I uploaded my Word file.
You don't have to be writing anything, of course. Maybe you just like reading everything about a specific character, or you'd like to keep a set of links always together and handy. Use the Cabinet to gather it all together.
Please take a look at the Research Cabinet, add some items, see what you think and post any questions you have here in the Research Cabinet forum.
Re: What is the Research Cabinet?
15 Jul 10 7:16 AM
Reply To: 53602
I haven't been to the site very often of late, so I missed this excellent resource when it was first out -- but it showed up this morning on the front page as I was logging in, so I checked it out. What an amazing addition to my author toolbox this is! I am really happy with this feature, since I do a lot of research, and spend so much time clicking here and there, in and out of HASA. To have it all in one "notebook" is such a blessing.
Thank you so much for thinking of this and then implementing it!
Re: What is the Research Cabinet?
15 Jul 10 5:02 PM
Reply To: 53609
Isn't it fun?
The Cabinet idea originated with Elena Tiriel years ago when she said she'd love for a way to bookmark the Research Library entries like story favorites. It took a back seat to other projects and site needs, then it finally got some attention.
We've started small, but (if there is interest) plan to make it possible to add other HASA items to it and maybe even share them.
I love mine. I have a link to my Skydrive with chapters of my stories in the Office docs and other stuff just stored in folders, plus I have my research notes, multiple notebooks, so many links to RL entries it's not funny, and a few saved searches.
Glad you're finding it useful!