Research Journal

Following the reading of this video on Youtube:
“Create a research journal with a spreadsheet”
[Créer un journal de recherches avec un tableur - YouTube]
and this blog post
“How and why to create a list of missing records in your genealogy”
[Comment et pourquoi créer une liste des actes manquants dans votre généalogie]

I am looking for tools (Gramplets, Quickview, filters, …) to create “To Do” lists concerning, for example, the completeness of individual files, events, dates, places, sources and citation to log the research carried out, in progress and to do in order to plan a possible break.
Two gramplets approximate the expressed needs:
**** “And now”
But is it possible?
1- make it dynamic so that it can react on the active individual and not the strain
2 - copy / paste the return of the request in a Gramps note, keeping the individual “links”
**** “To do” of the dashboard which collects all the other notes distributed on Gramps objects but which external tool to store and use this information
*** Filters?
Is there a library of filters that might be suitable?
*** Quick view?
Maybe this is impossible in the current state of affairs?
Thank you
Ps: Thanks to GoogleTranslate because I’m a French Gramps user

GRAMPS : 5.1.3
Python : 3.5.2 (default, Oct 7 2020, 17:19:02) […
BSDDB : 6.1.0 (5, 3, 28)
sqlite : 3.11.0 (2.6.0)
LANG : fr_FR.UTF-8
Système : Linux
Distribution : 4.4.0-201-generic

Distributor ID: LinuxMint
Description:    Linux Mint 18 Sarah
Release:        18
Codename:       sarah
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There is a To Do gramplet and Report available.

Anywhere within Gramps, you can add a note with the Type “To Do” with your notes about things that need confirmation, resources to check, etc. Then you can activate the To Do gramplet (Dashboard is a good place) that will aggregate these To Do notes in the one view. You can also add To Do notes directly within the gramplet.

The To Do text report will print out a set of these (or any) Note record with a common Tag. “PRINT” works for me. Tag the To Do notes you may want to print to take to the library. Remember to clear the PRINT tag when no longer needed.

NOTE: The “To Do” note type will not be added to the Remove Unused Object tool for deletion. If a To Do note is no longer needed, change its type to another option, and detach it from its object so the Remove (delete) tool can delete the unneeded note.

Google Translate

Un gramplet de tâches et un rapport sont disponibles.

N’importe où dans Gramps, vous pouvez ajouter une note avec le type “To Do” avec vos notes sur les choses qui nécessitent une confirmation, des ressources à vérifier, etc. Ensuite, vous pouvez activer le gramplet To Do (le tableau de bord est un bon endroit) qui les agrégera Pour faire des notes dans une seule vue. Vous pouvez également ajouter des notes de tâches directement dans le gramplet.

Le rapport texte des tâches imprimera un ensemble de ces enregistrements de notes (ou n’importe quel autre) avec une étiquette commune. “PRINT” fonctionne pour moi. Marquez les notes de tâches que vous voudrez peut-être imprimer pour les apporter à la bibliothèque. N’oubliez pas d’effacer la balise PRINT lorsqu’elle n’est plus nécessaire.

REMARQUE: le type de note «À faire» ne sera pas ajouté à l’outil Supprimer l’objet inutilisé pour suppression. Si une note à faire n’est plus nécessaire, remplacez son type par une autre option et détachez-la de son objet afin que l’outil Supprimer (supprimer) puisse supprimer la note inutile.

I understood: you absolutely have to go through the attribution of a label to be able to generate a report.
Unfortunately, the objects which are the subject of notes are only too little identified and described to constitute a database in a spreadsheet for example for in-depth analyzes.
I was hoping for “links” to individuals, sources, quotes …
Finally very close to the “Label report”
Perhaps more complex Gramps functions should be used to generate this famous “Research Journal” Thanks for your help
Jean Claude

Thank you for this wealth of information which shows the richness of third-party software.
But not being a computer scientist, I try to use any tools that already exist in Gramps
A priori that does not exist? Unless you build them yourself (Filters, Tags, …?) If I understood correctly?
I will have to look at these filters and basically succeed in exporting the return of these in a spreadsheet if possible.
I’m going to try …
thanks again
Jean Claude

Taking my research notes and managing my genealogical projects in Notion I’ve tried to copy-paste Notion page content in Notepad++ and save that text in a .md file. I have installed a Notepad++ markdown plugin too. Adding that file to Gramps medias and double clicking on it, it opens perfectly in Notepad++ viewing its formatted content looking like in Notion in the markdown panel, except images saved in Notion. I’ll continue like that (I’ve seen the md plugin can generate html content, so md can be converted into html wich can be copied in a Gramps html note, but it’s much less readable)

Notion have now a backlinks feature to show wich pages are linked to the one you’re working on but there is no feature like this.

I’ve take a look at that feature. I don’t know how yet but I think I’ll try it.

In the past I’d used TheBrain (aka PersonalBrain)for years to dump everything in it, even my genealogy researches. You could share father- son (mother-daughter?) links between ideas as in regular mindmap software but you can add transversal links too, you could name and categorize links make them go forward, backward or both directions, takes idea notes on them… add notes and files to ideas and more.

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In Practice there are no research journal or research log feature in Gramps, there are no way to analyze data and easily add objects to a research journal/log…
And there are not many possibilities to creates tables with lists or any other “advanced” research notes.

I have started to use external software for this, using Zettlr, Obsidian (Because of the Advanced Graph View plugin, and now the last days started to test out VSCoduim with the Foam extension and a few other markdown extensions…
After careful reading of the resources mentioned by SlotHDje I decided to go for a note-taking software that uses Markdown formatting which has the advantage of being very light and usable by any text editor.
But which one?
I thought of Notion which also uses this formatting but it will require a fairly long learning process because it is more than a note-taking software rather a “Work Os”
There is also Typora basic editor or the more universal Obsidian Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) tools.
Finally a lot of possible resources
At random from this research I saw that we could use Zotero
I would therefore like any feedback on this practice.
Source: Dona Cox Baker
A blog: The golden Egg Genealogist Articles:
Other articles:
A book: “Zotero for genealogy”
Not being too English speaking, I may not have understood everything?
Thank you for your opinion and operating mode

I use a a combination of Zotero and Zettlr, and testing out Obsidian, and also FOAM, that is a markdown addon to VS Code/Codium, with graph functionality.

The most important thing regarding an editor if you want to use it for this type of work is that it stores your files on your file system.

Obsidian is the easiest to start with, Zettlr can “read” the “vault”, so you can use them both or change if you need more “writers style” editor.

VS Code or VS Codium with addons are the most flexible, you can find addons for nearly anything you need, it’s not only a developers tool… just like Atom, lots of addons.

But with most of this you will need to learn to use some keyboard shortcuts to get to some of the functionality, specially if you use addons.

I think Zettlr is the writer tool that are the most complete for writing, but if you want to use your notes for a little analyzing in addition, I think Obsidian or Foam will come best out of it.

PS. I do not use Notion and have never tested it, so I do not know what kind of functionality that software have.

I started to use Zettlr because of the Zotero function, but the software do not have any network graph feature like Obsidian or FOAM.

There is a markdown add-in for Zotero, so you can extract annotations and write notes in Zotero, and then set up a template and export all your notes and items to a markdown library if you like. By creating you own template for the markdown export, you can get a Note file that is formatted like you need it to be, it takes a little time to learn, some test and error, but you can get really useful Notes out to markdown. in one of the markdown editors, you can then combine your Notes, write even more, add images etc. and in addition to add the files as media in Gramps, you can also export to i.e. PDF, ODF, Docx or html.

There are one thing You need to be careful with, and that is sync to google, dropbox, onenote etc. because this Editors do auto save, so you can end up with some sync errors, I always recommend manual sync on active file storage if you want to use that type of sync (and extra safety for your files).

Operating Mode
Create a sub folder for your notes in your media folder or document folder, create a folder structure that mirror your usage in i.e. Grramps.
So i.e. make a folder for People, one for Events, one for Places, one for Sources etc.
then create a Note for each object/subject (if you want many notes for each object, create sub folders for them.

In a markdown file for i.e. a person, use YAML header keys for some of the key information…

Type: Person
Name: Smith, John
BirthDate: 1878-01-01
BaptDate: 1878-02-02
DeathDate: 1920-12-12
Alisas: ["John Smith", "Smith, John", "J. Smith", "Smith, J."]
Keywords: []
Tags: []

This is just an example, so you need to do it the way you like, and some software do not support uppercase in YAML key names…

Dona Cox Baker have a lot of great views on using Zotero, but you do not need her book to manage to set up a system in Zotero, it’s an easy software to learn as soon as you understand its limits.

I set up my folder structure and Zotero the same way, that way I always have some points.

Remember one thing if you use Windows, and that is that by default, Windows do not support 32-bit file path, but it can be enabled so that you can use longer file paths and filenames.

It’s a simple registry setting, and if you want to use it, just seach for “32-bit file path in Windows 10 64-bit” or something similar.

I recommend enableling this feature for anyone using 64-bit Windows 10. 32-bit Windows and earlier versions of Windows do not support tthis.

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Thank you for all those informations.
Excuse me for the poor wording of my question.
I like Obsidian. However it seems to me more designed for writing and creating content and we advise against the creation of an overly strict hierarchical structure.
Hence my concern if I understood correctly to derogate from this advice
Is it in this software that we should create folders, subfolders reflecting Gramps views?
Is it this ?
Nb: Nick Milo advises MOC “Map of Contain” instead
I like Zotero for its power of capturing Web page, Pdf, … etc and creating quotes that could therefore cooperate
But all this is still very abstract especially as I do not master the English language
A certainty “Markdown” is to privilege I think?
A lot of things for me to assimilate
thank you

Markdown is about adding style to text.

In a very simple example of some markdown: for “boldface text” write “**boldface** text”. (The same text in HTML markup would be: “<b>boldface</b> text”.)

You don’t need to use all functions of a software, but actually one of the good things about using an external note taking system that saves to files instead of the note system in Gramps, is that you can add images if you like to illustrate something, or an image of the text you translate… or what ever…

Regarding the structure flat or folders… ITS ALL UP TO YOU.

But don’t listen to much to those telling you that “all files in one folder” is the way to go, because the day when you have 100k - 200k files, and your software of choice is deprecated (dead), you will have a huge job trying to figure out the structure of your files…
At the same time, you should try to limit the dept of your folders to a minimum… if possible not more than 5-6 levels of subfolders, try to keep it to 3 after your root Notes Folder.

    • Research Logs (Root)
      • People
      • Events
        • Census’
        • Marriages
      • Places (Can be more than 3 levels if you want to have a hierarchy for your places)
      • Sources
        • US Census 1910

PS. this is just an example

If you like Zotero, keep using Zotero, it’s easy to copy paste notes from a Zotero Note to a Note in Gramps if you need to…

The reason I have started testing this editors is only because of the possibility to create links in unstructured text and to get network graphs of the relations I create with links, without first having to structure all the text.

I don’t make a Note for every single object I have in Gramps, Only for those where I have Notes, or I am going to do extended research where its difficult to separate different information, i.e. large text documents, where, some places, some people, some events, some dates are mentioned, but where it is difficult to see what is what and there might be connections between people over 2-3 “jumps” of a combination of Events → Place → Another Event → To a Person <> To a Family → In yet another Event ← from another person → in another place… etc. etc.
Suddenly you find that the neighbor of your GGGF, also was the father of your GGGF’s Sisters Husband, and that his brothers son married a daughter in you other branch of ancestors.

How you use this types of tools is all up to you. Think out of the box, and try to figure out a way any systems feature can be of help for your type of research.

I strongly recommend a combination of Zotero and Markdown; you can write all your research notes in Zotero, and later export to markdown if you want to.
So you can start with Zotero and expand when you need more…
Or you can use Zotero and one of the markdown editors that has addons for Zotero, or you can use any markdown editor alone…
… and add the note files as media.

Regarding Dona Cox Baker… She has a lot of great tips and I picked up a few tips of how to use Zotero from some videos she was talking in, in addition to reading her articles… I don’t think the book is a failed investment, but I have not read it.

Regarding Nick Milo and his MOC (Map of Content)… it’s nothing new, it’s only a index of content, and can be used regardless of folder structure.

I have been using variants of that for my folder structures as long as I have had Files to store… only difference is that with this software it’s a little easier to create them than in a word document or to use Freeplane as a Map of Content of you hard drives… But the concept has been around for ages, long before he developed his “flat file, flat folder and MOC”-system…

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Thank you for all these tips that I will try to put into practice but I need to get to grips with the markdown a little more in depth (Typora and/or Obsidian) and of course Zotero and its plugins
Cite you:

I saw the blog “The Golden Eggs Genealogist” and the posts about Zotero but no video: I may have missed something?

Using Zotero… in french !

I don’t remember where I saw that video, might have been the Legacy webinar or some Familysearch video or something…

But if you learn to use Zotero, and use Collections, most of what you need to know is in the bloggs, you just need to “read a little between the lines”.


Effectivement j’ai vu cette vidéo très bien faite
Mais ce qui m’interpelle la ce sont les différents posts de Dona Cox Baker (voir plus haut) qui en fait un journal de recherches ??? Et je recherchais une vidéo la dessus …En tout cas la pratique existe

Thank you StoltHD for this exchange and your patience.
It introduced me to a number of concepts and software that I was unfamiliar with.
I hope to assimilate all this if only for general knowledge
thanks again

this is a Template of a Zotero Collection Structure I am working on, its a full workflow structure where its ment to move Items between the different Collections as you work evolve.

I also use TAG’s for each Software I have added or used the source (item) in, so when I have added all metadata and are sure that the source/document are talking about the Object of Interest and I add it to i.e. Gramps, I have a tag in Zotero named “Added to Gramps”, I also have this for Freeplane, Aeon Timeline, The Timeline Project and any other software I use.
I also have tags for i.e. “Used on Lokalhistoriewiki” (Local Wiki for Norwegian history), and I will have tags for "Published on ".
Use it as an example if you like

I move the Items between the Collections as my workflow progress, but when a Research Log Collection is created, I never delete it again, I only copy or move the Items.
If a research on a person or other object have multiple Items in Zotero, I create a sub-folder with a name for the research.
But when I move/copy those research items to new collections in my workflow path, it’s not always the case that I create a new Collection with that name, it depend on what I found or what I use the Item for.

Item = Zotero Items (notes, books, newspapers etc.)
Objects = The Object of Interest (What/who the research log is for).

Be aware that implementing a system like this is most likely “overkill” for most people, but it might be you can find a “golden middle path” of doing it in a way that fits your workflow.

A little Note for Obsidian, there is two very interesting addons for visualization,

  • Timeline
  • and the upcoming new version of the neo4j graph view called JUGGL

In addition to the Markdown plugin for Zotero and the Zotero plugin for Obsidian…

I also really like the FOAM and additional addons for VS Code/Codium. The network graph in FOAM is stunning with some tweaks.

Hope this can help on the way…

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