According to Wikipedia, “a wiki is a website that allows for the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users. Examples include community websites, corporate intranets, knowledge management systems, and note services. The software can also be used for personal notetaking.”
TiddlyWiki is a wiki with a twist: it uses the tiddler, a name given to a unit of microcontent. Tiddlers are special in that they are created from multiple words (usually two) run together, then become links to that particular interest. The word TiddlyWiki is a tiddler, as is MainMenu and UserGuide. Not only does TiddlyWiki have the coolest name, but it is also supremely useful as a notetaking platform.
TiddlyWiki is open-source software that is normally downloaded to one’s hard drive and then opened and edited in a web browser. The resulting file is stored locally.
I have used TiddlyWiki for some time now for my research notes and am generally pretty pleased with it, with one exception: I would like to be able to store my notes in the “cloud”, both for security and for convenience. TiddlySpot exists for that purpose and allows you to download your TiddlyWiki, edit it, and then upload it back to Tiddlyspot.
Recently another way of implementing TiddlyWiki online has appeared. With TiddlySpace, there is no need for my notes to travel back-and-forth between my living room and the Cumulus:
- Organise your stuff with links and tags– Link and tag your tiddlers to help you organise them. Tiddlers live on the web and each one has a cool URI making sharing easy.
- Tailor your space with apps– TiddlySpace comes with a set of apps for creating and managing your tiddlers. You can create or reuse new apps for new experiences.
- Collaborate and Share with Others– With a simple model for sharing, distributing and adapting your content TiddlySpace makes it easy to collaborate with others.
- An evolution of TiddlyWiki– TiddlySpace builds on the tried and tested tiddler model introduced by TiddlyWiki by moving tiddlers to the web.
- Simple API for Developers– Developers can customise, integrate and extend TiddlySpace by using its extensive and well-designed set of APIs.
- Free and Open Source– The source code of TiddlySpace is available under an open source license so anyone can use it and improve it.
TiddlySpace is somewhat Beta, very much a work in progress. Still, it has a lot of potential as a method of maintaining one’s research notes and could thus become an essential part of the genealogical research toolbox.