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Knowledge: A Different Approach to a Database on the Desktop

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Desktop applications for 'Information Management' that go beyond conventional card-index style databases are hard to find. The ideas behind such software are perhaps not that well known, so a prototype program, Knowledge, has been developed to put them firmly into the public domain.

The why

'Idealist' - a long-discontinued program developed for Windows by the publishers Blackwell - was taken as a source of inspiration. This type of software indexes text as it is entered and allows rapid text searching, making it useful for storing notes and observations as well as archival information. Users of Idealist included museums, medical practices for storing patient records, academics for bibliographic databases, and even by the police for use in investigations. Nowadays there is specialist commercial software for many of these purposes, but for individuals who want a straightforward desktop application for building up databases of the things that interest them there is little to choose from. This is despite the fact that libraries for text searching, such as Xapian and Lucene, are now freely available.

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