Can you help me index and annotate my brain for my daughter.
December 13, 2011 9:44 AM Subscribe
I have a health condition that may end my life prematurely. I am an "older" parent of an only child who is currently 8 years old. It's important to me that I leave a record of who I was. Can you help me with strategies to help me "index and annotate" myself for her, so that when she is older she could have an idea of her father as an adult beyond just the Daddy that I am to her now?
posted by nickjadlowe to Writing & Language (42 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Currently, at her age she "feels" and knows me as the loving and involved father in her life - her Daddy. To me, this is the most important legacy I can leave her. But as she grows older, she may wonder more about "who" I was and what kinds of things I thought about in an adult or intellectual way. I would like to give her the opportunity to know the adult man I was once she is old enough to wonder or care. I don't have this sense of my relatives that have passed away and it feels like an unfortunate hole in my understanding and perspective of them. To some degree, that translates into feeling like a hole in myself.
Can you help me with strategies to help me "index and annotate" myself for her?
I have thousands of books in my library that I have read, but that number could be reduced to perhaps a couple hundred that have had a very important impact on me. Of these 200, I have lightly and sporadic annotated about half of them as I initially read them. Of course, I can electronically collect and/or make printed copies of important email and online correspondence I have had over the past 10 years. I plan to keep a daily journal more diligently from now on.
What I would like the end product to be:
- Searchable by keyword, date, and other basic meta-data such as persons involved in the correspondence.
- Somehow "linked" (for lack of a better word). For example, I would like to be able to search for a date and possibly know the book that was being read on that date, a list of the passages that I highlighted in that book, the annotations I made with respect to each of those items, and perhaps a link to my personal diary entry on that day. "By Date" is just one example; it would be nice if the same could be done by "Topic of Interest", or by "Book", or by "Author."
- If possible, I would like to have this in some form of hard copy since it seems impossible to predict what current electronic forms of storage will be easily and practically accessible years from now.
My current idea:
- Re-read and more thoroughly annotate the materials most important to me. Apply consistent tags, keywords, and meta-data. I imagine the annotations being autobiographical in nature.
- Tag all email and other online correspondence with same.
- Transfer all of this to some program.
- It seems like Scrivener might be a good candidate, as it allows chunks of text, pictures, links, etc to be organized and combined in different ways and then be exported for print as PDF's, e-books, etc. It also seems to allow for the keyword tagging, linking, and footnoting.
- For example, I could make a bound book (or ebook) that was everything ordered chronologically, another one organized by topic, and so on.
I realize this may all sound somewhat egotistical, and I understand that it may in fact never be looked at. But I'm looking at it as a personal project that, just in its undertaking, may afford me some perspective, closure, and peace.
Please provide suggestions and tips as to how I can better go about this project. For example, would purchasing only ebooks from now on make this easier in some way? What are your recommendations for an organizational tool? Can you point me to similar projects? Can you suggest a "best practices" routine? How would YOU do it? Assume I have roughly 1-2 years to do this. Much thanks.