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Using Personal Knowbase to Organize Quotations

I've been collecting quotations for decades. It's something of an obsession. I sprinkle them in websites and blog posts, tweet them to my followers, and sometimes just collect for the sake of collecting. When I read, part of my mind is always on the lookout for good quotes. Not surprisingly, I store my quote collection in Personal Knowbase.

Writers use quotes to add a different perspective to articles. Speakers use quotes to emphasize a point. Journalists use quotes to support an argument.

The trick is to organize your quotations in a way that allows you to locate exactly the quote you need for your current purpose. Personal Knowbase provides a great way to organize your quotation bank.

Why Keywords Are Ideal for Indexing Quotes

Most people store their quotes in a large text file and simply do a straight text search to find certain words that they expect to be in a quote. But using straight text search to seek relevant quotations often won't help you find what you're looking for.

Quotes are notorious for not containing the exact words reflecting what the quote is about. For example, you won't find the quote "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" by searching on "motherhood" or even "mother."

Searching for "courage" won't find the relevant Jack Canfield quote "Everything you want is on the other side of fear."

Searching on "education" won't find Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Knowledge exists to be imparted."

Searching on "goals" or "obstacles" won't find Nelson Mandela's quote "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."

To organize and find quotations effectively, you must manually tag the quotes with keywords that reflect the topics for which you might want to use the quotes later. Personal Knowbase's keyword-based system is natural for this purpose.

Suggested Storage Method

Following is how I have my quotes database set up. Personal Knowbase is flexible, so some variation on this method may work better for you. Experiment with how you use your own quotes collection.

Quote in an article window

I dedicate one Knowbase article to each quote. In the article's title, I put the author's last name and the general topic. So the title for the Emerson quote is Emerson on Education. This makes it easy to sort my list of quotes by author's last name in the Index Window's Titles column.

Also, Personal Knowbase's text search feature (the Find command on the Edit menu) has an option to search only in the titles of articles (Title Text Only), which is much faster than searching the entire article content text (especially as your data file gets larger), so it's wise to put info in the title field that you're most likely to search on, such as author name.

In the article's content body, I put the full quote at the top. For quotes you find online or in digital documents, you can quickly copy-and-paste the quote text into Personal Knowbase's Article Window.

Below that, I put the attribution (author's full name). Below that, the source of the quote if I know that, such as a book or speech, and the date if I have it.

Sometimes I include other notes at the bottom of the article as well, such as my source for the quotation if I haven't checked the original source and I'm not sure of its accuracy. Below that, I include any other pertinent information, such as variant versions of the quote (especially for quotes translated from their original language) or questions about attribution.

Alternatively, you could use Personal Knowbase's date field for the date of the quote. Personally, I don't use the date field except as the date I enter the quote.

Then for keywords, I include any possible topics that this quotation might apply to, such as, in the case of the Emerson quote, education and knowledge. If you have many quotes for relatively few authors, you might also want to put the authors' last names as keywords to make it very fast to pull up all quotes for a specific author. But if you have quotations from many different authors, like I do, this will eventually cause you to have many keywords that only apply to single articles, which is not very efficient.

For more ideas about selecting keywords for your quotations, see Tips for Selecting Keywords.

Quotes in the Index Window

Retrieving Quotes

With this method, you can easily call up all quotations in your quote bank for the topic education at once, including Emerson's quote. The Index column of Personal Knowbase's Index Window will list all the keywords you have assigned to your quote articles. Selecting a keyword from the Index reduces your article titles list to only quotes with that keyword.

Furthermore, if you need a quote reflecting multiple topics, you can select multiple keywords to see if you have a quote relevant for all the represented topics.

Besides using assigned keywords, you can also search your entire data file for any text string, such as "knowledge exists" to find the Emerson quote above. This can be useful if you remember a portion of a quote but not the actual theme behind the quote.

Personal Knowbase is ideal for organizing quotes. A fully-functional 30-day trial is available if you want to try copying in a few quotes to test if it meets your needs.