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David's Integrated Research Environment

In an upcoming post, I will describe in detail what I’ve called David's IRE, also known as the Poor Man’s Wiki or the Luddite’s Ultimate Techno-Zettelkasten. Here are a few snapshots of my VIM-based note-taking, research and academic writing environment. Think of the IRE as a combination of a Zettelkasten à la Luhmann, a Wiki knowledge base with Devonthink Think-like fuzzy finding, and a Scrivener-like writing environment. And all in free, sustainable plain text, granular version control through Github, and running blazinggly fast in the terminal of a 2011 MacBook Air. And never mind bloated Emac’s org-mode: almost all works in plain-vanilla VIM.

David’s IRE - A Showcase

Here’s the start screen, with recent edited files and some Cow Says wisdom, via Vim-Startify:

IRE's welcome screen.

Here’s how the environment actually looks like. Notice the syntax highlighting, structure folding and, on the left, Vim’s spell checker:

The actual IRE.

For bibliographic references, the IRE has Bibkey auto-completion from my Zotero bibliography via Vim-Pandoc:


Finally, this is how a PDF looks like, via PANDOC-XeLaTeX conversion:

PDF output.

Or, as a webpage using my note-taking color scheme:

HTML output.

Or, for more portability, as an Epub file that I can read in a Kindle:

Epub output.

Beautiful LaTeX typography, automatic cross references, TOCs, and figure numeration; dynamic bibliographies, lists of figures… are all great and incredibly convenient. But this is nothing compared to the Zettelkasten functionality implemented through plain-vanilla VIM navigation, to be shown in a upcoming post. Forget about Evernote or Devonthink: this is more like growing a second brain.