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Collective note-taking with Hydra

Hydra lets people work on documents together via Rendezvous. Right now, 5-7 people are taking collaborative notes in the same document on Eric Bonabeau’s talk on Biological Computing. With the permission of the other participants, I’ll either post or link to the resulting document here. (Ok, here are the notes we (there were 7-10 of us) took during the session. Oh, and here it is with Hydra’s color coding intact.)

Update: there’s now a chat as well…using Hydra as a ad hoc chat system. Hydra just connects with a place for people to plop in text. Very little imposed heirarchy which makes it very flexible (what Howard was talking about this morning in urging developers to “create tools that amplify collective action”).

Reader comments

PauloApr 23, 2003 at 3:16PM

Collaborative coding through the internet/Rendezvous via Hydra is a great concept, and their syntax highlighting is near-perfect, the Hydra UI only slightly less so, but I tested the thing with Steve_At, and it simply refused to work at all. I don't know what I was doing wrong. Plus, the OS X Finder open/save dialog still bothers me to no end.

Corey MillerApr 25, 2003 at 1:55AM

I agree that collaboration has a necessary place in any project. However, I have a hard time getting my head around collaborative note-taking. Notes are personal and deeply ingrained with an individuals interests and personal means of information gathering and retention. What you take out of a speech or presentation, and what you need to note to retain, may be vastly different than someone else's.

Personally I find lots of value in comparing notes with coworkers following a presentation, and compiling all our personal experiences and thoughts into a master document. But I can't imagine that multiple individuals simultaneously to a master document in real time during a presentation anything but distracting. I have not tried it yet, but I imagine it akin to passing notes during class while the teacher is speaking.

I'd love to hear more, Jason, about how this process worked and how you divided your attention yet maintained your focus during this process. Maybe the updating in Hydra was less distracting than I make it out to be, and you ended up with one shared document at the end that didn't require the cutting and pasting that several independent note-takers would require in a follow up meeting.

Very cool software though.

jkottkeApr 25, 2003 at 4:32PM

I'll be posting a bit more on Hydra in the next couple of days, after I've had a chance to digest things a bit more.

PauloApr 26, 2003 at 11:14AM

May I hasten to add that I've now tried Hydra in a Rendezvous environment, and it was flawless and fun. Confusing at first, but fun. ;)

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.