I am a lawyer representing a lot of refugees, and firms like mine tend to sub-specialize in particular communities or groups. I've learned a lot about particular countries and their records of human rights abuses, and I'd like to organize this information better so I can pull up only the relevant events when making submissions. Right now it's in a giant Word document in chronological order, but that's pretty crude.

I'm looking for something that will allow me to enter a short bit of writing--from a sentence to a paragraph, which I'll call "blurbs"--of information on a particular incident or event, and mark or index it with a date or time range, and location if applicable. Ideally I'd be able to add a few other criteria, such as targeted group or agent of persecution. Then I would like to be able to pull up only the entries that occurred in a particular town, or district, or province, in chronological order; a particular category of events in chronological order; or similar.

Must be able to make and then retrieve rich-text/formatted text "blurbs" by criteria associated with them, and/or sort them by those criteria.

Must be able to handle sorting events that occur on a particular date, or in/over a range of dates, for example "1952" versus "March - July 1987" versus "December 2-5, 1993" versus "October 15, 2004", preferably from more larger to smaller time frames. In my giant document, years are Heading 1/Level 1, months or multi-month ranges are Heading 2/Level 2, dates or multi-date ranges are Heading 3/Level 3.

Must run on Windows 10. I am not averse to a cloud solution if I can include possible hundreds of entries.

Cannot require a server or complicated network setup - I would like to keep this on my desktop, or our network attached storage, but our office network is flaky and it's not getting better any time soon.

I would love:

  • if the formatting in the blurbs extended all the way to block-quotes and linked footnotes (but I will settle for the ability to italicize or not);
  • if I could select the relevant criteria and the program would produce a document with all the relevant blurbs in my selected order (but if I have to copy-and-paste it into a word processor, or edit out tags, it's still a lot better than I currently have);
  • if the interface was WYSIWYG (at least regarding the blurbs), and simple and graphical otherwise (hideous is fine)

My budget is limited but I would not be averse to scrounging up $50-$100 if there was something that exactly met my criteria.

I imagine it would eventually be possible to design a database in Access or whatever to do this, but I don't have the time or resources (I do, however, have access to Access, so if there's a template or something that would so the same thing I would be happy to know about it). I can generally make computer things work good by relentless poking at them, but I have no formal training in ... anything but the law, so you may need to ELI5.

1 Answer 1


TiddliWiki is a local browser based sort of database/wiki/note taking application.

It has a very flexible tag based organization system. Information is stored in small chunks called Tiddlers, which translate very well to your blurbs.

You can use its tagging capabilities to tag each blurlb with a year/month/date, place, or any other relevant data. You can also search by any text content and add arbitrary number of fields to sort your data.

It is not WYSYWYG per-se, but it has pretty decent formatting capabilities including block quotes, and an on-the-fly preview capability.

It is free and open source, runs on your web browser directly from a file without complicated setups, but can be put online at any time if it is convenient.

I just don't think it can easily find events in a range, though it can be customized with scripting and could possibly be extended to do so.

It can then compile a group of said blurbs into a single document using filtering, and output to a variety of formats.

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