Looking up citations with Quicksilver

Posted by Anton Hughes on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 with No comments
Quicksilver is an application for OSX which is a bit like Spotlight, but which has a whole host of extra power. Up until now, I've mostly used it for switching between applications.

But today I've found a way to make it automatically look up the selected text on AustLII. This is what I wanted to be able to do:

1. Highlight a citation on the screen in any program, with the mouse.
2. Hit a combination of keys (I chose "Control-Option-Command-A")
3. Be magically transported to the results of a search of that text on AustLII.

So if someone sends me an email, containing the citation [2011] HCA 3, for example, then hit "Control-Option-Command-A", the browser would open up, and I'd be taken here.

It took about 10 minutes to set up, following either this tutorial, or this tutorial.

I'll set out the steps below, assuming that you've already got Quicksilver installed. There aren't any pictures for now, but you can see pictures in that tutorial I linked to above.

Step 1: Install the Web Search plugin

To do that, you need to go to Quicksilver's preferences (You can do that by opening Quicksilver, then pressing "Command-,"). Click on "Plugins" at the top right of the preference window (purple icon).

Then make sure you've got "All Plugins" selected on the Left column.

In the right column, scroll down through the list to "Web Search Plugin". Make sure it has a tick beside it.

Step 2: Set up the Catalog entry

Click on the "Catalog" icon, next to the Plugins icon at the top left of the screen.

Look for a little '+' at the bottom of the window, and click it. Choose "Web Search List" from the options that appear". You'll see this new entry appear in the might hand column, and the left hand column will auto-select "Custom".

A drawer should appear to the left of the window. If it doesn't click the little 'i' at the bottom right of the screen.

In that drawer, click the '+' icon. A new line will appear, with three fields to fill in. Enter the following:

Name: AustLII
URL: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinosrch.cgi?query=***
Encoding: (leave that as Unicode)

Then hit the little arrow icon next to the 'i' at the bottom right of the window.

Step 3: Set up the Trigger

Click on the "Triggers" icon at the top right of the window.

Click the '+' icon and choose "Hotkey". A new window will appear, with 3 fields to fill in. You start typing to fill the first one in, then hit "Tab" to jump to the next window. They autocomplete as you type. Here's what needs to go in each:

Select an item: Current Selection
Action: Find With
Target: AustLII

(Hit enter when you've done all 3)

Finally, you need to enter the key combination you want to make the lookup happen.

To do that, double click on the trigger you just created. A drawer should pop out to the left.

Under the 'Settings' section of the drawer, you'll see the words "Hot Key", and next to that and edit button. Click on it.

Now type the combination you want, just as you'll type it to run it. For me, I held down Control, then Option, then Command, then A. Then released all 3.

Once that is done, so are you!