Here is a small collection of some Elisp that we've written for our editor and, in a sense, PIM of choice, EMACS. This code is known to (mostly) run on Emacs 20 and 21 for Linux, and probably Windoze. It may run on Emacs 19 as well, but testing all-around is minimal.

EDB, the Emacs database, is required for most of these. Get it here.

The first application is for "spaced interval recall" learning, based to some degree on the excellent Supermemo system. We call our EMACS version "ELIP" for "EMACS Learning Instruction Program." Try it and if you use it please let us know. It's now at beta release 0.612 and includes numerous databases, features and options;


  • A 40 item "sample" Hawaiian vocabulary database.
  • A 120 item Esperanto grammar database.
  • "I Have a Dream" speech database.
  • Import and export of question/answer items from/to text files.
  • Ellipsis-style item generation from arbitrary text files. The Esperanto grammar database was generated in this manner from a public-domain web page in only 45 minutes.
  • Interval-based repetition of items according to difficulty and a built-in optimization algorithm (which can easily be modified).
  • Learn new items at the pace you wish.
  • Complete global and individual question reports, stats, and tables, with flexible sorting options.
  • A "Leitner" flashcard/pigeonhole learning option.
  • A "text-mode" learning option for memorization of text passages. See if you can memorize the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
  • A "flashcard mode" for rapid review of old items, preview of new items, or extra practice on the hardest items.
  • Fully documented with a 38 page manual.

If you'd like to know more about ELIP prior to download, you can view the PDF documentation on-line.

A user has kindly supplied this Japanese language learning database. We also have supplemental Spanish vocabulary and Esperanto vocabulary databases available. (These were removed from the main distribution to keep it to a reasonable size.)

We have received some reports that there are problems in the EDB subsystem and it may not run properly on new releases of EMACS. However we haven't pursued the ELIP project for the last couple of years and so don't have fixes. If you encounter problems and resolve them, please let us know.

Pretty much complete now is the Talmud Bavli Learning Log, inspired by a very nice Windoze program called Gemara Tracker. This is of interest mostly to Jewish scholars who study the Babylonian Talmud (the Bavli) and would like good records and notes of their learning. Again, try it and give us some feedback. And here is a companion version for those bold students of the Jerusalem Talmud (the Yerushalmi). Versions for Mishna Yomi, Halachah Yomi, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yomi, etc.? Perhaps some day.

There's also a recipe database manager that is perhaps nothing special except that it allows you to save your recipes and easily and quickly produce LaTeX output for printing. It seems very effective; my own database is over 10 megs and 11,000 recipes and it runs quite fast on a not so new P700.

And, here is a speedreading system; teach yourself to read faster.  With numerous options to control speed and amount of text, this has proven to be an effective tool, and in fact has been accepted into the mainstream EMACS release for a later date.

Please send comments, suggestions, and bug reports to elisp@bobnewell.net.

The legal stuff: this software may be used for free for any purpose you wish, but it is not public domain and we retain all rights. There are no warranties of any sort and no support is offered. We take no responsibility for damages of any nature, whether direct, indirect, consequential, or otherwise, even if you have notified us of the possibility of such damages. You are responsible for determining the suitablity of these codes in your own environment.