The concept of Mind Mapping is one that goes back to the third century when a philosopher called Porphyry of Tyros used the concept to illustrate the different categories used by Aristotle.
A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the centre, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added.
Mind maps have many applications in personal, family, educational, and business situations, including note taking, brainstorming (wherein ideas are inserted into the map radially around the centre node, without the implicit prioritization that comes from hierarchy or sequential arrangements, and wherein grouping and organizing is reserved for later stages), summarizing, revising, and general clarifying of thoughts. One could listen to a lecture, for example, and take down notes using mind maps for the most important points or keywords. One can also use mind maps as a mnemonic technique or to sort out a complicated idea. Mind maps are also promoted as a way to collaborate in colour pen creativity sessions.
Mind maps can be used for:
marriage of words and visuals
individual expression of creativity
condensing material into a concise and memorable format
team building or synergy creating activity
enhancing work morale
Despite these direct use cases, data retrieved from mind maps can be used to enhance several other applications, for instance expert search systems, search engines and search and tag query recommender. To do so, mind maps can be analysed with classic methods of information retrieval to classify a mind map's author or documents that are linked from within the mind map.
Mind Maps can be drawn by hand, either as "rough notes" during a lecture or meeting, for example, or can be more sophisticated in quality. There are also a number of software packages available for producing mind maps.
One of these packages is called FreeMind. It is a Freeware application that is available for download.
Like all mind maps, FreeMind gives you the flexibility to organize your thoughts on a page as they connect to each other and to the larger picture. After all, not all minds reason in subheadings and bullet points. You shape, place, and name that master idea (the root node), then create child or sibling spokes that relate to it.
FreeMind encompasses a fine range of features, including scads of icons and color formatting options to help you visually organize concepts. It also supports hyperlinks, which allow you to link Web sites and even documents to a map. In addition, you'll be able to export your landscape of thoughts in a variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, and JPEG. As flexible as it lets your mind be, FreeMind works within an older-style logical structure that could get frustrating for some. For instance, you must insert nodes by hand or using a hot key; you can't click and drag to create them.
It's evident how mind maps like FreeMind can hasten note-taking, or help you visualize a project, paper, or process.