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Mind Mapping

Posted by: EgbertFly

Tagged in: Untagged 


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:

problem solving

outline/framework design

anonymous collaboration

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.


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Comments (4)Add Comment
written by barrmar, August 16, 2010
FreeMind is easily as good as the costly commercial version. The advantage is that you can easily save the map and build on it later.
I still believe that paper mind mapping beats computerised versions. Quite simply - it is simpler to do on paper. It is easier to change colours and add in extras.
Mind mapping simulates the way that the brain works - knowledge has 'hooks' - every piece of knowledge gets hooked onto other knowledge stored in the brain by neural connections.
Using paper allows for a free flow of information in a way that cannot easily be simulated on a computer, unless its a computer that you can draw on!
written by Nina Sekulovska, August 16, 2010
Jotting down ideas can really help you facilitate thinking and brainstorming process, saving time and managing work. I use Seavus DropMindā„¢ and I can say that using mind mapping software really helped me be more productive at work and in my personal life.
written by RIC007GP, August 20, 2010
Tony Buzan's book on Mind Mapping is really good and provides some excellent examples of its use.
written by Joe D, August 22, 2010
Freemind will get you started, but if you're going to outgrow its capabilities in no time. It really has only the very basics. I switched to NovaMind and haven't looked back.

And as to the first comment, I just can't believe that someone would think that paper mind mapping is better than on a computer - just so many reasons:
- never run out of room because the canvas resizes,
- hyperlink to files and web pages
- share files easily with other people
- graft topics to other locations
- group related mind maps in a single document
- insert new topics between others without having to think it out beforehand
- recolor topics
- add images, photos, clipart
- keep track of task information, to-do lists etc
- export to other formats like Word, Project etc

All of those things are trivial with any decent mind mapping program, but difficult or impossible on paper.

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