[extropy-chat] Mind mapping software

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Tue Mar 6 15:11:33 UTC 2007

A more versatile (not fixed to Microsoft) solution.

Resending a message I wrote May 8, 2006 to the wta-talk list under
the subject title:
"Advice Sought on Improving Reading and Studying Skills"


Sean Cooney scooney at purdue.edu :

Welcome Sean!

>My goal is to reduce my studying time as much as possible without loss
>of comprehension or retention.  Those last two points are critical.  I
>am in a very technical field of study (molecular biology, biochemistry,
>neurobiology).  Thus, any reduction in studying time without maintaining
>or improving comprehension and retention is pointless.

A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to "mind mapping". I'd heard for
years about it, but no one ever demonstrated its usefulness to me
before. Since I'm wrestling with a particularly complex problem for one
of my research problems  ("the origin of water on Earth"), I thought I'd
"map" it out. Now, I'm mapping out all of the arguments in the relevant
papers this way, as well as my own work on the subject, and I'm very
happy with how I'm able to follow the arguments using this tool. I think
that "mind mapping" is an excellent study and note-taking tool.

The following graphic is a real example of my breaking down the arguments
in one recent paper on this topic using mind mapping:


I don't agree with all of the authors' arguments, but this way helps me
to follow them. The little circles represent collapsed subjects. The icon
of a notepad/pen tells me that there is a note, in my case, a reference.
There are arrows to link many of the arguments to the constraints, but
the lines are barely visible; the software doesn't allow me to fiddle
with the arrow-line width yet.

The software I used is an open source "mind mapping" package called
"FreeMind". There are slicker commercial software to do this, but they
cost money, and this is good enough. FreeMind is available for Windows,
Linux/Unix, Mac.


Mind Mapping in 8 Steps (to get you started)




Amara Graps, PhD      www.amara.com
INAF Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI), Roma, ITALIA
Associate Research Scientist, Planetary Science Institute (PSI), Tucson

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