Much can be said about the benefits of using mind mapping software for the personal, academic, and business needs that many of us have. I know for myself that I greatly benefit from using mind mapping software on a daily basis to plan workshops, overview my content for courses, and for managing projects that I am working on. Using mind mapping software makes me more effective at the work I do and allows me to share information in a rich graphical way that resonates with my colleagues. For me, having access to the tools and techniques of mind mapping provides me a rich palette of tools to draw from when I am doing the work that I do. While using mind mapping software in traditional ways has been quite effective for me- my eyes were opened to a whole new way at looking at mind mapping when I learned about a product called Context Organizer about two years ago.
Context Organizer is a summarization tool that can extract summaries from PDF's, Word, and from URL's. With a click of the mouse I can have Context Organizer a MindManager add-in, build me a rich in information map. When I first tried Context Organizer I couldn't believe how fast I could produce my map filled with contextualized information, I was interested in researching. And so that was the "aha" moment for me going from "mind mapping" in a traditional sense to "knowledge mapping" with a click of the mouse. Going from a blank mind mapping canvas to a completed "knowledge map" was quite exciting to see. Imagine the power I felt having all this information in my map that I could organize and structure the way I wanted. This is the true power of knowledge mapping. The synergy between Context Organizer working within MindManager is exquisite giving the user the opportunity to reorganize information as they see fit. As a Professor of Education I am constantly doing research to keep abreast of new trends in special education and assistive technology and have come to rely on Context Organizer to comb the web looking for new information. Developing my own knowledge maps helps me to see the big picture and look at the current trends in the field and gives me a point of access to determine if I need to read the original articles.
Since the release of Context Organizer for MindManager, Context Organizer has evolved and now works in the cloud with an online mind mapping application called Comapping. Comapping works within the browser and the user with a annual subscription can access their maps and collaborate in real time with any browser and a connection to the web. This is a true paradigm shift and one that all of us are weighing as we begin to dip our toes into the cloud. For me having access to my maps whenever I am connected to the web is quite powerful and I have come to utilize Comapping more and more in the work that I do. But more importantly, I have been able to use Comapping with Context Organizer which has been seamlessly integrated into the application. Now I can attach Word and PDF files to my Comapping maps and have them summarized within seconds. An even more powerful feature is being able to attach a URL link to a branch on my map and have the entire contents of the website summarized. For researchers this is an incredible tool and one that you should take a look at. Now I can develop my personal "knowledge maps' that I can store online in a mapping tool that allows me to organize the information the way I want.
Looking ahead Context Organizer is moving to a soon to be announced portal that will enable users to type in a URL which will then return key words and a summary. This new tool called Web Summarizer will give you the capability to type a URL and have the information instantly summarized complete with key words. You will also be able to search your knowledge database to find links to the information you are interested in. With Web Summarizer you will be able to build you own knowledge databases and when you are done you will be able to export the summaries to your mind mapping application-creating the perfect repository for your information set.
So at least for myself, I am using a new term called "Knowledge Mapping" to share with you a new way to think about mind mapping and handling vast amounts of information that can be personalized to meet your needs. If you are interested in learning more how you can handle the information overload with these tools send me an email and I would be glad to share with you how your business or school could benefit from using "knowledge mapping." So happy "Knowlwdge Mapping."