Writing by Design

becoming a professional writer

Mindmapping tools and visualization

I’ve been thinking lots lately about encouraging students to use mindmapping both for their writing and for their reading.  And since mindmapping is closely related to visualization, I was intrigued by Audrey Watters’s news that WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalogue, has launched a new interactive tool that lets users visually explore the catalog.

While WorldCat manages rather more information that even the most arcane research paper students may be asked to read, the principles underlying information visualization are similar, which is why I’m going to introduce students to some of the tools currently available.  There’s nothing wrong with old-school pen-and-paper mindmapping, of course, but my colleague Janelle Jenstadt has put together a good introductory list of online tools you might like to check out.

Janelle’s list:


VUE (http://vue.tufts.edu/) – opensource
DevonThink (http://www.devon-technologies.com/products/devonthink/)
Mappio (http://mappio.com/) – widely used in academic reading and writing
NovaMind (http://www.novamind.com/)
Curio (http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/)
Remember the Milk (http://www.rememberthemilk.com/) – free sign-up

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