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Freemind and Wikis - a Marriage Made in Heaven?

Leuf and Cunningham (2002) put themselves the following question: What is the main limit affecting current network-based collaboration models?

They were disatisfied by current models, i.e. e-mail exchange and mailing lists, shared repositories and interactive content update technologies. The main reasons were the high degree of redudancy (mailing lists) and the uneasiness users have of writing in collaboration on an objectively fair basis.

an example of a mialing list

and its correspondant wiki:


So why are Wikis so popular? There are a number of anecdotal reasons:

1. It is very, very easy to add content by means of their markup languages.

2. The underlying hypertext is unstructured or semi-structured, so that people can decide collectively how to organize their content.

3. Lastly, blogs and wikis allow and favour active collaboration.

The starting phase of a wiki is crucial in determining its success. In fact, if there is no taxonomy previously decided by the wiki community members when information grows, there is a moment by which it becomes necessary to put everything in order, and this is often not an easy task. The risk of disorientation is high, as it is not always easy to understand the relevance and importance of every single information unit – ‘lexia’ in Landow’s terms. My question is: "how to overcome this limit in advance?"

Cognitive mapping considers thinking as a self-organizing information system, i.e. informations grow and change, while it maintains accuracy and relevance. Cognitive maps can give the necessary lightweight structure to a wiki in order to avoid this risk, as free graphs that make the relations between wiki lexias (i.e. semantically consitent text chunks) explicit.

Why Cognitive Mapping?

Our brain process complex information conveyed visually in a very effective way, we typically identify visual patterns far more easily than not-visual (e.g. words as concepts). Furthermore, visual images can overcome language barriers. Information visualization doesn’t merely communicate ideas but it actively, organizes, concises, and clarifies info chunks (Dawkins’ memes) revealing hidden patterns, gaining insights and discovering new ideas and relations.

A mind map is a graph structure of keywords and they relations. It has a radiant shape and is much more rich in colours, pictures, and drawings compared with concept or dialogue maps. Human brains recognize shapes and drawings better than words and numbers, so if you want to remember ideas give them a good look.

It is my contention that Freemind could and should be merged with the widespread use of Wikis. That is, Freemind should serve as a natural merge as the merge between wikis and mind maps; not as a geomapping representation of wikis but rather as means to help you find and understand information that you may find may find on the web as contained within a wiki. I find myself wondering why anyone hasn't done this already as it seems to me to be a very natural marriage - i.e., one made in heaven.

The main goal of such an exercise should be to provide wiki users a way to make relations between lexias (i.e. wiki text chunks) explicit from the start,allowing them to be aware of the inner structure of what they are writing of, and – of course – of changing/editing, moving map branches, wherever they want.

Can anyone tell me if anyone as engaged in a project such as this and if so, what's its status? Read more about essay writing help

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