OK, drawing semantic networks on paper can probably be useful, but there are some problems:

  • paper is of fixed size, you'll run out of space quickly
  • paper is 2-dimensional, while very few semantic networks are
  • semantic networks are conventional, or, where conventions haven't been established, arbitrary; like hypertext structures, they don't really convey meaning

Free your mind!

Example below!

Mind Mapping is a technique of using and improving memory, concentration and creativity when planning, organizing and structuring.

The concept of Mind Maps were first introduced in the book Use Your Head in 1974 by Tony Buzan. Tony was a frustrated university student that realized the vast amount of academic information he had to take in. Trying to resolve his studying problems, he became interested in learning mechanisms, and how people memorize and think creatively. He started using different techniques on students with learning problems and came up with what is now called Mind Mapping.

One of the central ideas behind Mind Maps is what is called Radiant Thinking. This is the idea that thought processes do not interconnect with each other non-linear, but from a central point and outward. Or much like E2 I guess, where new links between nodes of information are created daily, non-linear, although the existence of some soft-links are dubious...

The disadvantages of standard, linear, note taking are

  • Key words and ideas hidden in the text mass - prevents association between important key concepts
  • Hard to remember content of uniform text
  • Time wasting - Requires reading and writing of unnecessary text

This all inhibits creativity, memory and intelligence to work properly.

Mind Mapping is most widely used for brainstorming, which is a natural way to use it. Brainstorming is inherently an associative process, where you let ideas evolve in their own direction. But you can also use it successfully for note taking, planning, preparing lectures, studying, and problem solving. Boeing has used group Mind Mapping with as many as 100 engineers just to transfer knowledge between projects.

Since E2 is not a very graphical environment, it is hard to come up with a very good "How to make Mind Maps"-guide without examples. Anyway, here's an ASCII version of a example Mind Map with the important things to remember when mind mapping. 

                        Order        t    d      
                           \          n a i
                            \           |              unlined
                             clear<-----|              horizontal             
                            /           /\             |                      
                   embrace /           /  \          Paper--Start--Centre    
                                      / Structure      |                                    colorfull
                                     /      \          |                                  /
                         association/        \         |                                 / 
                         |                    \        |                     |-> pictures-> codes
                         |                     *************                 |           \
                         |                    * Mind Mapping *-------USE---->|            \ space
                        use                   *  Rules       *        !      |             
                       show                  / *************          |      |           codes
                      develop               /          I              |      |->color---X-> plenty
                               Exaggerate  /           I              |      |           thoroughly
                                     \    /            I              |      |   
                           personal --STYLE            I              |      |              uppercase
                                      /                I             /       |            /  
                               fun --/                 I            /        |-> word --- 1 per line
                        beautiful --/                LINES         /                           \ 
                                                       I          /                             find
Mind MapĀ® is a registered trademark of the Buzon Organisation. 
Source: The Mind Map Book by Tony Buzan. Check also http://www.mind-map.com

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