Chuck Frey asks “What capabilities should developers add to tomorrow’s mind mapping software?” and I responded with some dreams about improved import.
I think the automation of input is essential when you want to gain overview over a given collection of concepts. Otherwise, the cumbersome manual copying and pasting will be a temptation to skip (and prematurely censor) some of the items.
On my hunt for the ideal mapping tool, I have finally acknowledged that I must distinguish between the input side (developing the thoughts, drawing connections) and the output side (presenting the thoughts), because no software is good for both. Recently, I found a weird kind of this specialization, when I skimmed several student guides to scientific working and writing.
It struck me that they all recommended to use the mapping software to structure the intended paper output. They did not speak about drawing connections and developping a conceptual network. I wondered why they just focussed on developping a tree-like structure for the hierarchical paper outline, and did not consider the great affordance of mapping software that allows to model conceptual proximity and connections into spatial proximity and links.
Maybe this output approach is sufficient for papers that do only reproduce scientific literature, as for some undergraduate homework assignments. But after Bologna, even a bachelor’s thesis is expected to be much more creative and scientifically demanding than such a mere reproduction. So I think these advices reveal a lot about the underlying mindset.
Scientific work seems to be still seen as a cognitivist black box that consumes input and produces output, without much thinking (in a connectivist way) about it…
Regarding the think tools software, I wonder which application type will sooner provide the necessary integration of visual and verbal aspects: The visual ones like mindmaps? or the verbal ones like OneNote? for which I recently responded to a similar call for wishes. Another responder, however, was skeptical and suspects (2nd comment) that they are complementary products and neither want to get on each other’s turf, so that both companies are happy — but the user is not.