A research buddy just turned me on to a new research tool. This one,, is a mindmapping tool. In this way, one creates an account (or not) and can then add a bubble thought and branch off new ideas to create an entire sheet. The sheet can then be shared with friends, emailed, exported, or (as shown below) added to a Web page. This is an example of where I currently am in forming my research question, feel free to zoom and drag the image around in the fixed window:

While a mighty cool tool, my initial thought was that it might not work well for me, at least not for taking notes on a read, since I tend to take copious notes and often tangent an idea into a few paragraphs of ideas (many of which have made it as blog posts). While the tool does not prevent longer entries within a given bubble, it does not seem logical, spatially, to have multiple bubbles with a ½ page of text on each. That said, I am still playing with how I can make this work best for me; it may make sense to create many pages, some with only a few large, detailed bubbles and link these to other sheets.

I mention this tool here in part to share with others that which was shared with me. However, I also see it is a sort of unique example of another 2.0 new media. It is a way to make physical ideas that might be ruminating in my head and form a mind mapping sheet. While this concept is not so new, what this offers me, because it is an online digital form, is much of the same control I’d have over trying to organize such ideas on something like sticky notes and a bit more.

I have great control over the bubbles I create. I can move them around by dragging, change the size (albeit that is pretty automatic, based on the amount of text one includes), change the colour or hierarchical level, etc. I can even form additional ties from one bubble to another.

While creating an account is not required to use this tool, in doing so, I can save them and, being in the cloud, can access them from anyplace. In this way, with the fact that I can grant various levels of access to individual, it becomes collaborative. Coworkers, fellow students, instructor/student combos could work together on a sheet, it could be placed on a site, or even on a wiki or CMS, since it is an exportable file.

Colour me impressed and pleased with this one. I am going to continue working with this and hope it serves me well for the next couple years of research and beyond.

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