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Concept Maps

This is a menu of the topics on this page (click on any): What is a Concept Map    A Variety of Concept Maps are Available    Views    New Technology   .

Ever since Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press nearly six centuries ago, people have been organizing information page by page. Even in the computer age, they are organizing data on web pages.

That perplexed researchers at the University of West Florida's Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, which is dedicated to making computers more useful and user friendly. Alberto Canas, its associate director, heads a team of researchers that has taken a learning tool called Concept Mapping, developed with paper and pencil in the 1970's, and turned it into a pageless browser. (text from Associated Press & Boca Raton News, 12/31/00)

Another project is underway at the University of Illinois.

These two efforts differ in one important respect. The University of West Florida's "Concept Maps" are created by people seeking to describe complex ideas. The University of Illinois project presents information maps which present the results of an Internet search. The U of I maps are created under program control, not by a person.

The illustrations presented here show that it is a profound tool for exploring or presenting very complex ideas or issues.

What is a Concept Map

There appear to be half a dozen Concept Maps in existence (which are built upon the software available from the University of West Florida), though some have dozens of subsidiary Concept Maps.

A Variety of Concept Maps are Available

A "Server" is a computer location that has the possibility of delivering content to people seeking information with web browsers. The following two servers have Concept Maps. Please remember that a Concept Map can have many subsidiary Concept Maps. You can explore a labyrinth of Concept Maps in each of these illustrations.

Views

Another way to describe a Concept Map is that it is a two-dimensional view of a complex system. It includes only those parts of the system which are useful for exploring a particular idea.

It might be said that every Concept Map has one or more features that make it special. For example, one Concept Map currently being discussed will have a special feature that every page can have its own synonyms and antonyms. Every page can have links to the pages that reinforce the idea and to the pages that challenge or contradict the idea.

New Technology

The particular technology by which we are pursuing the ability to create concept maps in a way that is not labor intensive is "scaleable vector graphics". Adobe is one of the leaders in the development of adobe.com/svg/. SVG graphics require a viewer which can be downloaded from the Adobe website.

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