Let’s have a look at the language of laying out text in a visual, non-liner way, as a text space:
“modern word-forming element meaning “instrument for recording; that which writes, marks, or describes; something written,” from Greek -graphos “-writing, -writer” ” (Harper, etymonline.com)
“A diagram showing the relation between variable quantities, typically of two variables, each measured along one of a pair of axes at right angles.” (en.oxforddictionaries.com)
Graph (abstract data type)
“In computer science, a graph is an abstract data type that is meant to implement the undirected graph and directed graph concepts from mathematics. A graph data structure consists of a finite (and possibly mutable) set of vertices or nodes or points, together with a set of unordered pairs of these vertices for an undirected graph or a set of ordered pairs for a directed graph. These pairs are known as edges, arcs, or lines for an undirected graph and as arrows, directed edges, directed arcs, or directed lines for a directed graph. The vertices may be part of the graph structure, or may be external entities represented by integer indices or references.” (en.wikipedia.org)
This type of graph becomes a type of diagram:
“A simplified drawing showing the appearance, structure, or workings of something; a schematic representation” (en.oxforddictionaries.com)
And we can now look at different ‘maps’
1520s, shortening of Middle English mapemounde “map of the world” (late 14c.), and in part from Middle French mappe, shortening of Old French mapemonde, both English and French words from Medieval Latin mappa mundi “map of the world;” first element from Latin mappa “napkin, cloth” (on which maps were drawn), “tablecloth, signal-cloth, flag,” said by Quintilian to be of Punic origin (compare Talmudic Hebrew mappa, contraction of Mishnaic menaphah “a fluttering banner, streaming cloth”) + Latin mundi “of the world,” from mundus “universe, world” (see mundane).” (etymonline.com)
“Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts.” (Joseph D. Novak & Alberto J. Cañas, cmap.ihmc.us)
So far so simple and plain, something anyone coming to the system could naturally do. However, Concept Maps have other design constrained. (From same web page):
- Concept is a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label.
- The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used.
- Propositions are statements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed.
- Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement.
- Sometimes these are called semantic units, or units of meaning. Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics.
So this complicated, constrains and gives more power for specific use-cases.
Topic Maps represents information similarly to Concept Maps using the following elements (wikipedia):
- Topics representing any concept, from people, countries, and organizations to software modules, individual files, and events,
- Associations representing hypergraph relationships between topics, and
- Occurrences representing information resources relevant to a particular top
A hierarchical Concept Map with a central node.
Digital Desktop Notes
“Desktop notes are computer applications that allow putting Post-it note-like windows on the screen, with reminders, short notes and other clippings. They are typically rectangular and yellow, like their real-world counterpart, but most applications support other colours and more elaborate designs.” (en.wikipedia.org)
These get a bit closer to the basic casual interaction I am talking about.
All this means is that we are looking to develop something new, something as simple as text connected with lines (ala Scapple, which I use for my work on the Interactive Text Space) combined with rich interactivity and connection possibilities.