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VUE and FreeMind - some considerations  XML
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Joined: 10/29/2011 05:51:58
Messages: 5


Here a few considerations on my experience with the VUE and FreeMind. I am curious to see if other users made similar experiences or see things differently.
As it is quite a long post, let's start with the conclusion. If you wonder how I came to it, read the rest...


I think that FreeMind and VUE are great implementation of two different and complementary concepts. I would not like to choose between one or the other solution, but I would like to be able to jump from one to the other freely. For that, unless I missed something, there are not much possibilities at that stage. Conceptually, exporting FreeMinds to VUE should really not be a big deal, as a tree structure can be simply created in VUE. The other way around is not generally possible (from a conceptual point of view), as FremMind offers by definition less dimensions than VUE. There, a process similar to pathway creation would be required to make it possible.
From a current implementation standpoint, it is possible to drag and drop a tree from FreeMind to VUE, but the whole tree gets concatenated in one node. In the other direction, the only possibility I found was to copy the text of a node in VUE and paste it in FreeMind as a new node. So unless I missed something, it is not possible to move data efficiently from one software to the other.

I wonder if some people share the same considerations. Looking forward for an interesting discussion.

How did I came to this conclusion?

I've been using FeeMind for a while for mind mapping, mainly during brainstorming, also in business environment. I was long convinced that it was the best tool to gather, structure and organize ideas. Trying to use it for organizing ideas for a master thesis, I ran into some limitations. The issue is actually not with the software, but more with the mind map concept itself. As tree structure, it is a great to to support creativity by concept association (typically during brainstorming). It is also very good to organize information in a hierarchical manner prior to concatenate it in a linear document, for instance chapters organization prior to writing a book. But when it comes to draw and analyze the relations between several concepts of similar importance, mind maps quickly reach there limits. Concept of similar importance end up as node around the central theme of the mind map, but multi-dimensional relations between them cannot been properly represented. That's where concept maps are more flexible.

I came to the conclusion that both mind maps and concept maps (mind maps could somehow be seen as a subset of concept maps: hierarchical concept maps) are useful in a process of creating / gathering concepts and organizing them. The process of writing a document could look like the following.

1 start with a mind map to gather concepts on a specific topic
2 analyze the relations between the selected concepts in a concept map
3 structure the argumentations resulting of 2 in a mind map
4 Write the paper.

Of course, some loops between 1 and 2 would eventually make sense to deepen the analysis.

The question is what are the best tools to efficiently implement the process.

I think that FreeMind is the best tool for 1 and 3. For 1, it allows very fast gathering of data in an interactive matter, with a very intuitive navigation and simple keyboard shortcuts. The rather simple hierarchical structure of mind maps surely helps implementing such features. For 3 the hierarchical logic corresponds to the structure of written paper. Hence, export to word processing software is quite straightforward and free mind is a great tool to go from 3 to 4.

For step 2, FreeMind lacks the flexibility requested. IMO it is not an issue with the software, but a natural consequence of the mind map concept. VUE is much more efficient at that stage. Just because it is a concept map tool, and not a mind map tool. The logic of "pathways" is also great, and corresponds to the step to go from 2 to 3. Kind of bringing a multi-dimensional concept map back to one dimension (or actually 1,5 dimension if you consider sub-chapters as 0,5 dimension...) and therefore making it possible to write a document. The conceptual limitation is that you can only have one dimension, you could get the main titles of your work that way. But no chance to have the sub-chapters.

Conclusion: see above :-)


This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 12/04/2011 04:49:32

Jeffrey Miller


Joined: 08/17/2009 15:58:54
Messages: 23
Location: Denver, Colorado

Yes, I've come to a similar conclusion. In my work as a teacher, I've found far more utility (student metacognition) while working in concept map mode rather than mind map as there is just so much more flexibility. What about this: Allow for a portion of a VUE map to be walled off to use in mind map mode so one could use the ease of mind mapping and transfer the ideas to the more complex concept map environment? Does that make sense, DH?

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ~Lao Tzu

Joined: 10/29/2011 05:51:58
Messages: 5

Hi Jeffrey,

thanks for your input. Yes, I think your proposal make sense. I guess that more user input is needed if this is to become a part of VUE's development. Let's see if some more user share the same ideas.

fred cloudt

Joined: 01/15/2009 09:21:09
Messages: 13

I also use both programs (next to Compendium). Integration in one or another way would be very beneficial. Currently I just link in one map to another map but this is not hte real thing.
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