[FoRK] Mindmaps

Ken Meltsner meltsner
Wed Jun 29 18:49:02 PDT 2005

Hierarchical outlines are the worst way to capture knowledge, except
all of the others -- Timothy Lethbridge did a dissertation on this a
long time ago and showed that an outline approach was superior to the
then-popular graphical tree displays (IIRC).


I think the solution is to allow multiple hierarchies by building off
of tags.  Tag items, build hierarchies with tags, organize items based
on one of the hierarchies.  If you name the hierarchies, you end up
with a relatively flexible modelling tool. If you don't like outlines,
start with the items, and let the tags drive the structuring.

Of course, my skills and time are inadequate to the task.  Too bad,
since I'd like to have a tool like this.

Ken Meltsner


" Lethbridge, T. C. (1991, May). "A Model for Informality in Knowledge
Representation and Acquisition",  Proc. DARPA-sponsored Workshop on
Informal Computing, Santa Cruz: Incremental Systems, pp. 175-177.

"This extended abstract summarizes how we are handling informality as
a fundamental aspect of our paradigm for knowledge representation (KR)
and acquisition (KA). We have developed this paradigm as a result of
several years of experience with industrial application of our
research KA system CODE [SKUC 89]. One of the most striking
observations from this experience is that people need to be able to
work at any level of formality (or informality), and to freely mix
such levels. Among various things, our paradigm attempts to systemize
the formality spectrum in knowledge based systems. "

 Lethbridge, T.C. (2000), "Evaluating a Domain-Specialist Oriented
Knowledge Management System", International Journal of Human-Computer
Studies, to appear

"We discuss the evaluation of a tool designed to allow domain
specialists to manage their own knowledge base. We present the
evaluation as a two-phase process: In the first phase we assess
whether the tool has met its objectives of allowing those not trained
in logical formalisms to effectively represent and manipulate
knowledge in a computer. By studying use of the tool by its intended
users, we conclude that it has met this objective. In the second phase
of the evaluation, we assess what aspects of the tool have in fact led
to its success. To do this we study what tasks are performed by users,
and what features of both knowledge representation and user interface
are exercised. We find that features for manipulating the inheritance
hierarchy and naming concepts are considered the most valuable. Our
overall conclusion is that tool research must involve this two-phase
approach if the others are to learn from the work -- the research has
much less value unless it can be determined which features should most
profitably be adopted by others."

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