Different icons used in the visual language provided with Compendium.
A very different Compendium map, from an e-science field trial with NASA: geologists (simulating human exploration of Mars) dragged+dropped in photos of rock samples, which were then clustered, annotated with notes and queries as to how the data related to scientific hypotheses, and then passed back to colleagues on 'Earth' for their additional contributions to the discussion [report] [demos].
What Compendium Can Do
The Compendium tool, whose development is based at the Open
University (in collaboration with Verizon, NASA and the Cognexus Institute), can be used to capture the key ideas in meetings using an approach called Dialogue Mapping. However, as demonstrated in the Introductory Compendium screencast, there are many ways to use Compendium to index a meeting, starting with simple personal notes.
A Dialogue Map visualizes discussions (and links to relevant documents) as a
conceptual network that grows during a meeting, and across meetings, as
a collective memory resource. Compendium's three distinguishing features
are its visual notation, user interface, and hypermedia
- The visual notation of nodes and links, used to map key
issues, possible responses and relevant arguments, is a powerful aid in
questioning assumptions, recognising and integrating different
perspectives, and building collective ownership of decisions and their
- The user interface is optimised for real time use in
meetings, to capture and reflect back to participants the structure of
ideas as they emerge, in maps that can be used as time-based semantic
annotations if the meeting is being recorded.
- Maps are not 'flat'
drawings, but views onto a relational database which can be rendered in
multiple formats. A node can appear and be updated in multiple views,
and be assigned user-defined semantic tags, providing a flexible medium
for managing connections between nodes across different contexts. Nodes
can link to any application document or URL dragged and dropped into a
map, so an external document can be linked into a discussion.
Simon Buckingham Shum
Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University,
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
Tel: 01908 655723; Fax: 01908 653169