ReVisioning Trees

July 27th, 2010

A new blog post on the Shape of Thought blog takes an illustrated look at various trees which have appeared and reappeared in visual representations over the centuries. This complements some interesting pages on our SpicyNodes site on navigating maps, natural spaces, and browsing hierarchies.

The tree is history’s most enduring symbol, one that demonstrates beautifully how our visual representations are shaped by human perception.  We use shapes to visualize knowledge. These visualizations, in turn, shape the way we perceive the world.  Using the Shape of Thought Approach, we can see how history and the leading edge meet in a universal image that has transformed as humanity has transformed.


Seriously Mapping Arguments

July 23rd, 2010

Following up on our post about debates, Argunet is another tool for visualizing the structure of complex arguments and debates as a graphical network. The key value of Argunet is the restrictions it uses to try and produce clearly defined “argument maps”.
Argument maps may look like mind maps, but according to the Argunet FAQ, their maps are not freeform, but rather are intended to display a logical reconstruction and analysis of controversies and debates. They have a standardized layout, with specific colors and connectors to display the logic of which arguments are supported by or support other arguments. There are other constraints on the layouts to enforce clear reasoning.


Advice from Freelance Advisor

July 20th, 2010

Mel Dixon over at Freelance Advisor has a short post on SpicyNodes.

In essence, SpicyNodes allows you to create a ‘speech bubble’ interface where users can venture along whichever trail of information is relevant to them … And as many people who run their own business are keen to educate potential clients about what they do and why they are so brilliant at it, this tool could come in handy.
Check out her post.

Free, Easy and Useful Creation Tools from the New York Times Blog

July 12th, 2010

Digital is taking over the classroom, and computers and mobile devices are replacing heavy textbooks. But how do educators create content? The New York Times’ “Learning Network” blog has a nice summary of tools for visualizing texts, and making comics, timelines, interactive presentations, and brainstorming. SpicyNodes is not on the list yet, but we’re coming out of beta soon!

A Vue of Information

July 6th, 2010

The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is an Open Source visualization system for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s a concept and content mapping application specifically designed for educational settings. The team at Tuft University, who developed VUE with funding from the Mellon Foundation, call their visualizations “content maps” because nodes can be linked to various kinds of content, much like you can embed html, images and videos in SpicyNodes. See examples from their gallery, or a summary of features.


The Crossroads of Mind Maps and Art

June 28th, 2010

Most people have, at one time or another, taken pen to paper and started doodling, expressing thoughts in pictures, words, or a combination of both. Seeing images and words on paper can help you make connections, refine ideas, and understand how various factors affect the subject at hand. The folks at Mind Map Art take this process to a whole new level. Paul Foreman, using a hand drawn style, and Adam Sicinski, using a graphically generated style, offer a mind mapping creation service that transforms your concept map into art.

WordPress 3: Customized Taxonomies Have Arrived

June 23rd, 2010

If you use WordPress, you likely use the tag function to categorize your posts. While tagging is helpful, your visitors can still have a difficult time finding the information they need. Now, WordPress 3 offers the ability to create customized taxonomies that can more closely align with elements that remain the same from post to post. In other words, the information across posts can be categorized in a way that’s similar to fields in a form. WordCast offers a wealth of information on this new feature, along with links and video embeds that will walk you through Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies. 1st Web Designer has a useful tutorial, and Amber Weinberg offers insights on how to add multiple taxonomies to your posts, displaying tag clouds in your sidebar, and so forth.

Debategraph Visualizes Discourse

June 15th, 2010

As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story. But when it comes to the hot topics of the day – whether nuclear proliferation or the BP oil spill in the Gulf – two sides simply aren’t enough. That’s where Debategraph comes in. You don’t have to remember all of the nuances of a position or policy – you can see them.


Mind Mapping 101

June 11th, 2010

Sarah Beckham over at provides a nice overview of mind mapping and the way it enables us to see new connections and relationships between pieces of information. She draws upon the research of Katherine Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services at the University of Texas. Brooks works with job seekers to randomly write down their life experiences, and then find patterns that can lead to fulfilling career choices. She is quoted as saying that, with mind maps, “You see different patterns. It allows your mind to play with the information you already have, but in a different way.” MORE »

Thanks, Ziipa!

June 3rd, 2010

Ziipa showcases the best Web 2.0 websites, start-ups and applications.

SpicyNodes was recently featured on Ziipa, which showcases “the best Web 2.0 websites, start-ups, and applications.” Thanks!

, ,