Thinking out loud: Mapping what I know

I want to map what I know.

I want to make what I know more findable. The reverse-chronological order of blog posts isn’t enough organization. Search is useful, but it’s not enough. I want to make it easier for people to learn my skills or take over my role so that we can all do more than I can do myself. In order to do that, I need to make it easier for people to browse and learn.

I want to map the gaps so that I can see what else I need to reflect on and write about. I want to write what I’ve learned before I take too much for granted. Mapping my knowledge is one way to figure out what else is missing. Answering people’s questions is another way. This is one of the reasons why mentoring is useful.

My ideal would be a visual, expanding map of what I know, with links to additional resources. It would distinguish between things I’m actively learning about and things I’ve archived. It would be easy to update. It would be easy to cross-reference. People could browse it from the top down, or they could search it. It would be back-linked from my blog so that people could see the context of what I’ve posted.

It’s challenging to think about that map in full, but I can start building small pieces of it. People ask me about exploring interests and passions, improving productivity, delegating, being positive, and connecting with others. I can use a mindmap to organize my thoughts as well as previously published resources. As I expand the map, the bigger picture will emerge.

This will be fun!

Have you come across people with similar goals? I’d appreciate any pointers to role models!

  • I had a similar idea, what I was thinking was instead of a Blog which is chronological, was to use a WIki combined with a blog, like a Bliki (somewhat like Martin Folwer of Refactoring book fame).

    However, the current challenge is there is no ideal visualization tool for it, but you do have the data to create the mind map as needed.

    I think Drupal would be the ideal tool to do it since it has both Wiki and Blog components available to it.

    • I used to keep a wikiblog, which was very helpful. =) I like WordPress for blogging a bit more than I like Drupal’s flexibility. I’ll keep WordPress as the blogging infrastructure, but I’ll experiment with overlaying mindmaps and wiki pages on top of it. Who knows, I might yet go back to using Emacs to publish my indices. ;) That’d be fun!

  • I’m working on something that might be close to what you’re looking for. It’s essentially a semantic wiki for knowledge management and does support embedding of mindmaps as well. I use it for journaling, life logging, knowledge management, learning (ple – personal learning environment), etc.

    I’ll have a demo online very shortly so stay tuned if you’re interested.

  • Eric: Awesome! Looking forward to it. Subscribing to your blog, too. I’m sure I’ll learn tons from it! =D

  • Have you tried with Deepah Mehta? I know this is a java software more suitable for a desktop organizing of objects connected something like as a mind map but without the limitant of just one parent node.

    I’d like to see this idea implemented, something like the real way our neurons are connected and ARE our minds.

  • I’ve come across Deepa Mehta before, but I haven’t tried it extensively. Might check it out again. Thanks!