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July 14, 2006


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Chris Saad

Love the article Mike!
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Arnold Villeneuve

Thematic Mapping of Unstructured Text with MindManager Provides Contextual Zones

Mindjet's MindManager does a fantastic job extracting a mind map from a Microsoft Word document that has really good structural formatting. When an author creates a Microsoft Word document with good Heading structure the Import into MindManager is excellent and the resulting mind map is superbly navigable. However, ask two people to create a document on the same subject and you can be sure they will use different formatting.

Furthermore, Heading based Formatting is not necessarily representative of thematic content. That is to say that the documents Table Of Contents will not take you to what is of interest to you but rather to what the author believes is important, in a structural sense. Can you rely on the Table Of Contents to help you find what is important to you within the document? I believe there are better ways of finding what you are looking for within a document that the document's Heading structure, and better yet, a better way of using MindManager to locate it.

It is estimated that over 90% of the data / information in the world is unstructured. I'm guessing here, but I suspect that less than 5% of that unstructured information is in the form of Microsoft Word documents. Of that 5% one can imagine that less than 10% have good formating that is applicable to MindManager in order to create great mind maps. What I am trying to point out is that the creation of mind maps based on heading formats, while a reasonable concept, is only one approach and is not enough. Most of the unstructured information in the world is unformatted. And if it is formated in some form or another, you can be sure that the format is not consistent.

And what about Adobe PDF files, Corel WordPerfect documents, plain text stored in Oracle / Open Text / Document Management / Content Management / Customer Relations Management systems? Many of them have not structure or what structure they do have is not universal and not parsed by MindManager.

I use Mindjet's MindManager every day and even teach people how to use the product. You could say that I am a MindManager fan. However, as a MindManager user I recognize that more needs to be done to make MindManager more relevant in the world of unstructured text given that there is a 90/10 ratio of unstructured text to structured text stored in the world. And a majority of the unstructured text is not formated to Microsoft Word with appropriate headings that lend well to mind mapping.

Is there another way to dynamicaly mind map unstructured text?

Thematic Mapping of Unstructured Text

One solution is to look at unstructured text based on the thematic content within it rather than the heading based formatting that may or may not be correct or even exist.

What if software could read a document and extract a thematic DNA signature from it?

What if a thematic structure could be expressed in a hierarchical fashion?

What if the extracted thematic structure could be used to navigate the document's contents in order to locate just the relevant informaiton you are interested in on a paragraph by paragraph level?

What if this thematic expression of the document could be represented in MindManager?

How does thematic expression of unstructured text work?

The company I work with specializes in information triage. www.cirilab.com The first phase of the information triage process is to analyze a document and determine the Major, Minor, and SubMinor themes within the document and build a hierarchical thematic DNA signature of the document. The hierarchical thematic DNA signature of the document is navigable in that you can locate information within the document by simply clicking on themes within the document's thematic signature. Here is an example of a Knowledge View of a document which contains the Thematic DNA Signature.


But enough of the complicated stuff. How does this translate to MindManager? Well, because our software creates a thematically hierarchical XML formatted view of the document, it can be migrated to MindManager and represented graphically in a mind map. The following document demonstrates how this is done.


The really interesting thing about this is that the Cirilab software creates a MindManager mind map based solely on the thematic content of the document and nothing else. The unstructured text document is allowed to express itself in a structured format and then is dynamically represented in a MindManager mind map.

Here is the original document:


Here is the Knowledge View of the same document:


Here is the same document represented in a thematic based MindManager based mind map:


I don't know. You let me know what you think of thematic based mapping of unstructured text within MindManager.

Arnold Villeneuve


Mike Gotta

Thanks Arnold, my co-worker Peter O'Kelly is working on a hypertext article so I'll pass this comment over to him. I'm sure he will find this information interesting and relevant to his document.

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