Head in the clouds
June 9, 2011 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Needs organizational tools to find organizational tools...

So I know there is this system where you can draw a circle, label it, then link lines from that circle to other circles, organizing thoughts and ideas. I thought this was called a "cloud", but when searching, "cloud" is now just a mass of off-site storage. Does anyone know what I'm referencing, and if there are any online or free applications of this type of tool?
posted by thatbrunette to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It's called mind mapping. Freemind is one free tool that you can do this with.
posted by Drama Penguin at 10:52 AM on June 9, 2011

Or wireframing. My SO uses OmniGraffle to do hers.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:59 AM on June 9, 2011

Cmapping? http://cmap.ihmc.us/
posted by Blake at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2011

You may also remember brainstorming for middle school essays using bubble maps. The topic is written in the center of the page and circled. The [3] main ideas are written around it, boxed, and attached to the circles with line. The supporting details for each main idea are written around them, often without a shape around them.

These are all variations of the same sort of "graphic organizer."
posted by jander03 at 11:48 AM on June 9, 2011

Mind mapping. If you're on a mac you could try MindNode. They have both a free and a paid version.
posted by Homo economicus at 1:18 PM on June 9, 2011

I spent some time evaluating various free mind-mapping/diagramming software a while back, and liked Freeplane the most. It's an offshoot of Freemind (mentioned by Drama Penguin) but I found it easier to use/edit the nodes compared to the other titles I tried. Like Freemind, Freeplane is free, open-source software and will run anywhere that supports Java (Windows, OS X, Linux).

For more options, here's a list of concept-mapping and mind-mapping software on Wikipedia -- it includes web-based ones as well.

You might also find the mind-mapping.org site helpful. e.g. it has a nice comparison of web-based mind-mapping software. There's also a category page for just free software (I found these category pages a little confusing at first -- for each screenshot/entry, click on the red icon with the white down-arrow in the upper-right corner to see a preview of the software's name and description; otherwise click on the little white circle with the black arrow to get to the entry's full page).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 7:55 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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