Web voyages by mind map

New in Mind-mapping.org are two tools to help show related web sites with their connections shown visually: Pearltrees and Trailmeme. Just the kind of stuff we like!

Their purposes are closely related, and that prompted me to take a broader look in this post at the ‘map the web’ scene and three quite different approaches.  But first the two recent additions to The Master List:


Pearltrees works on a tree hierarchy, mind map style, to arrange links to web pages, with each page being represented by one of those little blue ‘pearls’.  Pages linked to need not be from one site.  You can build a map of pages around a particular topic and publish it at the Pearltrees site or embed it in your own just by adding some code generated at the Pearltrees site.

On a web page it looks like this:

Mouse over a pearl and you’ll see a thumbnail preview.  Click a pearl and the page opens, but it’s in a frame, so you will still be in control of Pearltrees – click the ‘pearltrees’ icon at the bottom left, and you’re back at the map.  Here’s a map of some of my pages when not embedded and therefore in a larger window.

Pearltrees encourages team working to build and improve a web map.

You may have seen comments that this is ‘a new mind mapping tool’ but that is only partly true, because nodes are limited to web links – you cannot mind map a plan or ideas with Pearltrees, that’s not what it was designed for.  Adding a web page as a pearl is easy though, with a bookmarklet, or by drag and drop.


Trailmeme takes another approach to layout and connections. You are not bound to a hierarchy, but can make cross connections, as you would in a concept map.  Trailmemes can be embedded in WordPress sites, but requires a plug-in.  I decided not to add it here, just for one post. 

Mouse over a node at the live site here: a map of some of my pages – and you’ll see some more information about the page.  Double-click a node and the page opens, as with Pearltrees it is in a frame.  It provides Next and Previous links, so the person who made the map can guide you through it, or you can explore directly from the map.   Multiple links forward or back are handled with a drop-down of choices. 

As with Pearltrees, pages linked-to need not be from one site.


SpicyNodes has been in Mind-Mapping.Org since 2009.  It shows yet another approach.  It limits maps to a hierarchy, and shows just one or two levels at a time, but allows free movement around a virtual map that can be large and complex.  An important difference is that you have more flexibility in Node content – files can be included as well as links.  You can embed these at your blog or site.

These are all useful ways of displaying your collection of bookmarks or pages on your own sites in a visual arrangement that shows how the collection of pages is related, and that’s always a useful improvement on straight lists.

Comment here if you know any other sites to help build pages that lay out related portions of the Web visually with nodes and edges (connecting lines) and  I’ll update this post.


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2 Replies to “Web voyages by mind map”

  1. Vic, really interesting post on new tools that in your words facilitate “web voyages that mind map the web”. I think your descriptions were excellent. Your Pearltrees account is also very interesting. I’m going to be keeping it in mind to push out to our user base when we send out our next newsletter that spotlights really interesting pearltrees.

    I think you’ve really nailed it when you suggest that what Pearltrees (and even these other tools) do is to mind-map the web. Although as a company we try to stay away from the mind-mapping metaphor because it tends to confuse people with respect to what we actually do the underlying idea – allowing humans to organize the web based upon interest and with the added layer of providing context for related content.

    As the Chief Evangelist for Pearltrees I’m very interested in learning about the members of our community so if you’d ever like to have a more in depth conversation it would be my pleasure to chat with you. You can get me directly at oliver dot starr @ pearltrees dot com

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