Continuing on the theme of visual content delivery tools from my previous post, I have just added Instagrok and Graph Words to Mind-Mapping.Org.
This is a browser-based tool for exploring subjects visually, with information culled from right across the web. It presents a visual breakdown of the chosen topic in a bubble diagram and includes small images and video icons that when clicked, enlarge and where appropriate, play.
Hovering over each bubble displays text from the source (and a direct link to the source).
On the left of the window, is a tab marked “More…” – click on that and you’ll find a trove of additional material related to the chosen topic: Key facts, web sites, videos, images, quizzes and a glossary.
The bubble diagram is force-directed, so you can drag the bubbles around at it will and it adjusts accordingly. Click on a bubble and the map is re-centered around that node. Click on an image and it enlarges and gives details – similarly for a video, which will play.
Instagrok draws its information from multiple sources – Wikipedia, as you would expect, but many others like Answers.com, YouTube, Britannica.com, BusinessInsider, Foursquare and many more. Importantly, it lists its sources for each item displayed.
Intriguingly, there is a 3-position ‘Difficulty slider’ which adjusts material presented according to the depth of knowledge required to understand it.
This is a free web service, with Amazon advertisements down the right-hand side, or for use without adverts, you can pay US$35 p.a.
This web service is an interesting contrast with InfoRapid Knowledge Portal, covered in my previous post. That, in my opinion makes much more attractive, usable and appealing maps but is limited to delivering whatever it can find in Wikipedia. That is a substantial source, if used carefully and backed up with an examination of primary sources, but InstaGrok draws on a far greater universe of reference.
Here is its entry in the Master List.
Graph Words is an online word mapper, similar to VisuWords and VisualThesaurus, and like those, it runs in your browser: Type a word into the “Draw thesaurus” box at the top of the page, and you’ll see connected words from WordNet, a free and publicly available database of English words from Princeton University. Here’s one for the word ‘map’.
- When you hover the cursor over one of the small dots, Graph Words provides a definition.
I find that VisuWords gives more comprehensive and useful results. But if you need a thesaurus and like mapped-out results, it’s good to have a second tool to fall back on when one doesn’t provide the word you’re looking for. Because VisualThesaurus is not free once you’ve exhausted the short trial period, and the results it gives almost match those from Graph Words, there seems no reason not to use the free one.
See more detail here in the Master List.