The folks at Context Discovery have long been developing products that use their Summarizer engine to analyze text syntactically, pull out keywords and present related sentences under each keyword. Their different products vary by source and output form. Three of these are the latest addition to Mind-Mapping.Org, and the last in the series I’ve been doing on products that use mind maps to deliver fixed content derived from analysis of web pages or other documents.
The output of Context Discovery products can be text oriented, a word cloud or laid out graphically as mind maps. I’m reviewing just the product variations that make mapped presentations because the others fall outside the scope of Mind-Mapping.Org.
The first is WebSummarizer, which works in a browser. Here’s an example of its output, using one of its modules called Wikipedia Visual Knowledge Map:
You view the map initially in the browser, but you can export the analysis it produces to HTML, Rich Text Format (tree view only), MindManager, XMind, iThoughts and MindGenius formats. You need an account to use most export options. WebSummarizer has several choices of input source and four modules, accessed by tabs along the top of the working area. All those source and output options are a bit much to take in, so let’s go visual* for a clearer view:
So for input, you can have a web page URL, a block of your own text that you paste in, a file (PDF, Word, TXT and others) and a chosen topic from Wikipedia.
The example map shown earlier was from the Wikipedia Visual Knowledge Map module. This draws on a database of 3 million summarized Wikipedia pages. The other two Wikipedia modules let you see a summaries map focused on a single Wikipedia page for your chosen topic – Summarize Wikipedia article – or a map to show summaries from the most relevant Wikipedia articles related to your topic – Wikipedia Knowledge Base.
The second product with mapped output is XmindSummarizer – an add-in for Xmind. This is actually produced by a partner organization of Context Discovery, specializing in Xmind add-ons.
With this, you select a topic in an Xmind mind map, and click on the ‘Summarize by topic’ button. Then it will either map the keywords determined from the Wikipedia entry if there is one, or if the topic includes a full URL, it will visit that page and summarize that by keywords. Summaries can be created from web pages in English, German, French and Spanish with the language being detected automatically. There are hints that the languages covered may be extended to Japanese, Korean and Chinese.
Within Xmind, under Edit > Preferences there is a new entry: Smart Extensions > Summarizer that sets out the customization options. The most important of these is to specify the language for word definitions from Wikipedia. At present you can choose from the same four mentioned above.
My experience suggests that XmindSummarizer is product that has not yet reached maturity. For example, ‘Undo’ does not work; and I have used this with about ten topics, of which two failed to produce results. The first caused a hang but was fixed when I reported it and now works. I just found and reported the second, for the topic ‘Water’ which produced no results. WebSummarizer pulls in a comprehensive summary for ‘Water’ as you can see from the example at the beginning of this post. As both draw on the same Wikipedia database, I was surprised that ‘Water’ came up blank in XmindSummarizer.
There is another product: Context Organizer Personal, but I understand this to be a legacy product for the desktop. For this, you choose at installation time whether to configure the Web, Office or MindManager option. Only the last of these produces graphic output and this option only works up to MindManager v.9 and it is being phased out, though still supported for existing users. I’ll pass over this, but felt it was worth letting you know where it fits in Context Discovery’s product list.
You need to try these to see if they fit your needs. Myself, I find that I get more out of the task of reading a document and mapping it out, than I do when passing it to software to do the job for me. You may get a different result. You can try WebSummarizer on a 14-day free trial basis or go to the demo pages to try fixed topics.
* In case anyone asks about the tool I used to make the inputs and outputs diagram, I’ll anticipate the question: It was made with ASCiiFLOW and Ditaa – I came across Vic’s review of these while browsing his old posts, and thought this would be a good opportunity to use it for real.