The goal is to give you an ‘incredible interactive multidimensional thinking space’ where you can move your information around at will and see connections and relationships which might otherwise elude you, giving you more powerful ‘views’ of your knowledge – while authoring a document.
The Liquid View is not a stand-alone mind-map system, it is a powerful view of the text you have in your word processing document, particularly the headings, and toggle instantly back and forth into the Liquid View and the standard word processing view.
Visualisation & Walk-Through
The exact nature of which type of graph and which types of interactions are most useful in an academic setting is a major research component of the project.
The Liquid | View is similar to a concept map but does not need line descriptions or arrows and it is similar to a mind map but does not need to have a central node.
The Swiss clinical psychologist Jean Piaget (1896 -1980) provides the basic underpinnings for this work with an important perspective of how we learn: We first ‘assimilate’ all the information we come across, simply accepting and integrating it all into our internal mental map - our ‘schema’. The other stage happens when we come across information which either contradicts what we have already learnt or which lays outside it to the point where we have no reference to hook it onto our existing schema, a stage he called ’accommodation’.
This is the point of real thinking.
At this point we have to make a real cognitive effort to reject the new information as wrong/useless or irrelevant to our understanding or to accept that we should modify or delete aspects of our current schema. To do this all ‘in-brain’ can quickly become a momentous task, with too many variables interacting and this is where visualisation can support our ability to ‘see’ parts of our schema and ‘visualise’ how it fits with the competing information.
“Being able to move information chunks around, to group them and connect them makes “the process of making knowledge explicit, using nodes and relationships, allows the individual to become aware of what they know and as a result to be able to modify what they know.”
The Liquid | Information Project's Views is designed to provide valuable visualisation opportunities from launch, though the potential future developments are what's really exciting, something we can't even begin to understand before we really learn to intellectually play in this space.
The technical development in support of the allowing the interactions specified in the Criteria to be implemented:
Integration with Word Processor View
This needs to be possible without leaving the base text of your word-processing document which you can easily and universally share with anyone. It is not enough to build mind/concept map style views, they must be integrated into your workflow. It is crucially important to have more than one view of the same text as your main document:
• Word Processing: Linear, good density of text in a column, traditional for long-form writing. Not great for organising pieces of text.
• Liquid View: Non-Linear, good at organising pieces of text. Not great for traditional long-form writing.
& the ability to instantly and freely toggle between the two.