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What is 'FreeMind'?

FreeMind is a mind-map application that is free to download and is written in Java.

A Mind-map is a diagram that explicitly, but somewhat informally, records concepts and the associations between them. I say that it is "informal" to distinguish a mind-map from an ontology, which places a greater emphasis on developing a systematic and reusable semantics for the knowledge structures. A mind-map is much more lightweight; you might say a mind-map application is like a simple text editor for knowledge: easy to use and good for recording an idea quickly and moving on to the next task. An ontology editor is more like a word processing system: more powerful and the results are prettier, but it takes longer to understand the tool and it takes more effort to finish the task.

According to the authors, here is what FreeMind is commonly used for:

  • Keeping track of projects, including subtasks, state of subtasks and time recording
  • Project workplace, including links to necessary files, executables, source of information and of course information
  • Workplace for internet research using Google and other sources
  • Keeping a collection of small or middle sized notes with links on some area which expands as needed. Such a collection of notes is sometimes called knowledge base.
  • Essay writing and brainstorming, using colors to show which essays are open, completed, not yet started etc, using size of nodes to indicate size of essays. (Not one map per essay, but one map for all essays.)
  • Keeping a small database of something with structure, which is either very dynamic or not known in advance. The main disadvantage of such approach when compared to traditional database applications are poor query possibilities, but I use it that way anyway - contacts, recipes, medical records etc. You learn about the structure from the additional data items you enter. For example, different medical records use different structure and you do not have to analyze all the possible structures before you enter the first medical record.
  • Commented internet favorites or bookmarks, with colors and fonts having the meaning you want.

For more information on FreeMind, visit the FreeMind Website.

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