Family History Research using Mapping

September 30, 2007


 Information Mapping to assist with Family History Research

Anyone who has ever become involved in researching their Family History will know that it produces a volume of data.  You start by keeping paper records, you quickly move to a database created specifically for the job, you become adept at filing and organising.  However, even with family history software (I use Family Historian) and the best filing system going, it still becomes very difficult to be able to see “the wood from the trees”.  You end up with so many unfinished bits of research that it can become overwhelming.  Worse still, if you subscribe to any family history internet groups, new enquiries come in quite reguarly, which send you off in a totally different direction.

I have recently started using Mindjet’s MindManager 7.0 Pro (which is brilliant at visualising data) and have just realised that it is the answer to the problem.  I will now be able to go through the piles of “stuff to be done” and will be able to use colours and images to “list” everything.  However, because it will have visual images, I will be able to quickly see topics of a similar nature.  I will be able to delete things once they have been resolved (and updated onto the family history sofware) as well as being able to see whether any interesting lines of enquiry are appearing.  Family history is a bit like doing a very large jigsaw puzzle (without the picture as a clue) only it is more difficult because you don’t know how many pieces there should be and you don’t know what overall shape you are aiming for.  Therefore, by having a flexible, moveable image-based Information Map I will be able to keep everything in sight simultaneously and be able to filter so that I can concentrate on one aspect at a time.

I’m sure this could prove invaluable for anyone currently researching their family history.  You can try the software (MindManager) free for a 21 day trial period:


Information Mapping (when reading a Book) will save hours …

September 22, 2007

How Information Mapping when reading a Book will save hours of research/revision time

I do a lot of reading … in fact, I do so much reading that I really wish that I were paid to do the research I undertake because I would earn quite a tidy sum.   Fortunately  I thoroughly enjoy reading but, like many others I encounter the problem of remembering everything and being able to gain immediate access to a particular point or quote. 


That was my problem, until I started using Mindjet’s MindManager 7.0 Pro (free 21 day trial available) and then read Jamie Nast’s Book “Idea Mapping” which gave me the two skills I needed to combine with my Microsoft Office skills … all 3 parts came together and I have now transformed how I read / record / retrieve the knowledge from those books.

When I have a new book to read I start by creating a map (an Information Map), with the Central Theme as the Book’s title, including a photo of the jacket cover, with a link to a website about the book/author.

Each Chapter of the book becomes a main branch of the Information Map and I use colour and imagery (this knowledge came from Jamie Nast’s book, which I highly recommend) to bring to life the main emphasis of that Chapter and any sub-topics.  I learnt from Jamie that to be child-like is not childish and therefore I now use images and colour to aid my memory recall.

This takes concentration because you need to :

a)      read the words

b)      assimilate the knowledge

c)       summarise that knowledge

d)      capture “author’s quotes” (perhaps using the notes area)

e)      pause and reflect on the summarised knowledge
(is it a good enough summary to revise from or has something been missed out?)
If necessary repeat items a-e, until it is as good as it needs to be

f)       find images and colours to bring it to life to aid with future memory recall

g)      Integrate with Microsoft Office Outlook to create Tasks of action points arising

Although this requires concentration I have found that it is saving me considerable time .  True, it takes slightly longer to get through the book in the first place because of items c-g above, however, I am saving myself all that unnecessary (and frankly ridiculous) re-reading to find a suitable quote; re-reading to remember what was in the book; re-reading to prepare for revision prior to an Exam; searching for and trying to interpret the scribbled notes I had written! 

I used to re-read certain books several times if I was preparing for an Exam.  Now I know that I can use the above method to read a book just ONCE, provided that I concentrate and do items c-g whilst reading.

For anyone who needs to read and remember large amounts of information  whether for academic or business purposes, I would recommend this approach.


Below is my first attempt at this process which I developed whilst reading Jamie Nast’s book … whenever I want to recall the key points, I simply open the map and my eyes are drawn to the various images and colours … I can also filter certain topics so that I can concentrate my revision efforts on exactly what I want to review … one page containing everything I read … immediately accessible.



Pink for a Girl and Blue for a Boy …

September 21, 2007

Pink for a Girl and Blue for a Boy … and it’s all down to Evolution

[article by Martin Wainwright, The Guardian]

“Women’s fondness for the colour pink is so deeply embedded that it may have been shaped by evolutionary history, according to scientists whose study of colour preferences is published today.

Rather than marking a girlie approach to home decoration or cake-icing, the trait’s roots are more likely to lie in the struggle to find food in hunter-gatherer days, the researchers suggested.

Prehistoric women who zeroed in on red-coloured fruit would have been the star equivalents of male animal-slayers, according to two British neuroscientists, who have found a consistent liking for pink in surveys of women volunteers.”


Full article available:

Vision and Detail – stay focused

September 13, 2007

Harness The Complete Power And Benefits Of Microsoft Office™ 

Do you love Mind Maps but struggle to get your team to share your enthusiasm?    Are you a list-orientated person who, up until now, hasn’t seen a purpose for mindmapping? 

What would it be like if you could create a Mind Map (to stay focused on the VISION) and then export it to, say, Outlook™ or PowerPoint™ or Word™ or Project™ so that your team could work on the DETAIL

How brilliant would that be?  How much time would that save? 


 MindManager 7 Pro can help you make the most of your investment in Microsoft Office, turning once static words, numbers, and graphics into strong calls for action.   

Integrating Microsoft Office with MindManager 7 Pro gives you the power to:  

  • Improve project planning and status reporting with links to Microsoft Project™
  • Present multiple up-to-the-date Microsoft Excel™ spreadsheets in a single view
  • Create, import or export Microsoft Outlook™ items
  • Improve structure and content for Microsoft PowerPoint™ presentations
  • Find the most compelling way to deliver messages using Microsoft Word™
  • Export workflow processes into Microsoft Visio™

Full details available from:

World Class Skills by 2020

September 5, 2007

dius-logo.gifImplementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England

[article from DIUS – Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills]

“On Wednesday 18th July, the Government unveiled major new plans for making our nation a world class leader in skills by 2020, aimed at creating new opportunities for citizens and businesses, and delivering prosperity for all. The plan, World Class Skills: implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England is the Government’s response to the independent Leitch Review of Skills and sets out how Government will lead the country into a skills ‘revolution.’

Click here to download World Class Skills: implementing the Leitch Review of Skills in England (PDF file 921Kb). Alternatively, hard copies can be ordered from TSO by calling 0870 600 5522 or emailing, quoting ISBN reference: 978-0-10-171812-7.”

[article available at:]

Misuse of Information Technology

September 4, 2007


[article from The Telegraph Business Club]…

10 years of an average working life spent on email with over three years wasted.An EU-wide survey commissioned by Plantronics, Inc. from the Henley Management College’s Future Work Forum with Prof. David Birchall leading the investigation, provides new insight into how managers actually use information and communications technology (ICT) within their organisations and what impact the technology is having on the enterprise in general.

The survey makes uncomfortable reading for anyone who believed new technology would automatically break down the barriers to communication, transforming organisations for the better.

[full article at: including a link to a downloadable Report]

Positive Podcasting

September 3, 2007

Positive Podcasting
[ article received via TrainingZone]

There’s been a surge of interest recently in podcasting among learning and development professionals. Behind the hype, though, hard information seems hard to find. Donald H Taylor outlines some ways to get started and make your mark with podcasting.

Back in the Autumn of 2004, Godfrey Parkin wrote an introduction to podcasting for TrainingZone. The article closed perceptively:
“With a little vision and a willingness to experiment, I suspect that podcasting will rapidly find a valuable place in the already crowded chest of tools available to marketers and trainers.”Eighteen months later, Godfrey noted that while podcasts appear now to have hit the training mainstream, they are still generally misunderstood and often poorly executed. And he’s right. At first glance it does indeed seem that podcasting is now part of the training toolkit. IBM has a library of 2,700 training podcasts, and over a million downloads, while National Semiconductor has spent $2.5m on video iPods for all 8,500 employees.

But how well does this impressive performance match our own experience? Not very well. While blue-chip companies may have the resources to produce high-quality output, the general standard is indifferent at best, and many people who are interested in possibly using podcasts have little idea where to start. In fact, I’d argue that the variable quality of many podcasts stems from their production by a small group of enthusiasts, whose expertise ranges from highly professional all the way down.

And – crucially – there isn’t yet much sharing of podcasting expertise in learning and development. In June, Rob Foster asked the TrainingZone community for tips on corporate podcasting, and was underwhelmed by the response. About 450 read the question. Nobody replied.

[Full article available here]