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The conceptual mapping process, an atlas of relationships

Managing complexity means managing interactions, describing systems of relationships. Summarising a work meeting involves linking ideas that have analogies. Dealing with a vast amount of information means having a navigational tool for moving between concepts. These are example of fields of application of conceptual mapping supported by free software financed by the FPH. It is called “Desmodo” and has been developed by a company called Exemole.

Using a resource site, the objective of this project is to organise information via a “mapping” approach. It aims to structure information into a coherent interrelated ensemble of key ideas based on a thesaurus.

A thesaurus is never just a simple list of key words, be they in alphabetical order or sorted by alphabetical or permuted order (sorting by each word in a given expression). In accordance with the ISO 2788 norm, a thesaurus is defined as “The vocabulary of a controlled indexing language formally organised so that the a priori relationships between concepts (for example as "broader" and "narrower") are made explicit ». In general this deals with three types of relationship: equivalence, hierarchical and associative.

The participants in this project developed an organisational methodology of concepts and their links via cartography. In this way they have been involved in a research approach for several years that combines information research in data banks, the learning process and the bringing together of key concepts and their visualisation.

This project of conceptual cartography is also called an “atlas of relationships”, in order to underline the importance of graphic and visual representation of relationships between terms and the evolution towards a system that allows people to move from one term to another more easily while maintaining an overview and being able to situate themselves. The development will combine the experience of the creation of the thesaurus with that of the cartographers, while also taking the multicultural and linguistic dimensions and general diversity into account. All this is aimed at providing users with a concerted vision of the world.

The ultimate aim is to provide Internauts with access to different aspects and dimensions of questions in map form (on which people can click to navigate between ideas). This will be based on prior reflection aimed to help guide Internauts in their discovery or in-depth study of knowledge on a given theme.

This relationship atlas is developed for the dph, Irénées, the FPH and the partenaires resource sites. The ultimate objective is to allow strategic navigation between each of these and other resource sites.

The Desmodo software: www.desmodo.net.

Cf also the Exemole company: www.exemole.fr

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