I am a software evangelist. I admit it. I get super excited when I find something that works for me and become convinced that the life of almost everyone I know could be improved if they adopted the same thing. For that reason, I expect that this post on software will be only the first of many.
VUE stands for Visual Understanding Environment and is an Open Source mindmapping program from Tufts University*. They say, “VUE provides a flexible visual environment for structuring, presenting, and sharing digital information.” Basically, it gives you a blank screen and a very limited number of buttons, and lets you make pretty boxes and circles with words or pictures in them and then draw lines between them. It’s what you probably learned to do with paper and crayons in the lesson on Brainstorming in elementary school. But you can keep it on your computer for future reference in your notes (as a static .jpg or .pdf or editable .vue file).
Like most mindmapping tools, you can use it to share information (to create a flowchart for a publication for example), but I think it’s at it’s best in the thinking process. In the example above I was using it to prepare for a presentation on gendered discourses in sex education at the Society for Medical Anthropology conference in 2009.
In conclusion, I highly recommend it!
*Seriously, Tufts has the best free stuff – as an ancient Greek major in college the Perseus Project was my best friend.