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Archive: Historical Documents about Compendium


This page contains a number of older documents describing Compendium at various points in its history.

About Compendium




Microsoft Visio

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Excel


About Compendium

Compendium is the semantic hypertext concept mapping tool at the heart of the Compendium methodology. It is the result of over 15 years' continual research, deployment and development of a tool to support the real time mapping of discussions in meetings, collaborative modelling, and the longer term management of this information as organizational memory.

Compendium was initially developed in Verizon research labs as a next generation version of the QuestMap product (read more) which provided software support for the widely recognised IBIS methodology (Issue-Based Information System), as embodied in Dialog Mapping by CogNexus Institute.

Compendium is arguably the most advanced IBIS mapping tool available, but goes much further with the addition of extensive support for web publishing, integration with other applications, support for multiple methods, and other advanced functionality. Verizon, CogNexus, and other Compendium practitioners are now collaborating with the Knowledge Media Institute at the Open University (UK) who are developing the software further and integrating it with other collaboration technologies (see their eScience CoAKTinG project).

Compendium is a robust system, used for real work, but not a commercial product. Its first free public release, of v.1.2, occurred in January 2003, followed by many other releases. The source code became freely available in 2004.

HTML Interfaces

Compendium allows a variety of HTML exports to be created through the GUI. With a few clicks, users can specify any number of views and produce web pages (or whole sites) with options such as graphics, links to external URLs, left navigation bars, clickable containing views at the node level, clickable metadata/tags/codes on the node level, etc.

Note: The examples below are from early versions of Compendium. The Web Export capabilities have advanced substantially since then. See our Showcase page for examples.

The samples below show two different export formats for the same Compendium content.

  • Here is a sample of an HTML Outline export. This generates a more conventional looking representation of the concept maps, which some users prefer to use when circulating output from meetings to participants who aren't used to maps (e.g the outline can be imported into a Word document, or converted to a PDF). Some users set up map templates with the specific intention of generating HTML Outline websites with a particular look and feel. In this role, Compendium becomes not only a hypertext structure management tool, but a visual authoring tool for a database-driven website.

  • Here is a sample of the HTML Views export to interactive image maps, which is an early version of the Requirements Specification for Compendium. The maps display in the web browser exactly as they do in the Java client, with clickable nodes, rollover detail preview, rollover tag preview, and navigation of transclusions. Maps are read-only, but there is increasing demand for a web-writeable interface...

  • Here is an example of a 'full export' to all formats from Compendium, in this case, reporting the outputs from a conference working group and plenary session.


The Digital Document Discourse Environment (D3E) can be used to transform an exported HTML outline from Compendium into a website for asynchronous threaded discussion about the ideas from a meeting.

D3E generates a Web user interface in which the document is tightly linked to discussion threads. Readers can click in the document to quickly see who has commented on a given issue, switching smoothly between reading and interaction. This makes it possible to circulate the results of a meeting captured in Compendium to a wider audience to solicit feedback on a familiar, hierarchical document structure via a threaded discussion interface.

D3E Interface Image


Exporting from a Compendium template to a data flow diagram in Microsoft Visio (and into a corresponding software requirements document using a Microsoft Word template).

Note: The Visio and Word interfaces seen in the example below were custom Visual Basic for Applications code developed by Al Selvin and Bea Zimmermann at Bell Atlantic in 1999. It is not part of the current Compendium software, though it could be easily recreated.

Visio Interface Image


A hierarchical concept map in Compendium is exported into an indented, textual outline which can be directly imported into Word to be manipulated as an outline structure, or further reformatted.

Note: The example below is from an early version of Compendium. The Web Export capabilities have advanced substantially since then, allowing much more elegant formatting in Word and other programs. See our Showcase page for examples.

Compendium to Word Image


Drag and drop from Microsoft Excel to import content. If you name a table with row and column headings, and then drag from the corner of the table into Compendium, it will prompt if you wish this to be converted into an issue template, as illustrated below. Your Excel information is now in the form of hypertext nodes which can be tagged, annotated, discussed and transcluded within Compendium.


QuestMap was an award-winning product for mediating meetings through Visual Information Mapping. Compendium extends QuestMap's functionality, with an open architecture for greater interoperability.

QuestMap originated from the pioneering hypertext system built by Jeff Conklin in the mid-1980s, whose team at MCC developed gIBIS for capturing software
design rationale, and then went on to build QuestMap. QuestMap maps can be imported into Compendium, preserving details such as authors, dates and transcluded objects.

Questmap Image

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