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ThoughtMesh generates tags to connect scholarly essays published on different Web sites.
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Below, search titles, authors, and abstracts of all documents in ThoughtMesh
How to navigate essays
ThoughtMesh Essay Navigation View a demo of how to use tags to navigate in a single essay and across the mesh (opens in a new window).
How to tag an essay
Thoughtmesh Tag Generation View a demo of how to add your own writing to the mesh (opens in a new window).
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ThoughtMesh is an unusual model for publishing and discovering scholarly papers online. It gives readers a tag-based navigation system that uses keywords to connect excerpts of essays published on different Web sites.

Add your essay to the mesh, and ThoughtMesh gives you a traditional navigation menu plus a tag cloud that enables nonlinear access to text excerpts. You can navigate across excerpts both within the original essay and from related essays distributed across the mesh. More...

So let's say you are reading an essay on Modern art. You can pick a single word out of that essay's tag cloud- -say Picasso- -and view a list of all the sections from that essay that relate to Picasso. Or you can view a list of sections of other articles tagged with Picasso, and jump right to one of those sections. You can also combine tags to narrow your search, such as Picasso + Cubism + 1900.

As an author, you can choose to post your essay in a central repository hosted by the Vectors program at USC, the sponsor of this project. Or you can self-archive your essay on your own Web site. (That's the "distributed publication" part.)

  • Innovative search options
    • Use tags to find text blocks within the current article.
    • Use tags to find related blocks in outside articles.
    • Use search-as-you-type lookup to find words in current article.
  • Expandable navigation menu
    • Offers more traditional navigation.
    • Breaks long essays into easy-to-read screen-sized chunks.
    • Can be used interchangeable with tag-based navigation.
  • Automated tag and HTML generation
    • Paste in your essay sections and easy-to-use software generates a ThoughtMeshed version.
    • Software can auto-generate tags for each text block.
    • Or author can assign custom tags.
    • Overall tag cloud gives quick sense of article's themes.
  • Meshes (ThoughtMesh subsets/journals)
    • Publications and groups of authors can define and administrate their own meshes.
    • Readers can choose only excerpts from current mesh, or from all meshes
  • Ratings (for future release)
    • Readers claiming expertise in an article's subject matter may rate and comment on each article, affecting its ranking in search returns.

For readers

  • Recommended browser
  • Firefox 2+ on Linux, OSX, or Windows

  • Other browsers
  • Safari should function correctly.

    Internet Explorer 7+ users will be able to use most of the features.

For authors

  • An essay with sections and headings
  • Your essay should be divided into sections of (optimally) 2-5 paragraphs apiece, with headings.

    Subsections and subheadings are fine--ThoughtMesh's navigation menu can accommodate up to two levels of headings. You can have a top-level heading without text, and you can have one without any subsections.

    Essay title

    First heading

    This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section.

    This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section.

    Second heading

    This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section.

    This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section.

    Third heading

    This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section.

    This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section.

    This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section...

    OR

    Essay title

    First heading

    This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section. This is the text for the first section.

    Sub heading

    This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section.

    Another sub heading

    This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section.

    Second heading

    This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section. This is the text for the second section.

    Third heading

    This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section. This is the text for the third section.

    Sub heading

    This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section.

    Another sub heading

    This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section. This is the text for a sub-section...

  • An abstract
  • By default, the initial view of your essay will include a paragraph summary. We recommend something on the order of 1-4 sentences.
  • Copy-paste or type
  • You can copy and paste sections of your essay from a word processor or existing Web page directly into ThoughtMesh. (You may want to check to see if the formatting migrated along with the text.)

    You can also type an essay directly into ThoughtMesh, but this is not recommended unless you are an ace writer or just editing.

  • Formatting
  • ThoughtMesh offers limited support for hyperlinks, italics, and other HTML markup.

  • Images
  • ThoughtMesh supports essay illustrations in Firefox and Safari; we are working to include support for Internet Explorer in a future release.

  • Word count
  • We are still working out the maximum size for a ThoughtMesh essay--for now, try whatever you want.

  • Tag count
  • It's a good idea to aim for 3-8 tags per excerpt--ThoughtMesh will tell you when you have too many.

  • Open, distributed approach
    • DHTML, PHP, and MySQL.
    • Lightweight, extensible architecture.
    • Uses John Bell's Telamon software to pull tag data from outside the current page.
    • Uses Chirag Mehta's Tagline software to auto-generate tag data from essay sections.
  • Author workflow (as scalable pdf)



  • Reader workflow (as scalable pdf)



Check the Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions, including:

You can also watch these screencasts if you prefer step-by-step video instructions:

It's no secret that today's academics are having trouble keeping up with networked media. The currency of academia remains the peer-reviewed print journal--not exactly the ideal medium for intellectual discourse in the fast-paced age of the Internet. The archaic criteria by which most universities award promotion and tenure mean that even academics who specialize in digital culture find it hard to justify writing about it in a digital vernacular. But if scholars don't want to drift ever further out of touch with the information Twittering and Flickring across the world's browsers and cell phones, they'd better find a way to tap into and redirect these information flows...

More...

To learn more or get help using ThoughtMesh, contact us at ude.eniam.timu@erutluc.loop.

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