From the about page:
Compendium is a software tool providing a flexible visual interface for managing the connections between information and ideas.
It places few constraints on how you organise material, though many have found that it provides support for structured working for instance, following a methodology or modelling technique. Our own particular interest is in visualizing the connections between people, ideas and information at multiple levels, in mapping discussions and debates, and what skills are needed to do so in a participatory manner that engages all stakeholders.
Many people use Compendium to manage their personal digital information resources, since you can drag+drop in any document, website, email, image, etc, organise them visually, and then connect ideas, arguments and decisions to these. Compendium thus becomes the ‘glue’ that allows you to pool and make sense of disparate material that would otherwise remain fragmented in different software applications. You can assign your own keyword ‘tags’ to these elements (icons), create your own palettes of icons that have special meanings, overlay maps on top of background images, and place/edit a given icon in many different places at once: things don’t always fit neatly into just one box in real life.
Extending Compendium’s support for personal sensemaking, we have a particular interest in what we term collective sensemaking, and have developed a technique called Dialogue Mapping, and its extension, Conversational Modelling. Our experiences with these techniques for capturing and managing — often in real time and under pressure — […] lead us to claim that Compendium offers innovative strategies for tackling some of the key challenges in managing knowledge and making meaning:
* improving communication between disparate communities tackling ill-structured problems
* real time capture and integration of hybrid material (both predictable/ formal, and unexpected/informal) into a reusable group memory
* transforming the resulting resource into the right representational formats for different stakeholders.
There are three versions of the Compendium tool:
CompendiumLD (Learning Design): A version providing a flexible visual interface to support educators map out a Learning Design in order to see the objectives and student/tutor/resource activity flows.
CompendiumDS (Design Studio): A version for the award winning OU module Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century providing a radically stripped down user interface for students to map design concepts in Compendium, and tutors to comment on them.
CompendiumCN (CogNexus Institute): A version optimized for very large data sets and collaborative mapping via locally networked users on an intranet. Developed to support CogNexus’ large client organizations for whom Compendium is a key tool.