Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 12:48:31 -0500


You're a bit off in your take on Chunking in Info Mapping. It has little
to do with block labels, and transitions are some of the things that Info
Mapping eliminates. Chunking, according to my handy Info Map cheat sheets
is the following:

"The grouping of information into small, manageable units."

They further define a "manageable unit" as:

"one consisting of no more than nine pieces of information"

Their rationale is that research suggests people can best process and
remember no more than seven, plus or minus two pieces (or units) of
information at one time. They also note that as the complexity of the
information increases, the chunking limit decreases.

I have found this principle of Information Mapping probably the most useful
in my work. Therefore, I thought I'd make sure it is clear with everyone
in Techwr-L land.

Bill Bledsoe
Technical Communicator
Envision Solutions
SQA MGR/Process Lead
bill -at- envision -dot- com
intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com

"I'm out on a limb where the fun begins"
Adrian Belew/The Bears

From: Brad Connatser[SMTP:cwrites -at- USIT -dot- NET]
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 1996 9:05 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Information Mapping

In article <3222CBD9 -dot- 4581 -at- sodalia -dot- it>, Keith Jeremy Posner
<posner -at- sodalia -dot- it> wrote:

> Information Mapping, or Info Mapping for short, is applied in
> business and technical contexts. Info Mapping is made up of
> principles and components. The underlying principle of
> information is chunking, ie breaking information up into its
> component parts and identifying these chunks of information
> using a label in the margin to the left of the chunk of
> information.

The psycholinguistic principle of "chunking" has been mis-applied to
information mapping. Chunking is a way for short-term memory to synthesize
information from the reading process with information from long-term
memory. A "chunk" of information is the packet of understanding that moves
between short- and long-term memories. Some experiments suggest that
short-term memory can hold seven (plus or minus two) chunks of
information. But a chunk of information can be anything, from a single
number to an abstract understanding of quantum physics. "Chunking"
information during information mapping is really just creating
transitions, signals to help the reader understand where he is in the text
(like labels on a map). Better and less pretentious terms are:
categorizing, dividing, organizing, labeling.


Brad Connatser
Concurrent Communications
cwrites -at- usit -dot- net

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