The Knowledge Management Research Group

NewsMapping - Collaborative Modeling of News


What potential does context-maps have to become a vital side kick to a digital news channel? Initiated by the journalist or editor, a context-map can be created topical to an article. This can give a comprehensive view of a subject, complex relations, timeline, related subjects and other mappable concepts. A natural example is other articles covering various aspects of the subject at hand.


1: Context-map referenced from Article

From the article one or several context-maps are referenced. The context-maps are shown directly in the webbrowser, either in a separate web application, the map area, or embedded plainly in the article. Embedded plainly means that the context-map appears statically as a picture, this should be contrasted to the map area where context-maps can be navigated through hyperlinks, metadata and content be inspected etc.

2: Concepts related to text chunks within Article

As in scenario 1 the article is related to one or several context-maps. In addition, some of the context-maps concepts and concept-relations are related to text chunks of varying sizes such as individual words, paragraphs, etc. These concept to text chunk relations are shown to the reader by:

  • displaying the article and the context-map side by side.
  • coloring available text-chunks
  • when moving the mouse over or clicking on a text-chunk highlighting the corresponding concept.
  • when moving the mouse over or clicking on a concept highlighting the corresponding text-chunk (if there is one).

This side by side view is shown in the map area and can be linked to from the article.


Author initiation - scenario 1

The author decides to do a context-map to strengthen the discussion as well as initiate a more structured debate than pure comments on the article as whole. He launches Conzilla and draws a map and publishes it. When finished he goes back to the CMS system where he published his article and adds a link to the context-map (actually to a display of it in the webbased mapping area).

Author initiation - scenario 2

The author decides to do a context-map about the article. He goes to the mapping area launches the process by providing a link to the article (preferrably a simple view like the print view). The mapping area now creates a new contex-map and displays the article on the side of it. The author marks chunks of text, e.g. paragraphs or individual words, and a dialog pops up allowing him to refer it to an existing concept or create a new concept to his liking. He will also get the opportunity to create concept-relations given that the concept endpoints already exists.

When the author is satisfied he can launch Conzilla to enhance the layout if it is not to his liking already. He will then also have the opportunity to provide more information, reference other content, reuse concepts from other context-maps etc. At any time, if the author feels the need to create additional concepts or concepts-relations that are related to the article he can go back to the online mapping area to create them.

Contributions from other than the author of the article

The readers are invited to add and elaborate on the map, thereby contributing to bigger picture as well as gaining knowledge or themselves.

Creating a new map

Readers may create new context-maps as well. However, since readers are not authors of the article they cannot add a link to it. This can be circumvented if comments are allowed, the link to the new context-map can be added there. Both ways to create a context-map, i.e. according to scenario 1 or 2, can be applied here.

Contributing to an existing map

Readers may contribute to an existing context-map via Conzillas collaborative features. However, these contributions will not be visible by default. For example, when a context-map is embedded into an article, only the authors original contribution is shown. On the other hand, in the map area, the contributions to a context-map can be turned on and off individually. If some readers contribution are especially valuable, it may be deemed to be worthy of automatic inclusion. Both ways to create a context-map, i.e. according to scenario 1 or 2, can be applied here.

Commenting on concepts

Readers may add comments directly on concepts and concept-relations instead of adding on the article as a whole. To see these comments you have to use the map area, they are not visible when embedded in the article.

Links to content from concepts - News feeds

The original author and also the readers have the possibility to add feeds (e.g. additional news from other sources) as content on concepts. A web-based version of Conzilla would make it possible to export either a fully aggregated news feed (RSS) or a single OPML file with a collection of feeds, depending on the set of contributions the reader has selected.

The usage of a commonly used syndication format as RSS makes it possible to use such aggregated feeds on any device. Feed readers on a "real" computer can make use of it as well as mobile devices.

What do we already have / what has to be done

We have

  • Conzilla for browsing context-maps
  • Collaborilla for collaborative construction of context-maps
  • Server infrastructure to support all this

We have to do

  • A light-weight version of Conzilla
    • Server side rendering of context-maps
    • Client-side selection of contributions (AJAX?)
    • RSS support in both Conzilla and Collaborilla
  • Tight integration with web-sites (e.g. text-highlighting depending on the selected concepts or contributions)


A pre-study should be carried out, investigating a workflow and prerequisites for carrying out a full-scale study at one or several media companies who already have the infrastructure and content necessary to contribute with subjects and rich content.

The results will be presented in the form of:

  • A mock-up, for both internal and external use
  • A short report (10-12 pages)
  • A seminar within the centre


We need to identify who of the partners in the center that would be interested in participating in this project. Ambjörn suggested already since a long time ago that we talk with Bonniers about this. He has also suggested that UR might be interested (altough they are not partners in the centre).


There is a lot of possibilities and some of them may interesting to pursue as separate projects in themselves. For example:

  • The neews feed aggregator functionality of context-maps can probably be expanded and made arbitrary complex in itself. e.g. with pulsating concepts when there are updates in the feeds.
  • A feed that notifies you of all changes to concepts and context-maps that you have subscribed to may be another interesting project. Closely connected to this would be datestamping of all changes so that you could keep track of which changes you have seen, effectively giving you a list of non read conceptual material available directly in Conzilla or via the feed in a separate environment.

Related Projects

Magpie - The Semantic Filter

Magpie highlights words in a browser based on the selected ontology. This allows for semantic filtering of content etc.

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