Notes by Michael Szostalo:
Michael is a Composer at Self Studied Music Theory and Composition at New York University lives in Kraków PolandAutodidacts now have a very powerful new navigational tool at their disposal; and it's called WikiSummarizer.
WikiSummarizer from Context Discovery automatically creates hierarchical summaries of articles from Wikipedia or any other database, organized by keywords, based on the Cornell method of note-taking. In addition, it allows you to download and import this information to your favorite mind mapping software, giving you all the tools you need to make a mental map of any reasonably defined body of knowledge currently contained on a computerized database.
How might you use such a toolkit? The simplicity and elegance of the interface means that anyone who wants to learn something can use it in the way that suits him or her best. The summaries themselves are very valuable. I've spent the last several months studying for graduate school entrance exams in music theory and history. I have a very limited amount of money for books, so I decided to fill in the blank areas of my knowledge by scanning Wikipedia articles and taking notes. In other words, I've spent countless hours making handwritten pages that look like what WikiSummarizer produces instantly.
WikiSummarizer helps you to see larger patterns in the body of knowledge itself, to see where that body of knowledge intersects with other bodies of knowledge, allowing you to then group and link ideas by affinity. Then, you can zoom between the most general and the most specific aspects of any subject as often as you need until you synthesize them, giving you greater insight into the primary sources to which this search may lead you. With this power of near-infinite zoom, you can see not only cooperations, affinities, and recursions in a body of knowledge, but also potential contradictions and dead ends. The more points of reference you synthesize, the more the idea comes together in your mind like a hologram. To help you illustrate some of what I'm saying, I invite you type the terms "Recursion" and "Cantor's Theorem" into WikiSummarizer, and let your mind roam.
At its highest level of its functionality, WikiSummarizer helps you to coordinate your left-brain activity with your right-brain activity. People with strong left-brain activity are excellent with deductive tasks, but have some difficulty with synthesizing information and taking a holistic view. People with strong right-brain function are often very good at synthesizing information, feeling its outlines, and performing highly complex feats of inductive logic. This same trait, however, makes it difficult to approach a complex body of knowledge from a small part without first having some conception, however nominal, of the whole.
WikiSummarizer, in combination with mind maps, has the astounding capacity to both guide your inductive intuition in a purely deductive way, and to help you synthesize huge bodies of bare facts and draw helpful conclusions.