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Compendium is a hypermedia application  which supports the real time mapping of discussions in meetings, collaborative modelling, and the longer term management of this information as organizational memory.

Compendium provides a methodological framework, plus an evolving suite of tools, for collective sense-making and group memory. Validated in both small and large scale business projects, it is the result of over a decade's research and development at the intersection of collaborative modeling, organizational memory, computer-supported argumentation and meeting facilitation.

Figure 1. Example Compendium Map showing node types.

Compendium offers innovative strategies for tackling several of the key challenges in managing knowledge:

  • 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.

Compendium centers on face-to-face meetings, potentially the most pervasive knowledge-based activity in working life, but also one of the hardest to do well. Meetings in Compendium's perspective:

  1. are untapped knowledge-intensive events: often they are unfocused, but they can be improved with facilitated tools that help participants express and visualize views in a shared, common display;
  2. can be more tightly woven into the fabric of work: they are preceded and followed by much other communication and the generation of associated artifacts. Weaving the process and products of meetings into this broader web of activity is therefore an important aspect to Compendium.

To summarize, Compendium excels in enabling groups to collectively elicit, organize and validate information. In order to integrate this with pre/post-meeting processes and artifacts, these maps can be transformed into other document formats, asynchronous discussions around the contents of maps, and other file formats for further computation and analysis (see Compendium Interfaces). The domain independence of Compendium's mapping technique for meetings, combined with its interoperability with domain-specific applications, provides a powerful platform for knowledge construction and negotiation.

For more details, see the Compendium Institute website.