3D Topicscape building blocks
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A topic, like a folder, can hold many items. Like a folder, it may have a parent and can have many children. Here's the big difference: A folder must be inside another folder, so it can only be in one place at once. A topic on the other hand may have many parents, and it may have many topics loosely associated with it, too.
So the same topic can appear in several places at once. These are not copies, they are different instances of the same thing, and you can link them by a simple drag operation. Topics appear as cones (and pyramids) in the 3D Topicscape window and rectangles in the 2D Map. Topics are groups in the Topicscape window to show their relationships, child topics appearing just in front of their parents, and being a lot smaller. A Topic can have a description as well as a name -- providing added information.
Topic names should be short and crisp, for easy identification in the Map or 'Scape. You can make a name longer than can be displayed on a cone, and you will see the name in full in the Details Panel, and in the blue 'hover hints' described later. You can also control hyphenation easily - see Hyphenating in the topic name panels.
The Current Topic
One special topic is called the Current Topic will be the largest rectangle (2D) or cone (3D). Any topic in your Topicscape can be made into the Current Topic. In 3D, this has a glow around it which slowly cycles through a range of colors to focus attention on this central topic. There is an option to turn this cycling off (see the Glossary) for reduced CPU usage.
All the other topics are represented as rectangles (2D) cones or pyramids (3D) and there are choices you can make about shapes and styles in the skin customization options. Shading under the cones makes the grouping and hierarchy clear.
An Occurrence can be a file, or even a scrap of a file (a group of cells from a spreadsheet, for example, or part of a document -- the part that's important to you in a particular context). It's more than a file, though -- it can have description, information about source and status, as well as the author, all of which can be taken into account when searching.
The name is derived from 'the occurrence of a piece of information on a topic'.
For more information, see Occurrences.
An Association is a link between two Topics. These can be traditional parent-child associations or loose associations (see Tunneling through to more ideas) allowing you to link things together in the way that is just right for you when you come back to look for an important piece of information in a few months time. Associations can have type, as mentioned in an earlier example, Paris is the capital of France.