Roam is a note-taking tool that operates more like a wiki than like a digital version of a physical notebook (e.g., OneNote or Evernote). Here's Roam's description of its product:
Roam is an online workspace for organizing and evaluating knowledge. The system is built on a directed graph, which frees it from the constraints of the classic file tree. Users can remix and connect ideas in multiple overlapping hierarchies, with each unit of information becoming a node in a dynamic network. Any given node can occupy multiple positions simultaneously, convey information through defined relationships, and populate changes throughout the graph. With weightings assigned to the strength of relationships between nodes, Roam also becomes a tool for Bayesian inference and decision making. The ultimate goal is to extend the system to collaborative reasoning, allowing groups to build shared mental maps and make faster and better-informed decisions.
That's ... a lot.
But what it boils down to is that Roam allows users to add bidirectional links to notes, which results in a set of massively interlinked notes. And because those notes can also store relationships between notes, they can surface connections that the note-taker wasn't aware of.
It's also the platform I used in creating this project.
The digital gardening movement picked up steam with the release of Roam Research, a note-taking tool that incorporates automatic bidirectional links, using an authoring system that is more like a wiki than like a traditional note-taking app. Roam's linked notes surface new information—not unlike the graph database.
Multiple views and spatial arrangements. Xanadu would feature more than one way to visualize and navigate content, including a graph overview that is standard in Roam—available by clicking the little diagram icon up in the top right corner of your screen—and in Twine, which is where I drafted the first version of this project.
Unfortunately, there are no interim steps, no Content Everywhere-lite that allows you to keep your Word documents and still magically publish everywhere. Getting to Content Everywhere means changing how you think about writing. It means changing the tools you use for writing. It means changing how you think about design. And it most definitely means changing how you build your CMS.
That means identifying pieces of content by function rather than by format. And it means finding [a tool that allows you to work with chunks of modular content])Roam Research, rather than big blobs of body content dumped directly from a Word document.
Transpointing windows. A combination of patterns one and two, transpointing windows visibly show the connections between any two given documents. Azien Elza mocked up an example using Roam Research.
Building in new visual metaphors—ones in which text can take on spatial arrangements more complex than the traditional before-and-after of linear print documents—enables the creation of knowledge graphs, much like the ones available in Roam Research, which can in turn enable researchers to surface connections that they hadn't even realized were there.