Netmonics - nets memorizing nets

Recently there have been a few discussions about how to memorize some form of network-like information. I thought they deserved to be grouped make an interesting larger topic. I would like to suggest coining the term “netmonics” to encompass them.

In the links below, the discussions range from memorizing digraphs and entity-relationship diagrams, to computer networks, to the game “six degrees of Kevin Bacon”, to the complex kinship relationships of Australian aborigines.

My definition of netmonics would riff on an astute observation that SamVincente made in one of the above-linked discussions: netmonics is the art of nets memorizing nets.

More broadly, netmonics is about how a given neural net (in this case, the human brain) can go about representing, memorizing, recalling and randomly traversing network-like information for some purpose.

One thing that sets these issues apart from other mnemonic challenges is the problem of traversing–in other words, when you memorize a network, you typically will want to find random paths from any randomly selected point A to another, often randomly selected, point B. To complicate the challenge, there are often multiple paths, but with constraints as to which paths are considered permissible, or best. So, it’s not just a straightforward memorize-and-retrieve challenge. It can be much more complicated than that, requiring a fair amount of strategy and planning.

It is worth studying Concept Maps ( and using the associate cmaptools to organize networks of thinking. Many of the things we organize; like plans tend to be hierarchal rather than network based so Mind Maps ( as subset of Concept Maps ) tend to be extremely helpful whether used as Visual Outliners, Project Plans, Schedules, or Hierarchal charts.

I have tried the Brain product a few times now but I have found it difficult to integrate into my solutions although it is one of the more robust Concept Mapping tools available I find the presentation overwhelms my understanding of the underlying concepts and their relationship. CMapTools is far more clunky but so is my ability to capture and relate networks of ideas so I tend to use it only for special occasions and link Hierarchal maps far more commonly.

It could very well be that I am either lazy or stupid but I find building a proper grammar for related concepts within a concept map to be hard work (creates memorable relationships) while mind maps are easy in that there is little thought given to the associations between hierarchal concepts…

yadda yadda… There is good stuff in here

Hi Robert,

I just downloaded CMapTools for iPad. Looks like fun. I have often used mindmap software, but this seems a bit different. Looks fun.


The challenge with Concept Maps really is in developing meaningful relationships, potentially in either direction. Some of the advanced Mnemonist’s that I have followed use objects that related to each other to support extremely rapid back chaining. Coherent Concept Maps use well formed grammar to tie the story together. It’s not nearly as trivial as the MindMap but it does result in well formed thoughts about subject areas/problem domains.

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