This thread reminded me of a passage I recently read in Mark Bernstein’s third edition of The Tinderbox Way. I hope he doesn’t mind my quoting extensively here:
Containers in Tinderbox Maps
“Containers simplify a Tinderbox map by sweeping details map out of the way and into their own map. The parts retain their individual identity but are replaced in the map by their container. Crucially, moving a note inside a container doesn’t break its links.
Containers can express a variety of relationships.
- Small containers may represent a simple composite. In a list of sources, we might perhaps have several editions of the same book; placing all the editions inside a container that represents the book helps keep these bibliographic minutiae from adding complexity to our daily work. The children of a container are a part of a larger whole.
- The container may represent a collection of notes with a common purpose. For example, a container might hold notes about Tasks that we plan to do.
- The container may represent a specific context to which the notes it holds pertain. In a narrative, containers might represent events or episodes—the Armory Show or the US election of 1912. In the map, the container stands for the entire event; if more detail is wanted, we zoom into the container to explore the notes inside.
The container provides a viewport that gives us a partial glimpse into the notes it contains. These notes are drawn at smaller scale and with less detail than notes in the main map, but we can drag those notes into the main map if we desire, and we can just as easily drag additional notes from the map into the container.
We can supplement or replace the viewport with a summary table that lists pertinent attributes of the container’s children, or with a plot that graphs some particularly interesting attribute of the contents”
Excerpt From: Mark Bernstein. “The Tinderbox Way 3rd Edition final.” iBooks.
This book is highly recommended reading for both new and very-long-term Tinderbox users.