Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best Online Collaboration Tools 2008 - The Collaborative Map

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The Best Online Collaboration Tools 2008, Collaborative Map is a live editable map of over 150 of the best free and low-cost online collaboration tools available, picked and selected by passionate users like you and me.

Click the map to see the full, public, editable version

That's right. This collaborative map has been created with the live help of over 100 individuals who have participated with me on November 17th in a unique event: This collaborative map has been created with the live help of over 100 individuals who have participated with me on November 17th in a unique event: Corporate Learning Trends and Innovations 2008. During my session at the conference, which took place fully online.... During my session at the conference, which took place fully online, I decided not to leverage my personal knowledge with collaboration tools to show the best and most useful ones, as I have done so many times in the last two years, but to actually involve the participants (over 150 at the time) into creating a visual map of what THEY thought were the best online collaboration tools out there.

And so I kind of played the visual moderator, by providing them first with a basic set of categories that they could attach tools too, and then by helping in moving tools to their best matching categories and removing technologies and services that were either inappropriate or not belonging to any of the listed groups.

Within a week the map has cleaned itself up while growing considerably. It now lists over 150 live online collaboration tools in 13 different categories. All the tools listed are either free or have affordable rates (included only those who have clearly published such prices on their site).

Now it is here ready for you to use.

Whenever you have a collaboration need you may glance at this map and remember in a second which tools are available which could service your specific need.

Note: A special thank you to Jay Cross, Tony Karrer and George Siemens who have trusted my explorative spirit and have gently allowed me to take a live group into a new real-time learning territory. Seeing a mind-map growing under your very eyes, node by node, thanks to the input of a multitude of many passionate individuals is a mind-opening experience.

New update directory map:


What This Map Contains

This collaboration tools map has the objective of bringing together the most useful, free or low-cost technologies available today online. Originally the types of tools included by the participants in this experiment, ranged from real-time instant messaging and video conferencing tools to the main social bookmarking resources and microblogging tools as several participants felt that these too were relevant collaboration technologies.

To limit its breadth and provide more specific usefulness to those who are looking for real-time collaboration solutions, I have later decided to sacrifice microblogging and social bookmarking tools, as I would prefer to gather those together in a separate social media and collaborative publishing group.

The official focus is therefore on real-time or near real-time collaborative technologies in the groups that have been already defined.

The Key Categories

These the online collaboration categories covered in the map with over 150 technologies:

How You Can Contribute

You can personally contribute to this collaborative effort by accessing the "public" and open version of the map, and by adding new tools or specific information to the existing nodes. (To edit the map you will need to freely register at, which will take only a few seconds.)

What You Can Add

The best thing you can do is to add relevant new tools to the map. The collaboration tools that fit this map are those that can match the following criteria:

  • live collaboration and team-work oriented tools
  • free or low-cost solutions only

If you are logged into MindMeister, you can add a URL, or some notes to any "node" appearing on the map. Simply select the node and then click on the relevant icon inside the right column dashboard to edit and add more info.

The Live Map Present Version and Future Updates

Click and drag inside the above map to move and see its different parts and / or use the zoom icons on the bottom left part of the map

This above is the live collaboration tools map as of November 25th 2008. You can still go up and update it and in the future I will be releasing new updates to it.

To be able to edit, add and contribute additional information, you need to freely register and login inside MindMeister.

The map integrates a full revisions history feature and therefore it is easy to spot and remove spammy additions or incorrect information just like you would do in Wikipedia.

Disclosure: I am in no way associated or affiliated to I have selected their tool and service among others because it is the one that I feel most comfortable with and the one I find easiest to use for novices.


Originally conceived by Robin Good for LearningTrends2008 and first created in real-time with the participation of over 100 hundred different participating individuals on November 17th 2008.

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, November 25 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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