IBIS icons for Scrivener

IBIS, or issue-based information system, also called issue mapping, is a simple and intuitive notation system that can be used for thinking through issues as part of a problem-structuring process or writing process. One of the most well-known software applications that uses IBIS is Compendium. As has been been discussed on this forum in years past (in 2013 and in 2014), Compendium’s diagramming interface is superficially similar to Scapple, but in their data models and usage they are very different: Scapple is free-form and doesn’t impose a semantic schema whereas Compendium structures all its data in an IBIS-based schema.

About a year ago, the idea occurred to me to copy some node icons from Compendium (which is open source) for use in the Scrivener binder. I converted the icons from Compendium’s PNG format to Scrivener’s TIFF format using MultiTIFF, and then I installed them following the instructions in the “Custom Icons” section of the Scrivener user manual, and then I created a set of Scrivener document templates corresponding to the icons.

The main IBIS node types (although Compendium includes a few extra types) are:

  • Issue (Question)
  • Position (Answer)
  • Argument Against (Con)
  • Argument Supporting (Pro)
  • Argument Hybrid (Pro-Con)

I have found the Compendium icons useful for some kinds of Scrivener projects in the early stages of the writing process. The reason why they are useful was explained well by philosopher Sheldon Richmond in a 1979 article, “When to begin writing” (Teaching Philosophy, 3(2), 181–183). He didn’t mention issue mapping, but he said the following, which is very similar to the use of issue mapping for problem structuring:

I think IBIS is a perfect notation system for implementing Sheldon Richmond’s advice.

I have attached a ZIP file containing the converted Compendium node icons for use in Scrivener, in case anyone else wants to try them. After unzipping the file, the icons can be installed following the instructions in the “Custom Icons” section of the Scrivener user manual. Again, these icons were copied from the Compendium open source, and I give full credit to whomever in the Compendium team created the icons.

[attachment=0]IBIS icons for Scrivener.zip[/attachment]