White Paper

Abstract. 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.
If current tools resemble filing cabinets, Roam is more akin to the nodal networks in telecommunications, or the neurons in the human brain. Rather than existing in a vacuum, each note or file becomes a node in an interconnected graph of ideas. A single node may simultaneously hold positions in several different sequences, hierarchies or file paths, and can ‘talk’ to other nodes, communicating information back and forth about the nature of each relationship. The network is dynamic, so updates and revisions are populated across the entire graph simultaneously. Individual nodes or branches within the network can be forked as required, allowing a new pathway to deviate without changing the original meaning.