Experimental Interfaces Involving Visual Grouping During Browsing

Stan Ruecker


This paper provides a brief overview of a number of experimental interface design projects being carried out collaboratively by teams of researchers at the University of Alberta and elsewhere. One goal of this interface research is to explore the principles of rich-prospect browsing interfaces, which I have defined (Author 2003) as those where some meaningful representation of every item in a collection is combined with tools for manipulating the display. Often this manipulation is for the purposes of carrying out some portion of a research task: the interfaces lend themselves to exploratory and synthetic activities, such as knowledge discovery and hypothesis formulation. The projects summarized here begin with a browsing prototype originally designed for the task of pill identification (Given et al. 2005) but subsequently extended into a prototype for browsing conference delegates and other groups of people (Author et al. 2006). Another is a nuanced system based on the mandala (Cheypesh et al. 2006) intended for examining any collection that has been encoded with an XML schema, using combinations of attractors selected by the user from the available tags. Next is the set of specialized interfaces for the Orlando Project (Orlando Team 2006), intended to provide a set of discrete entry points into the deeply-encoded electronic history of women’s writing in the British Isles. Our project on tabular interfaces provides a variety of spaces designed to assist the user in using thesauri for multilingual query enhancement (Anvik et al. 2006). The final project described below is NORA (Unsworth 2004), which relies on the power of the D2K data-mining tools at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to give humanities scholars a workspace for exploring the system-identified features of common documents and further documents that have been recommended by the system. Each of these projects are discussed within the framework of visualizations involving browsing through dynamic grouping.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v1i1.142

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Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (ISSN: 1911-9593)