Agreed; here's some other interesting examples and analyses:
"Designing an information exploration system requires attention to four critical components. Since information exploration
is a highly interactive process, the user is a key element. The second and third critical elements are the presentation
methods that are used to communicate information and the interaction techniques that enable that user to actively explore
that information. Finally, powerful mathematics are needed to identify and manipulate features of the information. This
paper describes how these four critical components can work together to flexibly meet varied user goals.
The User - Tasks and Paradigms
By its nature, information exploration is an interactive process, making the user important to design choices. The
processes that are most natural for users and the human capabilities that allow users to interact productively with the
information will help drive the design. And as Saracevic reminds us, humans and their information needs are diverse
[Saracevic]. We believe that the process of information exploration must be flexible to accommodate various user methods.
For example, one user may wish to focus on the similarities among documents; another may gain insight from the key themes.
In their Data Visualization tutorial, Grinstein and Ward [Grinstein] list three main task types that visualization is used
to accomplish: Production, Confirmatory, and Exploratory. Production is using visualization to communicate what is already
known. Confirmatory refers to a situation where the user has a theory or hypothesis and wants to find evidence to confirm
or refute that hypothesis. Exploratory is a situation where the user does
know what they are looking for.
In practice, we believe that all three tasks, and especially the last two, are often intermingled. A user may start out by
purely exploring, wanting to get an understanding of what's in the information collection. For example, a user may first
want a thematic overview, then seek detailed understanding of topics in a small subset, and then explore how topics change
over time. A user may search for trends, for structure, for anomalies, or for gaps. As the exploration continues, the user
begins to notice things of interest, perhaps
unexpected things. The user may develop a hypothesis about why the data are showing the characteristics observed. The next
step is to test out the hypothesis. The user may seek data confirm it, may view the evidence over time, may find outliers
which conflict, and so on. Once the user is satisfied regarding this hypothesis, he or she may proceed to explore other
parts of the information collection, developing new hypotheses, and so on.
To be most effective in such explorations, the user must be able to employ multiple paradigms. A task and data type
taxonomy developed by Shneiderman notes the need for both an overview of an entire collection and the ability to select a
group for details on demand [Shneiderman]. We might call this a part vs. whole paradigm. Other useful paradigms for
information exploration might include:
* relative vs. absolute: understanding relationships within an information collection or understanding how this
information relates to an existing ontology
* object-based vs. theme-based: understanding how the objects relate to each other as determined by their attributes
vs. how the various themes and attributes relate to each other as embodied in the objects
The key idea is not the desirability of any particular paradigm, but rather that for information exploration, a user
should be able to employ multiple paradigms as well as interact among them.
Visual Presentation Methods
We have found that visualizations can provide a powerful method to communicate the salient features of the information,
using methods that are natural for the human mind to perceive and understand. As an example, one visualization method for
showing an overview of relationships among documents is a cluster projection in two or three dimensions, where proximity
indicates similarity. The Galaxies visualization shown in the first figure is an example of such a 2D visualization.
Documents are clustered according to similarities in their thematic content. Interactions allow the user to query for
particular terms, form groups, and see changes over time."
more ... , including screen captures of of several visual presentation methods <
Eric Armstrong wrote:
> The word :"interface" does not apply to a set of superficial widgets.
> Rather, it applies to the functionality and usability of the system as
> a whole.
> Your system is usable, by you. Most systems are usable by their
> developers. (For example, NLS.) The question is, how usable is
> it by others? The answer to that question determines the eventual
> acceptance and penetration of the technoglogy.
> The fact that you can dip into your record and find things is excellent,
> and your ability to do that is greatly valued by this community. But
> that, by itself, does not constitute the ability to structure an
> or produce an inherently readable/browsable/usable history of the
> Some aspects of POIMS are integral to the eventual solution. Some
> aspects of Traction were integral. Some aspects of email are integral.
> You get the idea. The list goes on.
> I tried to recognize what you have, in fact, achieved. But I do not
> wish to over-represent it as the solution.
> Rod Welch wrote:
> > Eugene,
> > In another letter this morning, Eric was "amazed" about Rod's memory.
> > What if
> > it's not Rod's memory, but rather a technology that can leverage
> > everyone's
> > memory? Eric worries that it would be nice to have a better
> > interface. How
> > cogent and compelling is that reasoning in light of demand cited by
> > Eric, and
> > echoed by you and others, for an effective way to use the email
> > archive
> > productively?
> > This group has witnessed use of the archive almost daily for 18
> > months,
> > beginning OA 991222, that demonstrates a new way of working called out
> > by the
> > group leader, Doug Engelbart.....
> > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/99/12/22/104523.HTM#L280907
> > Organizing the archive for this group is a small part of a much larger
> > body of
> > knowledge that is easily and daily connected into a web of
> > intelligence called
> > out by Doug. Email is a small part of the requirement for an effective
> > knowledge
> > base. It is integrated into the workflow minute by minute, hour by
> > hour, day by
> > day over months and years, as discussed with Eric on 000517 during a
> > meeting at
> > Intel....
> > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/00/05/17/160031.HTM#5073
> > Accordingly, Eric is incorrect. The record of this group is not lost
> > to any but
> > those who refuse to see, to try, to learn.
> > Eric wants a better interface. He discloses in a letter on 000503 not
> > knowing
> > how to develop support for "knowledge," but he probably knows
> > something about
> > computer interfaces. It is possible that a better interface for
> > knowledge would
> > be helpful, but nobody knows that for sure until experience is gained
> > working
> > with the process that converts information into knowledge. Once that
> > experience
> > is gained, then it is appropriate to discuss how to deliver it with a
> > better
> > interface. Eric and many others are capable of this task. So what is
> > the real
> > fear that prevents progress? It has to do with climbing mountains....
> > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/95/09/15/123020.HTM#4930
> > Prattling about interface is really a concern that it takes more than
> > 20 minutes
> > to learn SDS for moving civilization forward. No interface will ever
> > reduce the
> > learning curve that takes several months and actually extend over a
> > lifetime,
> > although folks can pick up some basics in a few hours. Transitioning
> > from IT to
> > a culture of knowledge that lets everybody remember and use the
> > archives to
> > guide planning and improve performance of daily work, takes a little
> > bit of
> > commitment to improve the work, not a new interface, as discussed with
> > DOD on
> > 010730.....
> > http://www.welchco.com/sd/08/00101/02/01/07/30/054920.HTM#AE5M
> > The only missing ingredient is leadership -- the vision to see, the
> > courage to
> > act and the will to persevere. With leadership we can create a better
> > interface
> > and secure the blessings of a powerful advance that lifts civilization
> > to new
> > plateau.
> > Rod
> > Eugene Eric Kim wrote:
> > >
> > > On Sun, 16 Sep 2001, Eric Armstrong wrote:
> > >
> > > > * There are thousands of words in the unrev archives that may
> > > > never see the light of day, because its just to damn hard to
> > > > find anything. This mechanism could provide the answer to
> > > > that problem.
> > >
> > > This was really the main reason I decided to experiment with dialog
> > > mapping of e-mail in the first place. A lot of valuable information
> > is
> > > hidden in e-mail archives. Dialog mapping is an effective way of
> > > converting this raw data into organizational memory.
> > >
> > > The fact that dialog mapping serves as a nice way to direct
> > discussion is
> > > icing on the cake. (However, it wasn't entirely unexpected. I was
> > > heavily influenced by Jeff Conklin's IBIS workshop, where Jeff made
> > an
> > > effective case for dialog mapping as a facilitation technique in
> > > face-to-face meetings.)
> > >
> > > > * The archives are plinked (purple numbered). But Eugene has
> > > > the modified mail server to do that as messages are archived,
> > > > as well as tools to plink past archives.
> > >
> > > I recently founded the OHS Launch Community as a way to experiment
> > with
> > > various tools and methodologies. I'll post more about it later, as
> > I'd
> > > like it if some members of this list joined.
> > >
> > > I limited my experiment to the OHS LC's mailing list rather than
> > unrev-ii
> > > for a number of reasons. First, people on this list use a variety
> > of
> > > e-mail clients, and my plinking software is very dumb. With a more
> > > constrained community, I don't have to worry about people formatting
> > their
> > > e-mails in bizarre ways that render my plinking software useless.
> > >
> > > > * It takes a lof of effort to build the map.
> > >
> > > This is the other reason I didn't experiment with this list. Dialog
> > > mapping can be hard. Simply creating a dialog map of Eric's e-mail
> > > requires a considerable amount of time (although probably less than
> > the
> > > time Eric needed to construct the e-mail).
> > >
> > > > * One thing the system needs to do is to post links to the
> > > > summarized information. Those links would "complete the
> > > > circle" -- the index has pointers into the email archive,
> > and
> > > > the messages would have responses that point to where the
> > > > information is summarized. The most important result of such
> > > > notification pages would be the ability to click a link to
> > see
> > > > how a discussion I have been part of was summarized -- in
> > > > case I want to make changes. (Or maybe become further
> > > > enlightened.)
> > >
> > > Yes. It wouldn't be too difficult to hack a back-link database for
> > links
> > > between the dialog map and the e-mail archive. However, I'm
> > starting to
> > > feel the urge to stop hacking and to start building real software.
> > >
> > > -Eugene
> > >
> > > --
> > > +=== Eugene Eric Kim ===== email@example.com =====
> > http://www.eekim.com/ ===+
> > > | "Writer's block is a fancy term made up by whiners so
> > they |
> > > +===== can have an excuse to drink alcohol." --Steve Martin
> > ===========+
> > >
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Tue Sep 18 2001 - 23:49:46 PDT