[unrev-II] Atlas of Conceptual Maps, Conversation Maps, Surf Maps, and WebTracer, etc.

From: John J. Deneen (jjdeneen@netzero.net)
Date: Thu Sep 27 2001 - 00:56:26 PDT

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    This is a very large atlas, so here's a few of possible special interest
    to OHS/DKR developers:

    Conceptual Maps
    A concept map from Tim Berners-Lee's original World-Wide Web proposal, a
    hypertext system called the "Mesh", presented in 1989. See the full
    "Information Management: A Proposal".

    Tim Berners-Lee, CERN, March 1989, May 1990
    This proposal concerns the management of general information about
    accelerators and experiments at CERN. It discusses the problems of loss
    of information about complex evolving systems and derives a solution
    based on a distributed hypertext system.
    < http://www.funet.fi/index/FUNET/history/internet/w3c/proposal.html >

    Conversation Map
    Conversation Map is a newsgroup browser that is designed to make it
    easier for participants to understand and reflect on very large-scale
    conversations like large, electronic-mail lists or busy, Usenet

    In principle the Conversation Map system can be used just like a usual
    electronic news or mail program (e.g., Eudora, RN, or Netscape
    Messenger). The main difference is that theConversation Map system
    analyzes the content and the relationships between messages and then
    uses the results of the analysis to create a graphical interface. With
    the graphical interface, a participant can see the social and semantic
    relationships that have emerged over the course of the discussion. The
    Conversation Map system computes and then graphs out who is "talking" to
    whom, what they are "talking" about, and the central terms and possible
    metaphors of the conversation.
    < http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/%7Esack/CM/ >

    < http://techne.sims.berkeley.edu/scienv.html >

    "This is an archive of messages from the Usenet newsgroup devoted to
    discussion of the environment. You can read current messages from this
    group on the Usenet newsgroup: sci.environment. The messages archived
    here can also be found in the archives of Deja among other places:

    Surf Maps
    < http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/casa/martin/atlas/surf.html >

    WebTracer (freeware)
    WebTracer is a tool for mapping the structure of websites being
    developed by Tom Betts at nullpointer. This freeware tool utilises a 3D
    molecular model visualisation to show hyperlinks of a given site. An
    interview with Tom Betts by Matthew Fuller at Rhizome.org gives
    background information on the project.
    < http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/casa/martin/atlas/webtracer_large.gif >
    < http://rhizome.org/object.rhiz?2330>
    < http://www.nullpointer.co.uk/-/tracer.htm >

    Many other interesting examples of info-maps, including:
    < http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/casa/martin/atlas/info_maps.html >
    < http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/casa/martin/atlas/info_spaces.html >
    < http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/casa/martin/atlas/info_landscapes.html >

    Mapping the links of a mailinglist multilogue
    "A link map like this is constructed to show how postings later in the
    mailstream refer back to previous postings. The postings are ordered
    from left to right, in their order if arrival at the server (which is
    the central and crucial point for ordering messages).

    Whenever a later message responds to an earlier one -- or connects to it
    in any other direct and obvious way -- a link has been drawn back to the
    left to the "parent" message from the "child". This way you can see that
    a mailinglist conversation is a real tangle -- it's not just YOU
    thinking it is. Of course the picture would be even more tangled if I
    had put in all the little allusions that people make between messages
    within a thread, and sometimes between threads as well."
    < http://w1.314.telia.com/%7Eu31414369/xmca/linkmap.html >

    Populated Information Terrains
    < http://www.crg.cs.nott.ac.uk/research/applications/pits/>

    "[T]hese visualizations are intended to be multi-user applications in
    which the users are explicity embodied in the virtual environment and
    are thus visible to each other. "

    "We have identified four approaches to generating the visualizations,
    each applicable to different types of data:

       * Named after Michael Benedikt, this approach directly maps fields
         from data objects into extrinsic and intrinsic dimensions of the
         displayed objects. In this approach the user generates a schema
         which contains the desired mappings from the fields of the data
         objects to the extrinsic and intrinsic dimensions - an example
         might be to map the log of a person's age to the x-ordinate, and
         map a persons job type to the shape of the displayed object.

       * Statistical methods have been used to analyse collections of data
         (often documents) in an attempt to group objects together according
         to some measure of semantic "closeness" (i.e. do they logically
         belong together). The resulting proximity measures are typically
         scaled and returned as numerical values that are then used to
         cluster the objects in a data space. Systems adopting this and
         similar approaches include VIBE and BEAD (both for visualising
         collections of documents).

       * Hyper-structures: Some databases support the notion of explicit
         relations or links between objects (e.g. schema based on
         entity-relationship models or hyper-media and Network Information
         Retrieval systems such. Gopher, ARCHIE, WAIS and World Wide Web).
         The resulting structures might be visualised by applying three
         dimensional graph drawing techniques. In turn these might be
         extended through visualisation techniques such as fish-eye views,
         cone-trees and perspective walls.

       * This final approach relies on users or system implementors
         designing appropriate visualisations. The first approach is to use
         real-world metaphors such as a fly-through library interface for a
         document store; cities, buildings and rooms for organisational
         information in Directory services; and maps of the physical world
         for geographical information. A second approach is to allow humans
         to construct and organise the information terrain themselves on an
         ad-hoc basis (effectively how files are organised under the desktop
         metaphor). This approach might also extend previous work on rooms
         metaphors in user interfaces.

    Example Visualisations: Statistical methods
    An example of this approach is VR-VIBE, developed at Nottingham. This
    extends the VIBE approach into three dimensions and creates
    visualizations of bibliographies. Users specify keywords that they wish
    to use to generate the visualization and place these keywords in
    3D-space. Representations of the documents are then displayed in the
    space according to how relevant each document is to each of the keywords
    (this relevance is computed by searching the documents for the keywords
    specified by the user and recording the number of matches). The position
    of a document depends on the relative importance of each of the keywords
    to it; thus a document equally spaced between two keywords is equally
    relevant to both, while a document close to a particular keyword is
    relevant to that keyword only. Absolute relevance is depicted by the
    colour of the documents representation, the more relevance the document,
    the brighter the colour - this is necessary to distinguish between
    documents that are equally only slightly relevevant from documents which
    are highly relevant but are placed in the position because the
    proportion of their relevance to each keyword is the same.

    The following image shows an example VR-VIBE visualization of a CSCW
    bibliograpy containing 1581 entries and five keywords, also visible are
    some other users browsing the information space. The position of the
    keywords are marked by octahedrons, with the text drawn alongside. Only
    documents with an absolute relevance greater than specified threshold
    are displayed allowing the user to filter out less relevant documents. A
    3D scrollbar, visible to the left of figure 2 allows the values of the
    relevance threshold to be varied."

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