Visual search for supporting content exploration in large document collections

Herrmannova, Drahomira and Knoth, Petr (2012). Visual search for supporting content exploration in large document collections. D-Lib Magazine, 18(7/8)



In recent years a number of new approaches for visualising and browsing document collections have been developed. These approaches try to address the problems associated with the growing amounts of content available and the changing patterns in the way people interact with information. Users now demand better support for exploring document collections to discover connections, compare and contrast information. Although visual search interfaces have the potential to improve the user experience in exploring document collections compared to textual search interfaces, they have not yet become as popular among users. The reasons for this range from the design of such visual interfaces to the way these interfaces are implemented and used. In this paper we study these reasons and determine the factors that contribute to an improved visual browsing experience. Consequently, by taking these factors into account, we propose a novel visual search interface that improves exploratory search and the discovery of document relations. We explain our universal approach, and how it could be applied to any document collection, such as news articles, cultural heritage artifacts or research papers.

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