Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
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possible system response will be the document whose representation most closely matches the query representation.

In practice, traditional document retrieval systems work well when the user has a static specifiable information need and can formulate a well specified query representing this information need. However, if the user has only a rough idea of information required, he tends to engage in a more browsing-like retrieval dialogue, which cannot be supported effectively by traditional IR systems. They provide support for only one form of retrieval dialogue, that associated with searching for some well-specified information item. A browsing-like retrieval dialogue requires active intervention and interaction by the user with the document collection, and the representations of documents and their relationships, which the standard model of IR cannot support.

By applying visualisation, browsing dialogues can take advantage of the immense power of graphical techniques which are available for revealing the relationships between documents in a document space. So, it is possible to display structural relationships among documents and their contexts. Such relationships would be more difficult to detect by individual search requests. As a result the user has more control over the course of the retrieval action, control that is based on a more thorough knowledge of the document collection. The user will be an active participant in the IR system, rather than a passive recipient of and reactor to output from system.

3 Basic Principle

The Vineta prototype has been developed around the notion that navigation through an information space can be an effective means of retrieving information. Navigational retrieval as developed by a research group at TU Clausthal ( Kupka and Fiege 1991) focuses on interaction techniques to facilitate exploration and browsing in large information collections. Informational navigation is strongly connected with the human intuitive comprehension of abstract facts by means of analogies with familiar concepts like location or motion.

The basic principle underlying navigational retrieval is perception of spatial relationships, a most natural human sense. Spatial proximity is used to represent semantic similarity. Relationships among articles in a bibliography can be represented by their relative spatial positions in a virtual information space; articles can be formed into dynamic groups, based on their contents and the current perspective of the user. We place similar articles close to one another and dissimilar ones further apart. In presenting information spatially, we potentially gain great benefit by employing many of our innate perceptual skills ( Gibson 1986).


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