Saturday, November 26, 2011

Reaction: Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization

     Stasko, Gorg, Liu, and Singhal present an interesting visualization system to aid in the discovery and review of a collection of full text documents. Their stated goal is to "develop visual representations of the information within text documents and report collections in order to help search review and understand the reports" and I would agree they have at least accomplished most of that. Their Jigsaw system is a Java based system that provides four different views of viewing relationships between documents and entities (people, places, dates, and organizations). I see the benefit to having four different views, it allows you to see things in different ways, but it seems odd for a tool such as this to have four completely different views who's visualization methods really do not relate to one another. This requires the user to readjust themselves to each view and perhaps requires a bit more of a 'context' switch between views. With this decision I am left wondering if there are any other 'views' that would be helpful to users of the system.
     I'm not certain how easy the tool is with large data sets. Many of the screenshots I feel show a visualization that would not scale well to thousands of documents. For example the "List View" does not seem to have an easy way to filter each side of the list. While the paper discusses a search option, a simple filter would be nice. Their original stated goal is to help "understand" the reports, but I'm not sure how well they do that. I could see it helping in discovering related documents, which may help in understanding, but more of as a by-product.
     Overall the tools seems like it would be a good tool for exploring small to medium sized collections of documents.