Friday, November 18, 2011

Reaction: TileBars: Visualization of Term Distribution Information in Full Text Information Access

The problems presented in this paper describing meaningful textual searching with lengthy documents are ones I can currently relate to this semester. I have experienced the trouble in finding research papers when searching for a broad topic such as "web engineering" and have had to get creative in determining additional keywords to narrow the search. I have began to notice that many paper abstracts are frequently accompanied by a comma delimited list of keywords that the authors believe may prove significant and useful in a database search. A major limitation of this technique is: how does one know which keywords the author has selected?

The TileBars interface is quiet intuitive. By providing a visual method of query prominence, a searcher can really fly through pages of papers that are insignificant to what he or she is looking for. I have been using Inspec and Compendex to search for papers related to web engineering this semester without this ability. I find myself wasting time by opening a link for every abstract of every paper that has a a title that may potentially be related to the specific topic I am searching for. The number of tabs in my browser becomes difficult to handle, and I often times close tabs that contain what I'm looking for because the pages for each search result look identical. An improvement that I think would enhance the experience of TileBars would be to sort the results based on which bar has the most "blotting." This would allow the searcher to see the most prominent papers first.