Monday, November 21, 2011

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

The article focusses on querying documents and indicates that this tileBar approach has significant applications when the documents retrieved are huge. The article gives a background of existing document searching techniques and claims that these approaches are not transparent, flexible and because of these reasons, they might not give the best desired results. Also the paper acknowledges the importance of not just a proper searching technique but a visualization system for fast interpretation of results.

Document structure becomes extremely important in cases like these because this approach is very systematic and discovers the document structure before actually searching for keywords. We can see that tile bars provides good visual cues in order to understand the search results. The paper identifies 3 important factors: length of the document, frequency of terms and distribution of terms in the document in searching documents and tries to get this information out in its search results visually. I liked this approach because this information set can be huge and I think displaying it visually is the best way to do it. One thing which I thought should have been explained is whether the tool allows filtering of results and also searching in specific areas of the document if necessary rather than the entire document always. One of the striking features of this tool is that it is really comprehensive in showing the results and gives not just visual information but also statistical data to back it up. The author correctly puts it as "weaves together interface, presentation and search in a mutually reinforcing fashion". This definitely will help users to understand the relative importance of documents for the search query.

I found the paper to be well organized and self explanatory. The flow of ideas was really good starting with the existing implementations and with the limitations and then carrying it forward with TileBars approach. It would be really interesting to read about TIPSTER which also includes user feeback and judgement.