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ScentIndex and ScentHighlights: productive reading techniques for conceptually reorganizing subject indexes and highlighting passages

 

A great deal of analytical work is done in the context of reading, in digesting the semantics of the material, the identification of important entities, and capturing the relationship between entities. Visual analytic environments, therefore, must encompass reading tools that enable the rapid digestion of large amount of reading material. Other than plain text search, subject indexes, and basic highlighting, tools are needed for rapid foraging of text. In this paper, we describe a technique that presents an enhanced subject index for a book by conceptually reorganizing it to suit particular expressed user information needs. Users first enter information needs via keywords describing the concepts they are trying to retrieve and comprehend. Then our system, called ScentIndex, computes what index entries are conceptually related, and reorganizes and displays these index entries on a single page. We provide a number of navigational cues to help users peruse over this list of index entries and find relevant passages quickly. We report some initial results in a new technique called ScentHighlights that enhances skimming activity by conceptually highlighting sentences. Both use similar techniques by computing what conceptual keywords are related to each other via word co-occurrence and spreading activation. Compared to regular reading of a paper book, our study showed that users are more efficient and more accurate in finding, comparing, and comprehending material in our system.

 
citation

Chi, E. H. ; Hong, L. ; Heiser, J. ; Card, S. K. ; Gumbrecht, M. ScentIndex and ScentHighlights: Productive reading techniques for conceptually reorganizing subject indexes and highlighting passages. Information Visualization, special issue on visual analytics science and technology. 2007 Spring; 6 (1): 32-47.