MONADIC VISUALIZATION OF METADATA NETWORKS TO SUPPORT EXPLORATORY BROWSING
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Interactive data visualizations tend to either show an entire collection or the individual element. For example, a page of search results shows the whole, while clicking on an individual link shifts focus to the individual. With these kinds of interfaces, it can be difficult to understand how individual pieces relates to each other and maintain a sense of place amongst the network being perused. To address this, I develop a focus+context browsing tool that uses a monadic approach to visualizing networks of semantic information in the form of metadata summaries. Focus+context visualizations present both the full detail of an object and the contextual information needed to relate that object to the entirety. The monadic approach, first suggested by sociologist Gabriel Tarde, is the idea that a network is best comprehended from the perspective of individual elements. This stands in opposition to the standard approach of viewing the entirety of the network at once. Semantic information, such as product specs and bibliography, provides essential and valuable contexts for people to make sense of information, assess values, and make decisions. I present a study, in which participants explored networks of academic publications, showed that a monadic metadata visualization helps users explore networked information, understand relationships, and maintain focus, when compared with traditional methods. Allowing the user to traverse the network laterally while using metadata to provide a summary of the focus node serves to maximize the amount of focus and context available to the user.
Keith, Kade (2015). MONADIC VISUALIZATION OF METADATA NETWORKS TO SUPPORT EXPLORATORY BROWSING. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from