Connecting the dots: A multi-pivot approach to data exploration

author: Igor Popov, University of Innsbruck
published: Nov. 25, 2011,   recorded: October 2011,   views: 2779


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The purpose of data browsers is to help users identify and query data e ffectively without being overwhelmed by large complex graphs of data. A proposed solution to identify and query data in graph-based datasets is Pivoting (or set-oriented browsing), a many-to-many graph browsing technique that allows users to navigate the graph by starting from a set of instances followed by navigation through common links. Relying solely on navigation, however, makes it difficult for users to fi nd paths or even see if the element of interest is in the graph when the points of interest may be many vertices apart. Further challenges include finding paths which require combinations of forward and backward links in order to make the necessary connections which further adds to the complexity of pivoting. In order to mitigate the effects of these problems and enhance the strengths of pivoting we present a multi-pivot approach which we embodied in tool called Visor. Visor allows users to explore from multiple points in the graph, helping users connect key points of interest in the graph on the conceptual level, visually occluding the remainder parts of the graph, thus helping create a road-map for navigation. We carried out an user study to demonstrate the viability of our approach.

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