Catherine PlaisantDr. Catherine Plaisant is Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. She earned a Doctorat d'Ingenieur degree in France in 1982 (similar to a Industrial Engineering PhD) and has written over 100 refereed technical publications on diverse subjects such as information visualization, digital libraries, universal access, image browsing, help, digital humanities, technology for families, or evaluation methodologies. She co-authored with Ben Shneiderman the 4th and 5th Editions of Designing the User Interface , one of the major books on the topic of Human-Computer Interaction.
She enjoys working with multidisciplinary teams on designing and evaluating new interface technologies that are useable and useful. Research contributions range from focused user interaction techniques (e.g. Excentric Labeling) to innovative visualizations (such as LifeLines for personal records or SpaceTree for hierarchical data exploration) and interactive search interface techniques such as Query Previews. Those interaction techniques have been carefully validated with user studies and are finding applications in industry, government information systems and digital libraries.
Need (a lot) more? Resume
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Contact informationEmail: email@example.com
Tel: +1 (301) 405-2768, Fax (if you alert me first): +1 (301) 405-6707
Surface mail address: HCIL, 2117C Hornbake South Wing University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, U.S.A.
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** Fun (or not) News **
January: cplaisant Twitter account was hacked and deactivated
11/2013: Twinlist project gets Distinguished paper award at AMIA 2013
01/2013: Oracle Health Science released a beautiful VIDEO discussing our research on the Visualizing temporal patterns in Electronic Health Record data. (also UMd version)
11/2013: Gave Keynote of the IE Lab Usability Conference for occasion of the 10th anniversary of the University of Missouri Information Experience Lab.
Other older news entries...>
Publications and projectsPublications: See Resume or for online versions of the papers search for "plaisant" or other words in the HCIL tech report database.
Book: Designing the User Interface, 5th ed. (2009) by Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant.(2009), and the older 4th edition was: (2006)
Information Visualization: State of the Field and New Research Directions" 10(4), 2011 - Catherine Plaisant, Andreas Kerren, Stasko (Guest Editors).
Special Issue on the Evaluation of Visual Analytics (Spring 2009)
Catherine Plaisant, Jean Scholtz and Georges Grinstein (Guest Editors)
IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications (May/June 2009)
Special Issue in Honor of Ben Shneiderman's 60th Birthday: Reflections on Human-Computer Interaction
Catherine Plaisant, Chris North (Guest Editors)
International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 23, No. 3 (December 2007)
Videos: Editor of the HCIL Video Report Series (1991-2006). All videos are now available for download. Recent ones (including the 2000 retrospective) are also available in the Open Video Project.
Selected projects (starting with most recent ones)
EventFlow, for exploration of temporal patterns in sequences of events. Builds on LifeLines2 and Lifeflow, but now with interval data and enhanced search and simplification capabilities.
[Video by Megan Monroe]
SHARP-C project: Novel interfaces for clinicians. We are looking at the problems of medication reconciliation, missed labs and wrong patient selection. Our Maryland project is part of the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare (NCCD) led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
E.g. VIDEO of Twinlist for medication reconciliation
Treeversity: Visualizing Changes Over Time Using Dynamic Hierarchies. Users can analyze relative and absolute change over one variable in each node, as well as created and removed nodes. They cab also compare non-inherently hierarchichal datasets, by grouping them by attributes. Community Analysis and Visualization for "Nation of Neighbors"; looking at social network analysis LifeFlow, for summarizing temporal sequences of events. Applications to Electronic health records, transportation incidents, web logs etc. LifeLines2, Patternfinder (and now Patternfinder in Azyxxi): Interfaces for searching temporal categorical data, visually explore results and look for potential cause and effect. Our focus is on Electronic Health Records.
[Video by David Wang]
FeatureLens : we worked with literary scholars to develop a tool for exploring patterns of repetitions in text collections. This is part of the larger MONK project. VISUAL ANALYTICS EVALUATION: The NSF SEMVAST project seeks to develop benchmarks datasets and metrics for evaluation. To encourage researchers to work on realistic problems and test the tools they develop, I co-chair the VAST 2010 Challenge, which follows the 2009 Challenge, 2008 Challenge, and the 2007 and 2006 contests, all organized in conjunction with the IEEE Visual Analytics symposium . MONK is a large multi-institution project whose goal is to design and develop a digital environment helping humanities scholars discover and analyze patterns in the large collections of texts they study, using data mining and visualization. It continues the the NORA project. See JCDL paper nominated for Best Paper award (or the related HCIL project highlight ) or the FeatureLens and BasketLens projects TreePlus, for browsing graphs using a tree layout, with an emphasis on readability. It was used to display social networks and food webs.
NetLens for iterative querying of bipartite graphs such of bibliographic data or email collections.
TimeSearcher for exploration of time series. Information Visualization Benchmarks Repository and
the InfoVis CONTESTS we ran in 2003 and 2004.
Integration of Data and Interfaces to Enhance Human Understanding of Government Statistics. A collaborative project with University of North Carolina. Our motto: "Find what you need, understand what you found". We worked on diverse topics but my main focus was on new methods for helping novice users get started with complex interfaces, dealing with missing data, and improving accessibility to blind users (see the project below) iSonic: making georeferenced data accessible to users with visual impairments
[Video by Haixia Zhao]
Interliving: New Technology for Families. In particular we developed and evaluated to share calendar information between intergenerational family members, using digital pen technology. Treemap 4: New development in hierarchical information visualization with Treemap SpaceTree: a scalable and searchable hierarchical information browser
A story telling robot for children in rehabilitation. PhotoFinder: Personal Photo Libraries Excentric Labeling for Information Visualization User interfaces for highway traffic management. In collaboration with the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology. Dynamic Queries and Query Preview Interfaces. Looked at how to avoid zero-hit queries with dynamic previews of the data available. In collaboration with NASA EOSDIS. Later on some of those ideas were applied in the user interfaces of the Global Land Cover Facility, and influenced the development of faceted search now common in many interfaces.
Learning Histories for Simulation-based engineering education environments LifeLines for Visualizing Medical Patient Records (and other personal histories)
User Interfaces for the Library of Congress National Digital Library. How to "bring treasures to the surface" in the design of Digital Libraries.
See also WebTOC: a Tool to Visualize and Quantify Web Sites using a Hierarchical Table of Contents
User Interfaces for the Visible Human Project High precision touchscreens, Information Kiosks, Home Automation (Summary)
e.g. [Video] of the Scheduler.
Touchscreen ON/OFF switches (see HCIL touchscreen research summary)
Hypertext research (my first project at HCIL in 1987!)
and MORE projects...
. Role Management as a guiding concept for the next generation of user interfaces (Summary) . User interfaces for Youth Services Information Systems . Network Management (Summary)